Vishy AnandOn Monday April 20, 2015, Indian Chess Ace Viswanathan Anand drew with old rival Vladimir Kramnik of Russia. The result follows his third drawn game with Netherlands’ Anish Giri on Sunday. In one of the strongest chess tournament of the year, four draws take Anand’s tally of score to 2.0 but with other competitors scoring victories, Anand is falling behind. With five rounds still remaining in the tournament, Anand badly needs some victories in order to remain in contention for the title. Wesley So of the United States scored his third victory in four games and the American now leads the pack. So had a victory on Sunday as well, when Carlsen also won against Fabiano Caruna of Italy. After four rounds, Carlsen is right behind So after his drawn fourth-round game against England’s Michael Adams. With one victory, the Russian Kramnik is the lone man at the third spot while Anand is on joint fourth along with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France. With 1.5 points each, four players; Anish Giri of the Netherlands; Fabiano Caruana of Italy, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan and his compatriot Mamedov share the sixth spot while England’s Michael Adams is in the last position with just one point in the 100,000 Euros Round-Robin tournament, being played at the Azerbaijani city of Shamkir.

Anand and Kramnik go a long time back in chess history and they know each other’s games like the backs of their hands. Threrefore, it was like a normal day in office for the two stalwarts. Playing with white pieces, Kramnik went for the Catalan opening, which was quite familiar to Anand. The Indian knew how to respond. Kramnik brought in a variation by a piece sacrifice early and recovered it leading to an equal endgame. Anand quickly reached the minor piece ending and all he needed to do was to make some astute moves to keep the white pieces quiet. After this, just the white and black Bishops remained on board and the two players brokered peace after 38 moves.

The best game of the day came, when Wesley So of USA took on Rauf Mamedov of Azerbaijan. After Sunday’s win over England’ Michael Adams, Wesley So continued with his rampaging form as he used his brilliant endgame skills. So had a bad show in the recently concluded US championship but he put that performance behind him at Shamkir. Mamedov used a Sicilian Accelerated Dragon move early in the opening but So fought with some ingenious moves. An error by Mamedov allowed So to push a pawn on the queen side. This brought Mamedov’s downfall and So cruised to his third victory to stand on top of the leaderboard with 3.5 points out of a possible 4.

In other games of the day, World champion Magnus Carlsen settled for a draw with Michael Adams of England after a victory on Sunday against Fabiano Caruna; after drawing with Anand on Sunday, Holland’s Anish Giri played out a draw yet again with Mamedyarov and Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave also drew with Italy’s Fabiano Caruana.