For the second successive day, Viswanathan Anand had to wait for the outcome of the last game to know whether his half-point lead remained intact in the World Candidates chess tournament at Khanty Mansisyk, Russia, on Tuesday.
Playing black, Anand faced tailender Dmitry Andreikin and tested the 24-year-old Russian for 42 moves before settling for a draw. This battle in Ruy Lopez saw the Indian try his best for a win, but his rival, 20 years younger, proved equal to the challenge.
The result raised Anand’s tally to 3.5 points. It was hours later, when the game between second seed Vladimir Kramnik and favourite Levon Aronian ended in a draw, did Anand know he was still ahead.
Kramnik failed to capitalise on a blunder by Aronian on the 33rd move and let the top seed off the hook. For just under six hours, the intensely-fought game provided plenty of thrills before ending in 60 moves, with only the kings on the board.
In the day’s only decisive battle, Peter Svidler made amends for his previous-round loss to Aronian by stunning Veselin Topalov.
Svidler, now joint-second with Kramnik and Aronian, admitted he “simply played badly,” but added “Topalov played a horrible game. I did not deserve the whole point.”
An unusually high number of errors from both players made Svidler remark, “it is beyond belief what happened today. At one stage, I was sure I was close to a loss. I was happy not to lose by force. Then Topalov went inexplicably wrong. This is not my achievement. This will not be in my best games collection.” Topalov confessed, “For long, I didn’t play so badly.”
Sergey Karjakin, who faces Anand on Wednesday, took a calm 30-move draw against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.
The results (fifth round): Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 1.5) drew with Viswanathan Anand (3.5); Peter Svidler (Rus, 3) bt Veselin Topalov (Bul, 2); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 3) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 3); Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 2) drew with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 2).
Sixth round pairings: Anand-Karjakin; Topalov-Kramnik; Aronian-Andreikin; Mamedyarov-Svidler.