World champion Viswanathan Anand outsmarted Loek Van Wely of Holland to jointly lead after the seventh round of the 75th Tata Steel Chess tournament.
After two draws against Magnus Carlsen of Norway and compatriot P. Harikrishna, Anand broke through the defences of Van Wely in style showing fine technique to take his points tally to five.
Magnus Carlsen played out a draw with Hungarian Peter Leko to match Anand on points and the two leaders are now followed by Hikaru Nakamura of United States and Sergey Karjakin of Russia half-a-point behind.
With six rounds left in the 14-players round-robin tournament, Harikrishna shares fifth spot with Levon Aronian of Armenia on four points.
Left with some catching to do is Fabiano Caruana of Italy on three points sharing the eighth spot with Van Wely and Chinese Wang Hao, while Dutch duo of Anish Giri and Erwin L’Ami along side Yifan Hou of China are in 11th spot with 2.5 points apiece.
Ivan Sokolov of Holland, who drew with Harikrishna in seventh round, is at the bottom of the tables with two points from his seven games.
After two days of many decisive games, the lull was back as only Anand and Nakamura scored victories. The American was quite happy to beat his nemesis Wang Hao.
Aronian came close to winning his third game in a row but Sergey Karjakin got off the hook in the final hour. Yifan Hou pressed but could only share the point with Caruana while L’Ami and Giri played an easy draw between themselves.
Anand was surprised early as Van Wely went for the Scandinavian defence and apparently equalised in the early stages of the middle game. However, on his 18th turn, the Dutch GM missed the thread of the position and went for a breakthrough that seriously weakened key squares. Anand knocked down a pawn in quick time thereafter and entered a rook and minor piece endgame. Another error by Van Wely sealed the game in Anand’s favour in 37 moves.
Harikrishna played out a draw with Sokolov from a Nimzo Indian defence where the latter played white. Sokolov secured advantage but could not go beyond that as Harikrishna’s position remained solid.
The rook and minor piece endgame had no chance for either players and the draw was a just result in 45 moves.
Round 7 results: V. Anand (Ind, 5) beat Loek Van Wely (Ned, 3); Ivan Sokolov (Ned, 2) drew with P Harikrishna (Ind, 4); Peter Leko (Hun, 4) drew with Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 5); Wang Hao (Chn, 3.5) lost to Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 4.5); Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 4.5) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 4); Erwin L’Ami (Ned, 2.5) drew with Anish Giri (Ned, 2.5); Yifan Hou (Chn, 2.5) drew with Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 3).