Viswanathan Anand “decided not to tempt fate” as he chose to avoid a risky route to a possible victory and settled for a draw against young Russian Dmitry Andreikin in the 12th round of the World Candidates chess tournament at Khanty Mansisyk, Russia, on Thursday.
The action-filled game ended after 41 turns of Carokann following repetition of moves. The missed opportunity to win did not harm Anand’s chances as he maintained his one-point lead over top seed Levon Aronian, who struggled to a draw against second seed Vladimir Kramnik.
In the only decisive game of the day, Veselin Topalov put Peter Svidler out of contention the title-race by handing out a 35-move defeat. Svidler, playing black, messed up the opening phase in Sicilian Paulsen and found no respite.
With two rounds to go, Anand headed for the rest day on Friday with mixed feelings. Though happy to retain the lead, Anand would surely rue missing a winning continuation that computer analysis suggested when draw was agreed.
The early phase followed the sequence seen in the first game of the Anand-Magnus Carlsen World title match in November last. Anand, playing white, was trying to break from the king’s side while Andreikin attacked from the queen’s side. After black’s 24th move, Anand thought he was much better. He improved his position consistently but eventually, around the first time control, chose to take a draw instead of pressing hard for victory.
Anand explained his decision. “I was already very tired. The game had taken a lot of energy. If something goes wrong here, I thought. I didn’t see anything terribly clear (to win the game).”
Andreikin, who admitted playing “terribly in the second half of the game,” described the result as “miracle salvation.”
The results: 12th round: Viswanathan Anand (7.5) drew with Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 5.5); Levon Aronian (Arm, 6.5) drew with Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 5.5); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 6) drew with Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 6); Veselin Topalov (Bul, 5.5) bt Peter Svidler (Rus, 5.5).