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Chess: Anand finishes third

World champion Viswanathan Anand played out a draw with Boris Gelfand of Israel in the ninth and final round to finish third in the Alekhine memorial chess tournament here. Anand had played a draw in the previous round against Russia’s Peter Svidler.

Playing the black side of a Semi-Slav, Anand got nothing to push for as Gelfand played solidly for one of his best performances ever.

The Israeli ended joint first along with Levon Aronian of Armenia, who defeated Maxime Vachier-Lagraev of France in his final game. Both Gelfand and Aronian ended on 5.5 points.

In other games of the day, Nikita Vituigov of Russia mishandled a promising position and drew with Ding Liren of China while another Russian, Peter Svidler, shared a point with Laurent Fressinet of France.

After a shocking first-round loss, it was a good comeback by Anand who started winning only in the fifth round of the tournament. For the record, the Indian ace won two, lost one and drew the remaining seven games.

No problems

Anand went for a similar variation he had employed against Vachier-Lagraev in one of the earlier rounds and did not face problems as Gelfand was also content with a peaceful result.

The Israeli pressed for some time but could not make any progress with Anand going for piece trading in a heap.

The players soon arrived at a endgame where the draw was agreed to after 40 moves.

Vachier-Lagraev ran completely out of luck in the last round too.

Having lost the penultimate game to Nikita Vituigov, the French Grandmaster lost his lead and ran into a spirited Aronian, who handled the intricacies of a Grunfeld in masterly fashion.

Under control

Meanwhile on Tuesday, Anand could do little against Svidler who had things under control for the most part of the game despite playing black.

The Russian did not let his position slip in any way to earn an easy draw.

Anand enjoys a great record against Svidler as white but on this day the Russian had worked his opening well.

The closed Ruy Lopez by the Indian ace only resulted in a level position after Svidler successfully exchanged minor pieces at regular intervals.

Anand had an extra pawn which was always under the hammer and once that went off the board the result was anyone's guess. The peace was signed in just 35 moves.

The results:

Ninth round: Boris Gelfand (Isr, 5.5) drew with V. Anand (Ind, 5); Levon Aronian (Arm, 5.5) bt Maxime Vachier-Lagraev (Fra, 4.5); Peter Svidler (Rus, 3) drew with Laurent Fressinet (Fra, 4.5); Nikita Vituigov (Rus, 4.5) drew with Ding Liren (Chn, 3.5).

Eighth round: Anand drew with Svidler; Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 3.5) drew with Gelfand; Vachier-Lagraev lost to Vituigov; Ding Liren drew with Michael Adams (Eng, 4.5); Fressinet drew with Aronian.

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2020 9:20:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/chess-anand-finishes-third/article4674203.ece

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