Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand defeated reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen to jump to the joint third spot after the end of the fourth round of Norway Chess tournament on Friday, June 19.
After three draws in the first four rounds of the tournament, a part of the Grand Chess Tour, Anand’s hunt for the victory ended in a delightful manner as the Indian ace crushed Carlsen in all departments of the game to move up to 2.5 points out of a possible four.
Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria surged ahead of the rest with his third victory in four games coming at the expense of Levon Aronian of Armenia.
Alexander Grischuk of Russia also joined the party winning his first game in the tournament but on the receiving end was the other ‘local hero’, Jon Ludvig Hammer.
The other games of the fourth round ended in draws. Dutchman Anish Giri’s theoretical duel against American Hikaru Nakamura ended peacefully while Italian Fabiano Caruana could not break the defences of Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France.
With five rounds still remaining in the USD 305000 prize money tournament, Topalov is sitting pretty on a staggering 3.5 points, a half point ahead of Nakamura.
Anand and Giri share the third spot on 2.5 points apiece. Caruana, Grischuk and Vachier-Lagrave share the fifth spot on two points each while Aronian and Hammer have just one point to share the eighth spot.
Sitting on just a half point from four games, world champion Carlsen faces a tough task to stage a comeback from his currently held last spot.
For Anand it was a Breyer defence through transposition of moves in the Ruy Lopez opening. Playing white, the Indian ace took some time in the opening to reach the desired middle game.
“It took us half an hour each. If we had just played the Breyer, it would have taken us two minutes,” Anand said after the game.
Carlsen went for a risky set-up allowing white an attack on the king side and Anand found some brilliant moves, including an incredible queen manoeuvre that brought his last stranded rook in the attack.
Carlsen tried to salvage but Anand was in mood to relent. The game lasted 47 moves. Asked about Magnus’s bad start, Anand said: “You have to see in the context of this first game. He played an excellent game and if he’d won that he’d be a different person”.
In other games, Topalov handled the Ragozin variation well to get a small advantage against Aronian.
The Armenian was put to test in a slightly difficult endgame wherein a mistake caused him dearly as two white rooks created havoc on the seventh rank. Aronian resigned after 58 moves.
Grischuk played experimental chess against Hammer and his instinct in the English opening proved better than the latter.
Causing a mild deficiency in Hammer’s pawn structure early in the opening, Grischuk capitalised on some unforced errors to win a pawn and his technique was impeccable in the fourth round.
Results after Round 4: Viswanathan Anand (IND, 2.5) beat Magnus Carlsen (NOR, 0.5); Veselin Topalov (BUL, 3.5) beat Levon Aronian (ARM, 1); Alexander Grischuk (RUS, 2) beat Jon Ludvig Hammer (NOR, 1); Fabiano Caruana (ITA, 2) drew with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA, 2); Anish Giri (NED, 2.5) drew with Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 3).