Viswanathan Anand slipped to joint fourth spot after a draw with Poland’s Jan Krzysztof Duda, while Vidit Gujrathi improved his chances by defeating third seed Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan in the eleventh round of Tata Steel masters in Netherlands.
Anand did not get much with his white pieces out of a Petroff defense game and nothing eventful happened in the contest with the Polish youngster matching him move-for-move.
The pieces got exchanged at regular intervals and the players reached a level rook and knight endgame where the draw was agreed.
The draw took Anand to 6.5 points out of a possible eleven and the Indian ace will now have to beat both Ding Liren of China and Gujrathi in order to keep his chances alive.
Gujrathi, meanwhile, seems to be hitting brilliant form in the last few games. While the victory against Vladimir Kramnik of Russia in the previous round will be something that the Indian will cherish for a long time, the win over Mamedyarov will also be a bright spot in what seems like a glittering career ahead.
Playing the black side of an in-vogue Ragozin, Gujrathi got the dynamics rolling in his favour once Mamedyarov miscalculated in the middle game.
The Azeri was soon looking at the wrecked pawn structure around his king and Gujrathi gave nothing away thereafter winning a pawn and creating weaknesses around other small forces. “I had played Maamedyarov thrice in the Tata Steel rapid and blitz tournament just some time back in India and had lost all three, I really wanted to win today and I am glad I played a good game,” said a jubiliant Gujrathi in the post-game chat.
World Champion Magnus Carlsen played out an easy draw with Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan and Dutchman Anish Giri benefitted from a ‘resignation-blunder’ by Sameul Shankland of United States to join the reigning world champion in lead on 7.5 points.
While Carlsen could do little as black out of a Sicilian Sveshnikov, Shankland resigned in a theoretically drawn position, thinking he was lost.
With two leaders on 7.5 points, Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia now occupies the sole third spot on seven points. The Russian defeated compatriot Vladimir Fedoseev in another decisive game of the day.
Anand shares the fourth spot with Ding Liren and Gujrathi, on six points, is now clear sixth in the first super tournament of the year.
If the last two games go well, Gujrathi has a shot at being on the podium.
Results round 11: V Anand (Ind, 6.5) drew with Jan Krzysztof Duda (Pol, 5); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 4) lost to Vidit Gujrathi (Ind, 6); Teimour Radjabov (Aze, 5.5) drew with Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 7.5); Anish Giri (Ned, 7.5) beat Samuel Shankland (Usa, 4.5); Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus, 7) beat Vladimir Fedoseev (Rus, 4.5); Richard Rapport (Hun, 5) drew with Ding Liren (Chn, 6.5); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 3.5) beat Jorden Van Foreest (Ned, 4).
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