Five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand’s chances of a top-three finish ended after he went down fighting to Fabiano Caruana of United States in the Armageddon game at the Altibox Norway Chess.
The Indian slipped to joint seventh place in ranking with just two rounds to go in one of the strongest events of the year.
Anand had to hold himself with black and he survived many anxious and nearly catastrophic positions under the normal time control to force a draw under the Classical game.
Caruana went to the extent of calling it “embarrassing”, as the American was close to being on top for several moves but still the victory deserted him.
However, in the tiebreaker, which is the new world order in Chess to make it a decisive sport in every game played, the native Italian turned American was spot on in the Italian opening.
Anand could not get the counterplay he is famous for and a systematic attack led to a complete collapse on the king side.
That left Anand with only six points with two more rounds to come and even two victories now might be insufficient to finish on the podium.
The seemingly invincible reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen scored another victory his sixth in Armageddon besides a lone win in Classical over Wesley So wherein he “was gifted a point” according to the now second-placed Levon Aronian of Armenia.
Carlsen just did enough, the Sicilian Sveshnikov in Classical, that has served him well and then Wesley turned the heat on in the faster game which only suited the best player on the planet currently.
Carlsen took his tally to 11 points, and now enjoys a two-point lead over Aronian who played a fine tiebreaker to beat Yu Yangyi.
Yangyi is in third place on 8.5 points, a full point ahead of compatriot Ding Liren in sole fourth spot.
Wesley So is fifth on seven points while Caruana finds himself in sixth spot on 6.5.
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France and Anand are tied seventh on six points apiece, a full point ahead of Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan.
Someone has to be last in any ten-player event and it seems Alexander Grischuk of Russia is going to be there till the end.
The usually charismatic Russian is not finding any good moves and is still in the cellar on 3.5 points.
Results round 7: Fabiano Caruana (USA, 6.5) beat V Anand (Ind, 6); Wesley So (USA, 7) lost o Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 11); Levon Aronian (Arm, 9) beat Yu Yangyi (Chn, 8.5); Ding Liren (Chn, 7.5) beat Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Aze (5); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 5) beat Alexander Grischuk (Rus, 3.5).