Viswanathan Anand ran out of steam and got eliminated from the Grand Chess tour, getting just one point in the last five games of the Tata Steel Rapid and Blitz tournament, which concluded in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Magnus Carlsen finished the tournament with a whopping 27 points and broke his own record in the Grand chess tour, bettering his 26.5 points scored at Abidjan, Ivory Coast earlier this year.
The Norwegian was not at his best on the final day but still came up with some exemplary victories to win by a huge four-point margin over Hikaru Nakamura of the United States, who finished second with 23 points in all.
Such was Carlsen’s dominance that the tied players on third place Anish Giri of Holland and Wesley So of the United States – scored only 18.5 points a good 8.5 points less than the champion.
Ding Liren of China finished fifth on 18 points and the sixth place was taken by a resurgent Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia. A full point behind was Anand, on seventh with 16 points, while the Indian duo of Gujrathi and Harikrishna ended in tied eighth spot on 14.5 points each.
Levon Aronian of Armenia ended at the last spot and even this was enough to seal a berth to London.
Anand, who turns 50 next month, missed the Grand Chess tour finale by a whisker. The Indian ace was in the thick of things and looked poised to finish sixth when five rounds were remaining and he had scored back-to-back victories.
It was the loss against compatriot Vidit Gujrathi that probably turned the tide against Anand. It was a simple blunder in a level position that cost Anand two pieces for a rook and the game soon after.
What happened next was simply devastating as Anand, in sight of a victory against Giri, let his clock run out of time. A draw with Nakamura followed by another loss against Carlsen sealed Anand’s fate as his excellent campaign ended with heartbreak in the end.
For the record, Anand finished 1.5 points short of qualification.
As things stand, Carlsen, Ding Liren, Aronian and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France will meet in London to decide the winner of the Grand Chess tour in just under a week’s time.
Final Standings: 1. Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 27) 2. Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 23); 3-4. Wesley So (USA), Anish Giri (Ned) 18.5 each; 5. Ding Liren (Chn, 18); 6. Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus, 17); 7. V Anand (Ind, 16), 8-9. P Harikrishna, Vidit Gujrathi (Ind, 14.5) 10. Levon Aronian (Arm, 13).