Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand suffered an early jolt, losing to Wesley So in the second round of the Tata Steel Masters chess tournament in Wijk Aan Zee on Monday.
Anand, who played out a draw in the first round, was in no mood to relent and showcased some sensational moves with the black pieces.
Sacrificing a piece early in the Italian opening, he took USA’s So by surprise and continued what appeared to be a brilliant attack.
However, the Indian ace faltered on the 22nd turn when another piece sacrifice would have sealed a draw, a fact that was unearthed through computer analysis after the game. Capitalising on the fault, So sealed the victory in just three moves thereafter.
The day produced four decisive games and it was again the youngsters who provided most of the entertainment. Russian Daniil Dubov, 23, defeated Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus while Vladislav Artemiev accounted for his Russian teammate Nikita Vituigov. USA’s Jeffery Xiong was the other winner of the second round at the expense of Jorden van Foreest of Holland.
World champion Magnus Carlsen could do little and had to settle for a draw for the second day running as Yu Yangyi played an ultra-solid with white pieces.
Jan-Krzysztof Duda of Poland signed peace with Firouza Alireza while Anish Giri of Holland also split the point with Fabiano Caruana of USA.
With 11 rounds still remaining in the 14-player round robin tournament, it’s a five-way tie at the top with Xiong, Wesley, Firouza, Artemiev and Dubov on 1.5 points each.
Caruana, Giri, Foreest, Carlsen and Duda follow the leaders with one point while Anand shares the 11th spot with Yangyi and Vituigov on a half point with Kovalev at the bottom currently as he is yet to open his account.
In the Challengers section being organized simultaneously, Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly was held to a draw by Lucas van Foreest of Holland to remain in joint lead on 1.5 points. The other Indian talent Nihal Sareen drew with Pavel Eljanov of Ukraine to inch up to one point from two draws. Nihal had to defend an inferior position for quite a while but in the end escaped unscathed.
Masters Round two results: Jeffery Xiong (Usa, 1.5) beat Jorden Van Foreest (Ned, 1); Yu Yangyi (Chn, 0.5) drew with Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 1); Anish Giri (Ned, 1) drew with Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 1) Wesley So (Usa, 1.5) beat V Anand (Ind, 0.5); Vladislav Artemiev (Rus, 1.5) beat Nikita Vitiugov (Rus, 0.5); Jan-Krzysztof Duda (Pol, 1) drew with Firouzja, Alireza (Fid, 1.5); drew with Daniil Dubov (Rus) beat Vladislav Kovalev (Blr).
Challengers: Dinara Saduakassova (Kaz, 1) drew with David Anton Guijarro (Esp, 1); Abdusattorov Nodirbek (Uzb, 0.5) lost to Jan Smeets (Ned, 1.5); Lucas Van Foreest (Ned, 1) drew with Surya Shekhar Ganguly (Ind, 1.5); Max Warmerdam (Ned, 0.5) drew with Erwin L’Ami (Ned, 1.5); Anton Smirnov (Can, 0.5) drew with Vincent Keymer (Ger, 0.5); Pavel Eljanov (Ukr, 1.5) drew with Nihal Sarin (Ind, 1); Rauf Mamedov (Aze, 1.5)beat Nils Grandelius (Swe).