Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand was held to an easy draw by Dutch hopeful Jorden Van Foreest in the sixth round of Tata Steel Masters Wijk Aan Zee, The Netherlands on Saturday.

As has been the case throughout the event, Anand has been trying to play very complicated positions and the sixth round was no different.

The Indian ace faced the Four Knights opening as black and unleashed an attack in the centre early by sacrificing two pawns.

Even though it’s part of theory, it is considered a bit dangerous for both.

White’s king was stuck around the centre for a long time while Anand’s pieces tried to make a foray.

After the trade of queens, it was a cautious approach by both players especially after white lost back one pawn. The draw was agreed upon once Anand picked the second pawn.

With three points to his credit from six games, Anand remained in joint sixth spot in one of the strongest tournaments in the world.

With seven rounds still remaining, Anand, however, needs a very strong finish to be in with a chance of finishing on the podium.

Magnus Carlsen’s hunt for an elusive victory continued as he played out his sixth draw on the trot. It was an 18th straight draw between him and Fabiano Caruana of United States in Classical time control.

Carlsen, known for his uncompromising play, has a lot to catch up with.

FIDE representative Firouzja Alireza continued to share the lead with Wesley So of the United States in a day that just witnessed two decisive games.

Anish Giri of Holland bounced back from his previous round defeat to beat Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus while Daniil Dubov outplayed his Russian compatriot Vladislav Artemiev.

Both Alireza and Wesley are at four points and are now followed by Caruana, Foreest and Dubov. Anand and Carlsen are in the next pack of six players having three points each.

In the Challengers section, Surya Shekhar Ganguly slipped to joint second spot after a draw with local Grandmaster Jan Smeets.

Ganguly moved to four points while Pavel Eljanov of Ukraine caught Dutchman Max Warmerdam unawares to move up the leader-board on 4.5 points.

Young Indian GM Nihal Sarin played out a draw with Nodirbek Abdusattarov of Uzbekistan to reach three points in this section.

Results after Round 6:

Masters: Daniil Dubov (RUS, 3.5) beat Vladislav Artemiev (RUS, 3); Wesley So (USA, 4) drew with Jan-Krzysztof Duda (POL, 3); Jorden Van Foreest (NED, 3.5) drew with Vishwanathan Anand (IND, 3); Jeffery Xiong (USA, 3) drew with Nikita Vituigov (RUS, 2.5); Magnus Carlsen (NOR, 3) drew with Fabiano Caruana (USA, 3.5); Yu Yangyi (CHN, 2) Firouza Alireza (FIDE, 4); Anish Giri (NED, 3) beat Vladislav Kovalev (BLR, 1).

Challengers: Rauf Mamedov (AZE, 3) drew with Anton Smirnov (AUS, 2); Max Warmerdam (NED, 1) lost to Pavel Eljanov (UKR, 4.5); David Anton Guijarro (ESP, 3.5) drew with Erwin L’Ami (NED, 4); Dinara Saduakassova (KAZ, 1.5) lost to Vincent Keymer (GER, 2.5); Nodirbek Abdusattorov (UZB, 3) drew with Nihal Sarin (IND, 3); Lucas Van Foreest (NED, 3) lost to Nils Grandelius (SWE, 3.5); Jan Smeets (NED, 3.5) drew with Surya Shekhar Ganguly (IND, 4).

Fancied players get off to smooth start at Chennai Open chess

Fancied players led by Russian Grand Master Pavel Ponkratov got off to a fluent start in the 12th Chennai Open International GM Chess tournament, posting wins in the first round in Chennai on Saturday.

In the top board game, top-seed Ponkrantov outclassed S K Kanishk in an English opening game that lasted 29 moves.

The other leading players including Aleksej Aleksandrov, Jose Eduardo Martinez Alcantara (Peru) and Levan Pantsulaia (Georgia) registered comfortable victories.

The lower boards saw Tamil Nadu girl KM Shrija post an upset victory over International Master T U Navin Kanna while national under-11 champion Aakash G of Coimbatore defeated higher-rated International Master C Praveen Kumar.

A total of 284 players including 29 GMs and 23 International Masters are taking part in the tournament which offers a total prize money of Rs 15 lakh.

The tournament was inaugurated by India’s first International Master Manuel Aaron.

Important results (Indians unless specified): 1st round: Pavel Ponkratov (Rus) beat S K Kanishk, Swayham P Das lost to Martinez Alcantara Jose Eduardo (Peru), Levan Pantsulaia (Georgia) beat Sahib Singh, M S Midilesh lost to Aleksej Aleksandrov (Belarus), Aleksey Goganov (Russia) beat Abhinav Chakrapani Santhalayan.

Mikheil Mchedlishvili Mikheil (Georgia) beat Rushyendra Chowdary Kantipudi, Ivan Rozum (Russia) beat Vivek Tiwari, Stanislav Bogdanovich (Ukraine) beat Hermon Dain Saldanha.

Alberto David (Italy) beat Rebecca Jesumarian, Alexei Fedorov (Belarus) beat A Krishan, N R Visakh beat Rudra S Pathak, Vishnu Menon lost to Yudin Sergei (Russia).Fancied players get off to smooth start at Chennai Open chess