Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand played out a draw with Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus to share the sixth spot after the 12th and penultimate round of the Tata Steel Masters in Wijk Aan Zee, Netherlands.
Fabiano Caruana of United States made sure of his first title after beating Jan-Krzysztof Duda of Poland. For Anand, it was the last white game that did not come good. The Ruy Lopez as white met with the Bird’s variation an opening that is hardly seen at top level chess. The surprise element worked for Kovalev as Anand did not get much out of the opening. The game was drawn in a mere 20 moves.
Caruana came up with another inspired performance to beat Duda. The sixth victory and third on the trot meant that the Italian-turned-American ensured himself of his first title in Tata Steel Masters.
World Champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway played out a draw with Vladislav Artemiev of Russia to remain on second spot on 7.5 points, 1.5 points less than Caruana’s impressive nine points from 12 games.
The Iranian prodigy Alireza Firouzja, who is likely to play for another country soon, finally put an end to his losing streak of three games and drew with Nikita Vituigov of Russia. Wesley So of United States drew with Jorden Van Foreest of Holland to remain in third spot.
In the challengers’ section, Indian aspirations ended as Surya Shekhar Ganguly suffered a defeat at the hands of erstwhile sole leader Pavel Eljanov of Ukraine.
David Anton Guijarro of Spain suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Max Warmerdam of Holland but still retained his sole lead by a half point over nearest rivals Erwin L’Ami of Holland and Eljanov.
Results round 12 Masters: Daniil Dubov (Rus, 6) drew with Yu Yangyi (Chn, 4); Jeffery Xiong (Usa, 5.5) drew with Anish Giri (Ned, 6); Jorden Van Foreest (Ned, 6.5) drew with Wesley So (Usa, 7); Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 7.5) drew with Vladislav Artemiev (Rus, 6); Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 9) beat Jan-Krzysztof Duda (Pol, 6); V Anand (Ind, 6) drew with Vladislav Kovalev (Blr, 4); Nikita Vitiugov (Rus, 4.5) drew with Alireza Firouzja (Fid, 6).
Challengers: Rauf Mamedov (Aze, 6) drew with Nodirbek Abdusattorov (Uzb, 7.5); Dinara Saduakassova (Kaz, 2.5) lost to Lucas Van Foreest (Ned, 6); David Anton Guijarro (Esp, 8) lost to Max Warmerdam (Ned, 3.5); Jan Smeets (Ned, 6) drew with Anton Smirnov (Aus, 4.5); Surya Shekhar Ganguly (Ind, 6.5) lost to Pavel Eljanov (Ukr, 7.5); Erwin L’Ami (Ned, 7.5) drew with Nils Grandelius (Swe, 6); Vincent Keymer (Ger, 6) drew with Nihal Sarin (Ind, 6).