Former world champion Viswanathan Anand scored an impressive fifth-round win over Anton Korobov of Ukraine in the rapid competition of the Croatia Grand Chess Tour tournament in Zagreb on Thursday.

He had drawn his fourth-round game against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan) in 70 moves in an Alekhine variation game.

The 51-year old Indian maestro, who is playing his first over-the-board event in more than a year, quelled the challenge of Korobov in the fifth round which saw the other four games end in stalemate.

He had on Wednesday started with a fluent win over Dutch Grandmaster Jorden van Foreest before faltering against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the second round.

He drew his third round match against Ian Nepomniachtchi.

Russian GM Nepomniachtchi, who will challenge Magnus Carlsen for the World champion title later this year, continued to lead the table after five rounds following a win over countryman Alexander Grischuk and a draw against Poland player Jan-Krzystof Duda.

The tournament will see the 10 elite Grandmasters compete over nine rounds of rapid chess (to be played from July 7 to 9) and 18 rounds of blitz chess (to be played on July 10 and 11) for a total prize fund of USD 150,000.

Indian GM Nihal Sarin wins Serbia Open chess

Young Indian Grandmaster Nihal Sarin on Thursday emerged champion in the Masters’’ section of the Serbia Open Chess Championship here. This is the second consecutive tournament victory for sixteen-year old Sarin after he claimed the title in Silver Lake Open.

The GM from Thrissur, Kerala, on Thursday, played out a draw with GM Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia to finish with 7.5 points out of a possible nine to finish clear first in the 289-player field in the nine-round tourney. Sarin, who became a Grandmaster in 2018 at the age of 14, won six games and drew three, to remain unbeaten.

Sarin, who started the Serbia Open with wins in the first two rounds, ended the tournament with three successive wins and a draw in the final round, finishing a clear half point ahead of the field.

The Silver Lake Open was his first over-the-board event after the Covid-19 pandemic break. Sarin’s compatriot Arjun Erigaisi finished seventh with seven points. The 14-year-old Indian IM Aditya Mittal also ended up with 7 points and took the 10th spot.

He also earned his maiden Grandmaster norm in the process. Chennai was V Pranav, 15, earned his first GM norm and became an International Master. He lost the ninth and final round game to Ukrainian Kiril Shevchenko and ended with 6 points.