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Anand maintains lead in Zurich

by Sagar Shah - 15/02/2016

After mating Levon Aronian and Anish Giri on day one of the Zurich Rapid, Anand consolidated his lead with two draws against Alexei Shirov and Hikaru Nakamura. He is now on six points and leads one point ahead of Nakamura and Kramnik. The final round will witness Anand taking on Kramnik with the white pieces. It will be a game to look forward to! As of now we have the games from rounds three and four for you.

While day one witnessed Anand mating two of his opponents in back to back games, day two was relatively sedate. In the third round Anand defended a worse position against Alexei Shirov while in the fourth he played a confident draw against Hikaru Nakamura with the black pieces. This is how the standings look after four rounds of Rapid:


Crosstable Rapid
1 Viswanathan Anand ** 1   2 1 2 6.0 9.50
2 Hikaru Nakamura 1 ** 1   2 1 5.0 8.50
3 Vladimir Kramnik   1 ** 1 1 2 5.0 7.50
4 Levon Aronian 0   1 ** 2 1 4.0 5.50
5 Alexei Shirov 1 0 1 0 **   2.0 5.50
6 Anish Giri 0 1 0 1   ** 2.0 4.50

Note: A win gets you two points and a draw one.

Kramnik after scoring a win against Anish Giri is now in joint second position with Hikaru Nakamura, one point behind Vishy Anand.


Anand survived some anxious moments in his round three encounter against Alexei Shirov (Photo by David Llada)

Let's have a look at the game with annotations by GM Alejandro Ramirez:

[Event "5th Zurich CC 2016"]
[Site "Zurich SUI"]
[Date "2016.02.14"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Anand, V."]
[Black "Shirov, A."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C77"]
[WhiteElo "2784"]
[BlackElo "2684"]
[Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"]
[PlyCount "103"]
[EventDate "2016.02.12"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. c3 g6 7. O-O Bg7 8. Nbd2
O-O 9. Re1 Nh5 10. Nf1 f5 11. Ng3 fxe4 12. Bb3+ Kh8 13. Ng5 $5 {going for
complications!} (13. Nxe4 {was perfectly possible}) 13... Nf4 {there wasn't
much of a choice} 14. Nf7+ Rxf7 15. Bxf7 Qf8 16. Bb3 exd3 {White is up the
exchange for now, but Black has two pawns (though d3 looks kind of weak) and
some activity. It's hard to say who I would rather be, even with the help of
computers.} 17. Bc4 d5 18. Bxd3 e4 (18... Be6 {keeps more compensation}) 19.
Bf1 (19. Bc2 Be6 20. Nxe4 $1 {is a strong tactical point the players might
have missed}) 19... g5 20. c4 dxc4 21. Nxe4 Ne5 22. Bxf4 gxf4 23. Ng5 (23. f3
$5) 23... Bf5 24. Qd5 c6 25. Qa5 {Somehow I don't believe much in this queen
maneuver all the way to a5.} b5 26. Rad1 Qe7 27. Ne4 Rg8 {Black's pieces are
swarmin the kingside and Anand needs to find a way to defend quickly.} 28. Nd6
$6 {This loses an exchange} Bc2 29. Qd2 (29. Rd2 Nf3+ 30. gxf3 Bd4+ 31. Kh1
Qxe1 {collects the house}) 29... Bxd1 30. Qxd1 Rf8 31. Ne4 f3 32. g3 Rd8 33.
Qc1 Nd3 $6 {a bit rushed, Black could have kept the pawn and the pressure with
other moves, such as Qe6.} 34. Bxd3 cxd3 35. Qxc6 Bxb2 36. Kf1 Qd7 37. Qxd7
Rxd7 38. Rd1 {Black is winning here, but it requires some technique} Rd5 (38...
b4 $1 39. Ng5 (39. Nc5 Rd5 40. Nxd3 Bc3 {is a permanent tpin as if White plays}
41. Nb2 Ra5 {is decisive.}) 39... a5 40. Nxf3 a4 41. Nd2 Rc7 {(other moves
work too) and Black should be winning. The threat is b3 and a3.}) 39. Nd2 b4
40. Nxf3 Bc3 41. Ne1 d2 42. Nf3 Ra5 43. Nxd2 Rxa2 44. Ne4 {Unforunately for
Shirov this approach was too slow. White has sufficient counterplay here.} a5
45. Nxc3 bxc3 46. Rc1 Ra3 47. Ke2 a4 48. Rc2 Rb3 49. Kd3 a3 50. Kc4 a2 51. Rxa2
Rb2 52. Ra8+ 1/2-1/2


Have a look who's doing the commentary! The legendary ex-World Champion Anatoly Karpov! (Photo by Frederic Friedel)

After the third round draw, Anand's real test came in the form of facing the in form Hikaru Nakamura with the black pieces. The American played an off-beat opening looking to take Vishy off the well trodden paths. But Anand is in great form in Zurich and solved all his opening problems with relative ease. In the end it was Hikaru who had to remain careful and force the draw.

[Event "5th Zurich CC 2016"]
[Site "Zurich SUI"]
[Date "2016.02.14"]
[Round "4.3"]
[White "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A08"]
[WhiteElo "2787"]
[BlackElo "2784"]
[PlyCount "60"]
[EventDate "2016.02.13"]
1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 c5 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. O-O Nc6 5. d4 cxd4 6. Nxd4 e5 7. Nxc6 bxc6 8.
c4 Be6 9. Bg5 Rc8 10. Qa4 Qd7 11. Bxf6 gxf6 12. e3 d4 13. exd4 exd4 14. c5 Bxc5
15. Rc1 Qe7 16. Bxc6+ Kf8 17. Nd2 Kg7 18. Qb5 Bb6 19. Qd3 Rc7 20. Be4 Rhc8 21.
Rxc7 Rxc7 22. Rd1 Qc5 23. Nb3 Qe5 24. Nd2 f5 25. Bg2 Qc5 26. b3 Qc2 27. Nc4
Qxd3 28. Rxd3 Bxc4 29. bxc4 Rxc4 30. Bd5 Rc3 1/2-1/2


With one round to go Anand is leading and will face Vladimir Kramnik in the final round with the white pieces (photo by David Llada)
The two tailenders Anish Giri and Alexei Shirov will be up against each other and Nakamura will have the black pieces against Aronian.
It promises to be an exciting final round. You can catch all the live action at 19.30 hours on 15th February on the ChessBase India website.


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