Category Archives: Chess

Grover moves to joint 5th at Al Ain Classic Chess

Grover moves to joint 5th at Al Ain Classic Chess

Sahaj Grover

Indian GM and former under-10 world champion Sahaj Grover scored a crushing victory over ninth seed Constantin Lupulescu of Romania to jump to joint fifth spot after the end of the sixth round of Al Ain Classic International Chess tournament, in UAE on Wednesday.

On what turned out to be his day in one of the strongest open in Asia, Grover was at his attacking best and was rewarded for his uncompromising play as Lupulescu failed to find out the best defensive resources and caved in easily.

The victory took Grover to 4.5 points out of a possible six and the Indian youngster now finds himself in joint fifth spot.

Viswanathan Anand beats Michael Adams to win London Chess Classic

Five-time chess world champion Viswanathan Anand won his maiden London Classic title after defeating British Grandmaster Michael Adams in the fifth and final round.

Having drawn the first four games of the six-player round-robin tournament, Anand had to win to stay in contention for a podium finish and he was duly assisted by Adams who fought it out instead of going for a dull draw with white pieces.

The victory confirms Anand’s presence in elite chess for some time. Just two weeks before the London Classic, Anand had suffered defeat against Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the world championship match at Sochi and the quick recovery here shows that there is more to expect from the Indian on the chequered board.

Anand scored seven points in all under the Soccer-like scoring system that gives three points for a win and one for a draw. With his sole victory apart from the four draws, Anand matched Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and Anish Giri on points and then has the superior tie-break to clinch the title.

The London scoring system favour the player with victories with black pieces and both Giri and Kramnik had won only with white earlier in the tournament.

Hikaru Nakamura of United States was the only serious contender for title but he could not get the better of world number two Fabiano Caruana of Italy. Nakamura ended on six points for his sole fourth spot while Adams and Caruana ended on an identical four points each.

Anand equalised comfortably with black pieces. TheAnand equalised comfortably with black pieces. The queen-less middle game typical of the Berlin was on board a long time till Adams went for liquidation but an erroneous plan gave Anand the better chances.

Adams was down to five minutes for nine moves and made the fatal error on the 32nd move in the knights and pawns endgame after which there was no looking back. Anand gobbled a queen side pawn and then the march of black pawns to glory was inevitable. The game lasted just 36 moves.

Giri and Kramnik played out a draw out of a Catalan opening where the former played white. Going for one of the main lines, Giri showed enough maturity to keep his position together and Kramnik could not dent white’s position in anyway.

The players finally reached a queen and minor piece endgame where the draw was a just result after 60 moves. Nakamura fought the hardest but Caruana was also calling his shots for his first victory in the tournament. The middle game arising out of another Berlin looked equal but Nakamura pressed and pushed for as long as he could. The point was split only after 81 moves.

Magnus Carlsen punishes Viswanathan Anand’s misadventure to successfully defend world chess title

World chess champion, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen retained his title, defeating challenger Viswanathan Anand in the 11th round of their title match in Siochi, Russia on Sunday.

The reigning world champion called off the exchange/sacrifice blunder or bluff of Anand on move 24 and wrapped up the 12 game in 45 moves.

Interestingly Anand went for the misadventure of exchange/sacrifice – giving up his rook for Carlsen’s bishop when he was enjoying a slight positional advantage.

As predicted earlier, Anand played it safe in the initial phase of the game as he was trailing a point behind Carlsen. Playing white, Carlsen opened by pushing his king pawn two squares forward. The game soon transposed into Ruy Lopez-Berlin defence.

And as it happened in the earlier games, Carlsen went in for exchange of queens. On move 9, Anand moved his white bishop to d7 square which was considered as a fighting move.

World Chess Championship: Time running out for Viswanathan Anand

Magnus Carlsen had to eschew his pride and taste the ‘draw medicine’ forced by Viswanathan Anand. But if the latter doesn’t find enough inspiration in the next two of the remaining three games, the thinking behind this half a point can always be questioned.

Anand, a challenger at 44, trails Carlsen 4-5 in the World Chess Championship match in Sochi. The Indian, who plays with white pieces on Friday, is expected to trouble the reigning champion with sharper and more offensive play.

The ninth game on Thursday was over in just 20 moves lasting just an hour and Carlsen was left explaining how a player who believes in playing over the board much longer even for half a point allowed the Indian challenger gain the ‘black result’ so quickly.

“Considering the match situation, I’m okay with the draw,” said Carlsen.

“I won’t like to get into details about what surprised me.

“Of course, it’s always better to be able to press with white. But on the other hand, every half a point brings me closer to six and a half points needed to win the title. It’s not too bad… not a disaster. It’s a tough match. Right now, it looks like it is going the distance (12th game is on Tuesday).

“It’s more comfortable to play these kind of endgames when you are leading the match. In general, I try to play positions which I consider to be good and suit my style. But he was better prepared today than I was.” When Anand, playing black, opted for the quieter Ruy Lopez as against the generally-sharper Sicilian, it was expected that he had prepared well in the main lines. The queens were exchanged on the eighth move denying a chance to castle for Black.

The Norwegian deviated first from their Game 7 on the 11th turn. Even that didn’t deter Anand much. Soon, it appeared that Carlsen was not ready for the ensuing positional struggle in the middle game. A couple of minor pieces were exchanged quickly. Though Carlsen had some activity in the centre files, he decided not to continue in rooks and knights vs rooks and bishops ending (six pawns each).

The champion went for perpetual checks and attained a draw after a threefold repetition. After getting what he wanted – an easy, no-sweat draw with black pieces – Anand was not ready to let media question his choice. “You have to play the positions you get, the situations you get. I can count, I know the score.”

When asked on the subtleness behind the opening sequence of moves, he said: “This I would rather not explain.”

Is being less prepared than world No. 6 Anand is a huge concern for Carlsen?

“It has also been the opposite a couple of times,” said the world No. 1. “A disappointment of short draw with white pieces is easier to swallow when you are leading the match.” Anand said: “The game was quite reasonable. An easy draw with black. I just need to try harder with white.”

Carlsen was more forthcoming on certain issues about his display. “My play has been quite inconsistent both in terms of preparation and over the board play. But we will see.”