Anand opens account; draws with Topalov
St. Louis (USA): Former world champion Viswanathan Anand played out a draw with table-topper Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in the third round to open his account in the Sinquefield Cup — a part of the Grand Chess tour.
After two back-to-back defeats in the first two rounds, Anand needed a breather and, while the Indian ace gave nothing away to Topalov, his own bid for an advantage was also subtly tackled by the tournament leader.
The day produced just two decisive games with world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway coming out trumps against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France and local wild card Wesley So cruising past Alexander Grischuk of Russia.
Levon Aronian of Armenia played out a draw with Anish Giri of Holland while in the other game of the day, the all-American duel between Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana also ended peacefully.
With six rounds to come in the USD 3,00,000 prize money tournament, Topalov remains on top of the tables with 2.5 points in his bag and is now followed by Carlsen, Giri and Aronian who all have two points each.
Nakamura, Wesley So and Vachier-Lagrave are tied fifth on 1.5 points, a half ahead of Grischuk who remained on one point. Anand and Caruana are currently at the bottom of the tables with just a half point each.
Anand pressed for an advantage without risk against Topalov and after two losses, it was the right strategy by the five-time world champion to get back in the tournament.
The Sicilian defense met with a Bishop check on move three, the same that Carlsen had employed against Topalov in the opening round but Anand did not go for the complexities the Norwegian had chosen.
Anand had a slightly better prospect with a better controlled centre but Topalov also came up with the right responses to make sure white’s advantage remained minimal.
While both played correctly, the pieces changed hands and on move 31 it was an opposite coloured Bishops endgame on board when the players shook hands.
“I am happy with this draw as black,” Topalov said after the game.