Anand suffers first defeat
Having drawn the first eight games in the tournament, Anand was expected to hold fort against Carlsen but the Indian ace cracked under pressure and went on to lose his first game in the tournament.
The loss has not only cost him valuable rating points but also has put Anand in an unthinkable fifth spot in the six-player double round-robin tournament.
On what turned out to be the most exciting day of the event, Italian Fabiano Caruana punished Armenian Levon Aronian for an over-ambitious approach while local hopeful Francisco Vallejo Pons slipped from another highly promising position and went down to Sergey Karjakin of Russia.
With just one round to go, it’s Carlsen against Caruana for the top spot as they continue to share the lead on 16 points under the soccer-like scoring system.
Results (round nine): Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 16) bt V Anand (Ind, 8); Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 9) bt Freancisco Vallejo Pons (Esp, 5); Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 16) bt Levon Aronian (Arm, 10).