Anand finishes tied third in Grenkeleasing world rapid chess

World Chess Champion Vishwanathan Anand

After being eliminated in the prelims of the annual event that he had won 11 times earlier, Anand did not quite motivate himself to play well for the third place and all the four games against German Arkadiz Naiditsch ended in draws leaving the third place to be shared by both of them.

Meanwhile, Armenian Levon Aronian won his maiden title on Mainz soil with a clinical performance against Ian Nepomniatchchi of Russia in the finals.

The former world junior champion from Armenia scored victories in the first two games itself and then sealed the event and the winner's jacket in his favour with a draw in the third game of the four-games final.

Nepomniachtchi also drew the fourth game, leaving the scoreline to read 3-1 in favour of Aronian.

Anand failed to overcome his poor form and his play in the match for the third place against Naiditsch was strangely uninspired and lacked punch.

"Well, as there is not that much at stake in the match for third place, it is very difficult to motivate oneself," Anand said later at the press conference.

The first game showed how difficult both Anand and Naiditsch, who had also played in the Ordix Open where he finished second to Mamedyarov, found to motivate themselves.

Anand had White and chose a quiet Italian game, which ended in a listless 26-move draw.

In contrast, Aronian lived up to his role of favorite in his first game against Nepomniachtchi. From the white side of an English Opening he managed to convert positional pressure into something tangible when winning two pawns.

Yesterday, the Russian had overcomed a two-pawn-deficit against Anand, but against Aronian, Nepomniachtchi was not that lucky. In fact, his only hope was the clock.

Aronian had only seconds on the clock but the five second increment per move proved to be enough for the Armenian to seal his first win in the finals.

In the second round, Naiditsch and Anand went into a well-known line of the Ruy Lopez and did not mind a draw when all rooks were swapped on the a-file.

Nepomniachtchi did everything one tells beginners not to do. He neglected his development, left his king in the centre and advanced both his a- and his h-pawn in an effort to put pressure on Black.

Aronian developed quietly and when all his pieces were ready and his king had castled, he countered in the center and suddenly things were critical for White. With little time on the clock, Nepomniachtchi went astray and fell victim to an assault on his king that was stuck in the centre.

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