Anand jumps into joint lead

World champion Viswanathan Anand outplayed Daniel Fridman of Germany and jumped to joint lead after the ninth and penultimate round of Grenke Chess Classic here.

Having missed out on a few promising positions, the Indian ace ensured a fine victory and took his tally to 5.5 points.

Anand’s path to lead was aided by overnight leader Fabiano Caruana’s will to fight in a level position against Michael Adams of England. While Adams turned out victorious after a gruelling battle, Caruana found himself sharing the lead with Anand who finally caught up.

With just one game to come, Adams and Georg Meier of Germany share the third spot with 4.5 points apiece while Arkadij Naiditsch, who lost to Meier, is now in the fifth spot with four points.

Daniel Fridman is at the bottom on three points in the six-player double round-robin tournament.

In the final round now, Caruana has black pieces against Fridman while Anand will also play as black against Naiditsch, who has had seven decisive games out of a possible nine thus far. If both Anand and Caruana tie for the top spot, a tie-breaker will be played to determine the winner.

It turned out to be a good day in the office for Anand. Up against the Petroff defence, he came up with an improvement and had a brilliant follow-up up his sleeve that caught Fridman completely off-guard.

Though Anand gave little away in the press conference, many pundits believed the entire idea was home-cooked.

Results (Round IX): Viswanathan Anand (Ind, 5.5) bt Daniel Fridman (Ger, 3); Georg Meier (Ger, 4.5) bt Arkadij Naiditsch (Ger, 4)Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 5.5) lt to Michael Adams (Eng, 4.5).

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