Anand posts fine win to be in joint-lead

Anand posts fine win to be in joint-lead

Viswanathan Anand

World Rapid champion Viswanathan Anand came up with an inspired performance to outplay Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France and jump to joint lead on 3.5 points after the end of the seventh round of Altibox Norway Chess tournament here.

The win came after five draws and one game against Chinese Ding Liren that was declared as a non-played one after the latter withdrew.

Anand came up with a surprise weapon by going for the open Spanish and as expected, Vachier-Lagrave chose a double-edged continuation that gave Anand enough chances.

Although more than 20 years older than the Frenchman, Anand showed why he is still a force to reckon with. The Indian ace simply out-calculated his opponent when it mattered.

It was an exchange sacrifice by Anand that set the tone. Vachier-Lagrave did not think much was wrong with his position and while his judgement was right, his calculation was not as Anand almost immediately ended up in a winning endgame after the trade of queens.

Anand shared the lead with world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Wesley So of United States. Anand was pragmatic in this new situation in the tournament.

"Just like the game took a sudden turn, suddenly I find myself in the lead. It's kind of random, so I haven't given it too much thought," he said.

While Magnus Carlsen had an off day, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan played out a draw with So, while Armenian Levon Aronian signed peace with Sergey Karjakin of Russia. The other game of the day also ended in a draw between Americans Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura.

Results round 7: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 2/6) lost to V Anand (Ind, 3.5/6); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 3/7) drew with Wesley So (USA, 3.5/6); Levon Aronian (Arm, 3.5/7) drew with Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 3/6); Fabiano Caruana (USA, 3/6) drew with Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 3/6).