WIJK AAN ZEE (The Netherlands): World Champion Viswanathan Anand was easily held to a draw by arch-rival Vladimir Kramnik of Russia in the second round of the group ‘A’ of the ongoing 73rd Tata Steel chess tournament.
After a fine win over Ruslan Ponomariov with black pieces in the super-tournament opener on Saturday, the Indian ace could not keep the momentum ticking in his favour as Kramnik was well armed and better prepared and got the draw without any difficulties.
With just one decisive game in the premier group, Anand remained in joint lead along with Jan Smeets of Holland, Hikaru Nakamura of United States and lone winner of the day Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia who defeated Wang Hao of China.
In ‘B’ group, Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly made his presence felt with a clinical display against Jon Ludwig Hammer of Norway. The Indian also opened his account in the process after starting with a first round loss against Gabriel Sargissian of Armenia.
Luke McShane of England got rewarded for his perseverance in a hard-fought game against Li Chao of China in this section and shot in to sole lead with his second win in a row.
Tania Sachdev’s luck deserted her in the ‘C’ group as she lost to Kateryna Lahno of Ukraine from a completely winning position. Falling under extreme ‘time pressure’, Tania blundered at least twice and instead landed in a lost endgame.
Anand played the white side of a Nimzo Indian and his Capablanca variation yielded nothing against Kramnik. Subsequent exchanges led to a level endgame and the game was drawn in just 23 moves.
Earlier, Nakamura got an easy draw as black against Levon Aronian of Armenia. This one proved to be the shortest game of the day lasting just 17 moves.
The game of the day prize went to Jan Smeets and Anish Giri who both played out an exciting draw. Giri, a Russian born-Nepalese origin-Dutch proved that he is made of sterner stuff despite being caught in deep opening preparation. Finding a series of only moves, Giri forced the draw in 38 moves.
Nepomniachtchi won from a level endgame against Wang Hao who earlier spurned down a draw proposal from the Russian while Norwegian Magnus Carlsen was held to a draw by Alexei Shirov of Spain.
Results round 2:
Group ‘A’: Viswanathan Anand (Ind, 1.5) drew with Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 1); Wang Hao (Chn, 0.5) lost to Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus, 1.5); Alexander Grischuk (Rus, 0.5) drew with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 1); Levon Aronian (Arm, 1) drew with Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 1); Alexei Shirov (Esp, 0.5) drew with Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 1); Anish Giri (Ned, 1) drew with Jan Smeets (Ned, 1.5); Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukr, 0.5) drew with Erwin l’Ami (Ned, 1).
Group ‘B’: Laurent Fressinet (Fra, 1) drew with Zahar Efimenko (Ukr, 1.5); S S Ganguly (Ind, 1) beat Jon Ludvig Hammer (Nor, 0); Wesley So (Phi, 1) drew with Gabriel Sargissian (Arm, 1.5); David Navara (Cze, 1.5) drew with Le Quang Liem (Vie, 1); Wouter Spoelman (Ned, 0.5) drew with Radek Wojtaszek (Pol, 0.5); Li Chao (Chn, 0.5) lost to Luke McShane (Eng, 1); Vladislav Tkachiev (Fra, 1) drew with Friso Nijboer (Ned, 1).
Group ‘C’: Benjamin Bok (Ned, 1) drew with Dabiele Vocaturo (Ita, 1.5); Murtas Kazhgaleyev (Kaz, 1) beat Robin van Kampen (Ned, 0); J W de Jong (Ned, 0.5) drew with Illya Nyzhnyk (Ukr, 1.5); Mark Bluvshtein (Ned, 1.5) beat Dariusz Swiercz (Pol, 1); Tania Sachdev (Ind, 1) lost to Kateryna Lahno (Ukr, 1.5); Roeland Pruijssers (Ned, 1) drew with Ivan Ivanisevic (Srb, 0.5); Mark van der Werf (Ned, 0.5) lost to Sebastian Siebrecht (Ger, 1.5).