CHENNAI: It’s too early to say whether Magnus Carlsen of Norway has done a favour to World champion Viswanathan Anand by beating sole leader Hikaru Nakamura of US in the eight round. At the halfway stage, Anand is back in the lead having caught up with Nakamura on 5.5 points but the danger signal is already there for the Indian as Carlsen has moved to joint second place with his three wins in the last four rounds of the Tata Steel chess tournament at Wijk aan Zee.
A draw, which hardly took an hour and a half of play with Levon Aronian of Armenia, helped Anand climb up after Carlsen defeated Nakamura in a methodical demolition in a sharp Sicilian line. Anand and Aronian met in a Marshall Gambit. With white, Anand seemed to hold a slight edge which he always does when he draws.
Carlsen took control of the game against Nakamura after the American made a dubious Queen move early. Naka’s choice of the Sicilian was also put to the sword as he had remarked earlier in the tournament that the Sicilian is not the line to pick if there’s no need for you to score a full point. Well, he might surely have wanted to score a full point against Carlsen. After the dubious 19th move, Nakamura was in troubled waters. A few accurate moves later, Carlsen unleashed a deadly attack and won in 37 moves.
Carlsen shared the 3-5 places, half a point behind the leaders, alongside Aronian, France’s Vachier-Lagrave and Russia’s Vladimir Kramnik, who picked up a half point against Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine in just 19 moves with black.
Vachier-Lagrave defeated Dutch national champion Jan Smeets in 60 moves with black from a Modern Defence.
Standings (after Round 8):
V Anand, H Nakamura 5.5 each,
L Aronian, M Carlsen, V Kramnik, M Vachier-Lagrave 5 each,
I Nepomniachtchi 4.5,
A Giri, R Ponomariov 4 each,
W Hao, E l’Ami 3 each,
A Shirov 2.5,
A Grischuk, J Smeets 2 each.