Baden-Baden (Germany): Viswanathan Anand's campaign ended on a sour note as he lost to English Grandmaster Michael Adams in the seventh and final round to finish seventh in the Grenke Chess Classic, here yesterday.
A victory could have propelled him to a much needed 50% score but Anand let go a drawn endgame through another blunder to end on just 2.5 points in his first Classical tournament of the year. The loss also meant a heavy slide of 15 rating points for Anand as he also slipped to ninth spot in world rankings. With three losses, a lone victory and three draws in the tournament, Anand finished a dismal seventh.
He faced the Catalan opening as black against Adams. The game continued with Adams making only a marginal progress and the exchange of pieces at regular intervals led to a level rook and pawns endgame with little chances for either side. Adams, with his better placed rook, kept trying and Anand was at his usual self in defense with the game headed to a draw. Further exchanges resulted in a pawn plus position for Adams but the pawns were on same flank.
Another day, Anand would have easily held the draw but this year¿s Grenke tournament was certainly not his favourite ground as the Indian blundered on 84th move and resigned five moves later. World champion Magnus Carlsen meanwhile added another crown to his long list, winning the title after a long-drawn tiebreak battle against Arkadij Naiditsch of Germany.
After both Naiditsch and Carlsen drew the final round and tied for the first spot on 4.5 points each, the battle extended to the tiebreak games of shorter duration to decide the winner. In the first set of two games, both players shared one victory while in the second set both games were drawn. This brought the tiebreaker to the final Armageddon game that Carlsen won, showing precise judgement after a positional exchange sacrifice.
Earlier, the final round did not see much action as Carlsen was held to a draw by French Grandmaster Etinne Barot while Naiditsch signed the peace with Levon Aronian of Armenia. The other game of the day between lowest-placed David Baramidze and Fabiano Caruana of Italy was also drawn. With Carlsen and Naiditsch tying for first and setting up the tiebreak-finale, Caruana and Adams tied for the third spot on four points each while Bacrot, who drew all the seven games and Aronian finished tied for the fifth spot.
Carlsen missed a chance for a victory before the tiebreak when he let a winning chance slip out of hand against Bacrot. The World champion had a rare slip in a winning positon when he did not calculate correctly and allowed Bacrot to escape. Naiditsch recorded his career best performance by easily holding on to a draw with Aronian out of a Four Knights opening while Baramidze defended a pawn-down endgame against Caruana to achieve the same result.
Results tiebreaker: Magnus Carlsen defeated Arkadij Naiditsch 1-1, 1-1, 1-0. Final round: Michael Adams (Eng, 4) beat V Anand (Ind, 2.5); Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 4.5) drew with Etienne Bacrot (Fra, 3.5); Arkadij Naiditsch (Ger, 4.5) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 3.5); David Baramidze (Ger, 1.5) drew with Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 4).
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