Shamkir (Azerbaijan): Viswanathan Anand crashed through the defences of Michael Adams of England to jump to sole second spot in the Shamkir Chess 2015 tournament on Saturday.
It was sheer power and simplicity from Anand that saw him cruise to his second win in the strongest tournament of the year and the Indian ace can now train his sight to catch world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the last two remaining rounds.
Viswanathan Anand. File pic.
Carlsen meanwhile defeated Vladimir Kramnik of Russia to take his tally up to 5.5 points out of a possible seven. This was Norwegian's fourth victory in seven games and the way it came might have sent warning signals to team Kramnik.
Fabiano Caruana of Italy was the other big winner of the day cruising to his second straight victory. On the receiving end was erstwhile leader Wesley So of United States who is now getting a taste of how hard it is to be consistent against world elite.
In other two games of this 100000 Euros prize money tournament, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov could not break the solid defences of Azerbaijani compatriot Rauf Mamedov and had to settle for a draw while Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France signed peace with Anish Giri of Holland.
As things stand, Carlsen seems to be running away with the title on 5.5 points while Anand on 4.5 is a point behind him. Wesley So and Fabiano Caruana are close behind Anand on four points each while Mamedyarov is sole fifth on 3.5 points.
Mamedov, Vachier-Lagrave and Giri are on joint sixth spot on three points apiece while Kramnik is now on ninth spot with just 2.5 points. A position the Russian is unfaliar with for many years now. Adams on two is still on the last spot.
Anand was in his element out of an English opening as white. Sacrificing an exchange with white pieces the Indian picked up two pawns as compensation and then tormented Adams for a long time till he cracked. In the end, Adams gave his queen for two rooks but with extra pawns the position was just lost. Anand wrapped it up in quick time.
Just some days before the start of the tournament Carlsen had mentioned that Kramnik is the toughest opponent for him.
However it did not show in the seventh round as the Norwegian comprehensively outplayed the Russian with white pieces.
Caruana's victory ended Wesley So¿s aspirations of winning the tournament even though he was in sole lead after four rounds. The Italian was perfect in his technique.
Results round 7: V Anand (Ind, 4.5) beat Michael Adams (Eng, 2); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 3) drew with Anish Giri (Ned, 3); Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 5.5) beat Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 2.5); Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 4) beat Wesley So (USA, 4); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 3.5) drew with Rauf Mamedov (Aze, 3).