Leiden: Viswanathan Anand’s quest for a sixth title in the Tata Steel chess tournament suffered a serious setback as he lost to reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the tenth round here on Thursday. Having done the hard work so far in the event, the loss might well prove decisive for Anand.
According to pundits, Anand would not have lost the endgame he reached against any other player. The day saw the event moving to Leiden from Wijk Aan Zee and things got heated up pretty quickly as Vidit Gujrathi tamed former world champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia in the first game. Local stars Anish Giri and Jorden Van Foreest also enjoyed the outing defeating Russian duo of Vladimir Fedoseev and overnight joint leader Ian Nepomniachtchi, respectively, while Richard Rapport of Hungary played a gem of a game to beat Duda Jan Krzysztof of Poland. As a result, Carlsen emerged as the sole leader on 7 points out of a possible ten and Anish Giri is in sole second spot a half point behind.
Anand slipped to joint third position on six points sharing it with Ding Liren of China and Nepomniachtchi while Vidit Gujrathi is now joint fifth on five points with Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan. Playing black, Anand was up against a side variation in the Ruy Lopez and equalized without much ado. However, it was clear that Calsen was only looking at a long game which he got. The pieces got traded and Carlsen managed to find a miniscule advantage in the ensuing rook and knight endgame.
Anand still kept things under control with some precise play leading to a knight endgame a pawn down that should have been a draw with correct play. Carlsen continued to exert pressure here and after six and a half hours of play Anand blundered and walked in to a lost position. The game lasted 76 moves.