World champion Viswanathan Anand defeated Norwegian Magnus Carlsen and jumped to the top spot in the unofficial live ratings after the end of the second round in the ongoing Bilbao Final Masters chess tournament in Bilbao, Spain, on Sunday.
The Indian chess ace cashed in on his chances with black pieces to take over the top ranking in live ratings.
Carlsen had arrived for the tournament as the number one chess player.
After the victory over Carlsen, Anand, with one win and one draw, is just two points behind the Russian Vladimir Kramnik, who is in sole lead on six points after defeating Alexei Shirov of Spain in the category-22 tournament that has a football-like scoring system.
Shirov is a long-way third with just one point that he earned after drawing with Anand in the opener.
Surprisingly, Magnus Carlsen is in the cellar and yet to open his account with four rounds still to come. He had a forgettable show in the just-concluded chess Olympiad and in Bilbao too his fortunes don’t seem to be changing after a first round loss to Kramnik.
Playing the black side of a Berlin defence for the second day running, Anand faced the closed Ruy Lopez set-up that is in vogue, thanks to the efforts of Grandmaster Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia among others.
Anand’s home work, however, yet again came good as Carlsen was not able to get anything worthwhile after the opening and once the queens were off the board, the experts predicted a draw as it was difficult for either side to make any great progress.
However, Carlsen had other ideas as he went haywire with his planning. In the post game conference the G-Star model confessed that he evaluated that after his 31st move ‘everything was a dead draw’ and thought ‘why not make a draw this way’.
This line of thinking proved costly as Carlsen went wrong on the 33rd move and a further mistake sealed his fate quickly. Anand took the point home after 45 moves.
Kramnik was pleasantly surprised to face the Slav defense by Shirov, who was outplayed after making a simple opening mistake. Trying to exchange quickly to equalise, the Spaniard did not quite find the right path and lost an exchange in the middle game to never recover again. The game lasted 41 moves.
The next round will be Anand’s first white in the tournament and he will face leader Kramnik. A victory will give Anand sole lead while a draw will help Kramnik’s position at the helm.
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– GM Susan Polgar