London Chess Classic | Anand plays out a draw with Wesley So

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London Chess Classic | Anand plays out a draw with Wesley So

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SportsCafe Desk


Viswanathan Anand played out a draw with Wesley So in the fifth round of the London Chess Classic to remain a point behind the American who continues to lead the table. Following the draw, it is now very difficult for Anand to challenge for the title as he is now tied at sixth place with Anish Giri.

Anand needed a win against the unbeaten So to keep his title hopes alive and the game quickly settled into a Queen's Gambit Declined with a Barmen Variation. Anand attempted to attack So, playing in white, from the Queen's side. The Indian gave up a pawn in the sixth move to open up the B file and followed it up with a check through the dark squared bishop on B4.

After losing a bishop and a knight each and two partially open files on white's queenside, Anand and So castled on the opposite side in the 13th and 14th move respectively. Anand was the first to make a move exchanging So's other knight with his white squared bishop. In the next move, Anand exchanged rooks in the first row to put So under some serious pressure.

However, both players exchanged Queens in the next move and positioned their rooks on the opposite sides of the board and started cleaning up the stray pieces on the board. On move 29, Anand offered up his knight in exchange for So's light squared bishop. So, who appeared to be playing for a draw, was happy to complete the exchange and both players decided to end the game.

The draw now means that Anand has 2.5 points after five rounds while So leads the table with 3.5. "I studied a lot today. I wanted to make sure I’m not out-prepared but he played a novelty on move 10," Wesley So said after the match. 

There was just one win in the fifth round as Michael Adams beat Veselin Topalov to take his tournament tally to 2 points. 

The tournament will restart on the Dec 16th after a day's break. Anand, playing in white, will face Dutch Grand Master Anish Giri in the hopes to lead a fightback. With four more rounds to go, there could still be some drama left to unfold at the London event.

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