Viswanathan Anand’s wait for his first win in Croatia in the ongoing Grand Chess Tour continued as he was held to a quick draw by Chinese opponent Ding Liren. Meanwhile, Magnus Carlsen continued his good stretch of form as he recorded his fifth win of the tournament to go to the top of the table.
After having lost his first game against Ian Nepomniachtchi, Padma Vibhushan-holder Viswanathan Anand had drawn his next five games and was looking for an elusive win against Ding Liren. However, it was not to be, as the Chinese surprised him with his opening as the match culminated into a 27-move draw. The result left Anand with just three points of the possible seven and his chances, though not over, look rather slim from this point onwards.
Liren employed the Spanish Opening, something which Anand seemed to not have anticipated, which was followed by a competitive few opening moves but either of them failed to get a positive result. The encounter did not last for long as the match was declared drawn after just 27 moves.
Anand will have to record streak of victories in the remaining four matches of the 12-man tournament to have any chance of finishing as the winner. However, it won’t be easy for him as he faces Fabiano Caruana of the United States next. Caruana is currently level on points with Liren and shares the third spot with him, a point ahead of Anand.
In the only game of the evening that did produce a result, Norwegian Magnus Carlsen defeated joint leader Ian Nepomniachtchi to edge him and claim the top spot all for himself. It took him just 31 moves to record his first win over the Russian. Wesley So who was level on points with the two at the start of the round survived a close match against Sergey Karjakin but only managed to win half a point, leaving him in the second place and half a point behind Carlsen.
Earlier in the tournament, Anand and Carlsen had played out what was one of the matches of the Zagreb event so far as Anand scathed his way back from what seemed a lost cause to earn himself a draw.