Viswanathan Anand’s subpar form in Zagreb continued as he played out yet another draw, this time against Fabiano Caruana of the United States, to practically end his chances of going to the top. Meanwhile, Magnus Carlsen clinched yet another victory to maintain his position as the leader.
It was another disappointing day for Viswanathan Anand at the office as he drew his seventh consecutive match even after being on top of his opponent at various moments during the course of the game. The result means that he now has only 3.5 points out of the possible eight, level with Sergey Karjakin of Russia, Maxime Vachier Lagrave of France and Anish Giri of Holland and he is yet to win a match so far in Croatia.
Having drawn in the last game against China’s Ding Liren in a match that did not last long, the affair against Caruana was much more drawn out and full of opportunities. The closed Sicilian pawn formation meant that Caruana was thrown on the backfoot but Anand failed to drive home the advantage of having an extra pawn. Caruana kept clawing his back into the game even though Anand was in a much better position to win at a point in time, only for Caruana to find a way to have the match end as a theoretically drawn endgame.
Meanwhile, having ended the last round as the sole reader, Magnus Carlsen held his top spot with a victory of Chinese Ding Liren. While Carlsen seemed to be the more comfortable of the two as Liren took significantly longer to plan out and play his moves, the latter finally seemed to have found level footing when the queens got traded. However, reigning world champion Carlsen rose to the occasion and with some eloquent moves ended the game in 59 moves.
Carlsen’s six-point tally is closely followed by Wesley So’s 5.5 after he won his game against compatriot Hikaru Nakamura. Ian Nepomniachtchi and Levon Aronian’s draw meant that the two follow the third position with Caruana. With the event heading into its final stretch and only three rounds remaining in the 12-man event, it looks likely that one of the top two will end as the number one.