Viswanathan Anand’s erratic run continued as he lost to Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi in the very first round of the Croatia Grand Chess tour despite having an encouraging start. The highlight of the first round was, however, Magnus Carles beating Holland’s Anish Giri in just 23 moves.
Former world champion Anand must have been habituated with shocking upsets by now given the number of times he has experienced it of late. The latest of them came in the Croatia Grand Chess tour where he went down against Nepomniachtchi despite a strong start to the game.
Anand played with whites and started with the trending Italian opening and saw his Russian opponent starting passively. The Indian capitalized on the early chance to come with a king side attack and with Nepomniachtchi already under pressure, his attempt to counter on the queen side wasn’t looking sufficient.
However, as soon as the Queens got traded, Nepomniachtchi was looking dangerous as he converted his superior position into a full point after 32 moves.
In other game, and the best of the day, world champion Magnus Carlsen’s took just 23 moves to beat Anish Giri. Playing with black pieces of a Sicilian Rossolimo, Carlsen was seen coming up with a surprising eighth move that left his own pawn structure shattered. Giri easily collapsed when Carlsen launched a king side offensive.
With as many as four decisive games in the opening round, Carlsen, Caruana, Wesley and Nepomniachtchi have all become early leaders in the USD 325000 prize money event that has 90000 USD as the first prize.
Results round 1:Viswanathan Anand (Ind) lost to Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus); Anish Giri (Ned) lost to Magnus Carlsen (Nor); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze) drew with Sergey Karjakin (Rus); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm); Wesley So (Usa) beat Ding Liren (Chn); Fabiano Caruana (Usa) beat Hikaru Nakamura (Usa)