Wang Hao ended Viswanathan Anand’s slim hopes of claiming the lone qualifying spot for next year's Candidates Tournament in Russia, by handing out a defeat in the 10th round of the FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss tournament in Chennai on Sunday. Anand will face Robson Ray in the final round of the event.
Chinese GM Wang Hao ended Viswanathan Anand’s slim hopes of claiming the lone qualifying spot for next year's Candidates, which is scheduled to be held in March at Yekaterinburg, Russia, by handing out a 28-move defeat in the 10th and penultimate round of the FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss tournament in Chennai on Sunday. The five-time former World champion's loss in the penultimate round has all but ended his chances as it now rests with the organisers who have one slot to fill at their discretion. With the final round to go at the Isle of Man, Anand is hanging on with six points.
Anand, playing white, showed signs of desperation on the 24th move and committed a blunder on the 28th move. Wang Hao seized the moment and threatened to checkmate Anand or gain a bishop. Anand (6 points) resigned at once with the defeat seeing him tumble down to the 24th spot. He will take on Robson Ray in the final round of the event.
While speaking to the tournament site, Hao revealed that he did not go into the game with a win on his mind.
"I was not even thinking about winning this game. A draw was a good (enough) result for me."
World No. 2 Fabiano Caruana is in sole lead with 7.5 points after beating David Anton Guijarro. Then there's a group of seven players- Magnus Carlsen, Hao, Alekseenko, Levon Aronian, Nikita Vitiugov, Howell, and Hikaru Nakamura- who are on 7 points apiece.
Carlsen remained in contention for the top prize as he won the penultimate round against Maxim Matlakov with the victory helping the World No. 1 equal Chinese GM Ding Liren's 100-match unbeaten streak in classical chess.