Anand remains at joint fifth place

Viswanathan Anand played out an easy draw against Veselin Topalov in the penultimate round of Bilbao Grand Slam chess tournament.

updated: September 13, 2008 08:29 IST
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Bilbao, Spain:

Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand played out an easy draw against Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in the ninth and penultimate round of Bilbao Grand Slam chess tournament to remain at the joint fifth spot.

With his seventh draw in nine games Anand, playing with white, took his pionts tally to seven points in the soccer-like scoring system with just one round to come in the super-category tournament.

It turned out to be a calm day before the final round as all the three games, in the six players double round-robin tournament, ended in draws.

Magnus Carlsen could do little against solid play of Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan who played white while Levon Aronian survived a scare at the hands of Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine.

The standings remained unchanged and Topalov remained atop the tables on 14 points, a full point ahead of Aronian. Ivanchuk and Carlsen share the third spot on 12 points each while Anand and Radjabov are way behind on seven points.

Anand faced the Caro Kann defense by Topalov and it was already a big surprise. Going for a variation that has been discarded in favour of new variations and research, Anand did not get anything special in the middle game and Topalov equalised without much ado.

The pieces got exchanged at regular intervals and the players reached a drawn rook and pawns endgame in quick time. After 41 moves the peace was signed.

Anand's hunt for a victory continued with the draw and it looks he will go without a win from here as he plays with black against Carlsen in the final round.

Ivanchuk-Aronian was much more complicated. The Ruy Lopez exchange gave little to Aronian and Ivanchuk seized the initiative in the queen-less middle game typical of the opening but the famous time-pressure of the Ukrainian again came to haunt him.

Aronian wriggled out of his difficulties in the endgame through a thematic piece sacrifice to force matters. Ivanchuk was visibly upset after missing out on the victory.

Radjabov played it safe like Anand and it was almost a chanceless draw in another caro Kann of the day. For the records, a rook and opposite coloured Bishops endgame was reached in this game.

Results round 9: V Anand (Ind, 7) drew with V Topalov (Bul, 14); Teimour Radjabov (Aze, 7) drew with Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 12); Vassily IVanchuk (Ukr, 12) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 13).