Khanty Mansiysk, Russia: Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand sealed the Candidates tournament title with an effortless draw with Peter Svidler of Russia in the 14th and final round on Sunday.
Having won one of the strongest tournaments of recent times with one round to spare, Anand just didn't want anything to go wrong and went for the draw with white pieces that was for the taking. The Indian ace thus officially earned the right to a rematch with Magnus Carlsen of Norway along with the winner's purse of 13,5000 Euros.
The bidding for Anand-Carlsen II is now open and FIDE, the apex chess body will decide the awarding of this match after receiving all the bids by April 30 this year. The match will be held from November 5-25.
The last day provided mixed games. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov also played out a quick draw as white against Vladimir Kramnik while Veselin Topalov's bid to come out of the last place was foiled by Russian Dmitry Andreikin.
Sergey Karjakin of Russia was the lone winner in the day at the expense of out-of-form Levon Aronian of Armenia. Till the ninth round, Aronian was considered as the likely challenger but then things turned out really bad for the world number two.
Anand ended the tournament on 8.5 points, a full point ahead of Karjakin who finished a creditable second after a bad start. Kramnik, Andreikin and Mamedyarov finished joint third on seven points apiece while Aronian and Svidler ended joint sixth on 6.5 points in all. Topalov ended last scoring six in all.
Playing the white side of a Marshall gambit out of a Ruy Lopez opening, Anand simply gave no chances to Svidler. The pieces got exchanged at regular intervals as Svidler also could do little and in almost no time the players found themselves in a drawn minor piece endgame. The game lasted 34 moves.
As if taking a cue from Anand, Mamedyarov also wasted no time in taking the half point from Kramnik. For the records, it was the Capablance variation of the Nimzo Indian defense that Kramnik was well prepared in and Mamedyarov got nothing in the queen-less middle game that ensued.
The Azeri decided to go for mass exchanges and had a dead-drawn position on board by move 30 in a Bishop and pawns endgame. The draw was a just result.
Veselin Topalov tried putting in some pressure on Dmitry Andreikin but the Russian who has shown tremendous determination throughout this event despite being the lowest ranked, did not budge. Topalov went for the closed Ruy Lopez when offered to play against the Berlin and got a complicated position in the middle game.
Andreikin found his defense in form of a pawn sacrifice that relieved him of tention as the queens got traded. The extra pawn was only an optical advantage as Topalov learnt and after trying out for 69 moves agreed for the drawn result.
Karjakin played a patient game with black pieces. Aronian went for the Closed Sicilian and the players were in unchartered territory pretty early in the opening. Marshalling his forces on the king side, Karjakin damaged Aronian's pawn structure and waited for the opportunity that came very late.
It was past the sixth hour that Aronian crumbled under pressure, blundered a piece through a tactical skirmish and lost the game after 94 moves. Karjakin, after pushing Anand for 90 moves in the previous round, yet again played the longest game of the tournament that lasted seven hours.
Results final round: V Anand (Ind, 8.5) drew with Peter Svidler (Rus, 6.5); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 7) drew with Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 7); Veselin Topalov (6) drew with Dmitry Andreikin (7); Levon Aronian (Arm, 6.5) lost to Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 7.5).