Viswanathan Anand Held by Alexander Grischuk in Norway Chess
With his third draw in as many games, Viswanathan Anand now has 1.5 points out of a possible three and other results in the round helped the Indian jump to joint fourth spot in the rankings with six rounds still remaining in the strongest tournament of the year.
Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand's hunt for the elusive victory continued as he was again held to a draw by Alexander Grischuk of Russia in the third round of Norway Chess tournament, a part of the Grand Chess tour.
With his third draw in as many games, Anand inched himself up to 1.5 points out of a possible three and other results in the round helped the Indian jump to joint fourth spot in the rankings with six rounds still remaining in the strongest tournament of the year.
Hikaru Nakamura of United States punished Fabiano Caruana of Italy for some reckless play while Veselin Topalov's crushed Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France in the two decisive games of the day.
In a very interesting battle yet again, World champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway failed to convert his winning chance against Anish Giri of Holland and signed peace while Carlsen's compatriot Jon Ludvig Hammer played out a draw with Levon Aronian of Armenia.
Nakamura and Topalov emerged as the new joint leaders on 2.5 points each and Giri is on the heels of the leader a half point behind.
Anand, Caruana and Vachier-Lagrave share the fourth spot on 1.5 points apiece while Grischuk, Aronian and Hammer are right behind them with one point in their kitty. Magnus Carlsen continues to find himself in an unfamiliar last spot on a half point.
Grischuk played the old main line of the Sicilian Sveshnikov in which almost all top-level games in the past few years have ended in draws. Anand favoured the variation employed by Leinier Dominguez of Cuba at Khanty-Mansiysk Grand Prix earlier this year against Grischuk himself.
"I am one of the worst for recollecting my analysis," Grischuk said after the game.
For a brief moment in the middle game, Grischuk had some chances, but the Russian, running out of time on the clock, allowed a queen trade after which Anand was on top again.
However Grischuk found the right defense and the game soon petered out to a draw.
The players were asked if they went to the confession box which is in place here. "I would love to but I don't have time to go!" said Grischuk. The players can make voluntary confessions during a game in front of the camera for the audience but the players involved cannot hear it.
"It's a hard idea to execute," said Anand. "Maybe they should have a rule that at a certain point they drag the players. To make it voluntary...nobody wants to jinx themselves by going and saying something, and looking like a complete idiot afterwards. Especially if you got everything completely wrong! That's not a pleasant thought."
Nakamura capitalised on Caruana's positional blunders in the rook and pawns endgame. The Italian had a tenable position when the endgame arrived but he opened all doors for Nakamura's rook to cause the damage.
Topalov chose the Meran variation to stun Vachier-Lagrave. Playing black, Topalov showed he had superior understanding of the middle game after the French GM found the wrong plan. The game lasted a mere 27 moves.
Carlsen missed out on a brilliant piece sacrifice that would have left Anish Giri helpless in the middle game.
Instead the world champion went for a wrong continuation and landed in a complicated endgame where Giri had an extra piece.
The longest game of the day was drawn after 78 moves.
Results round 3: V Anand (Ind, 1.5) drew with Alexander Grischuk (Rus, 1.5); Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 0.5) drew with Anish Giri (Ned, 2); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 1.5) lost to Veselin Topalov (Bul, 2.5); Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 2.5) beat Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 1.5);Levon Aronian (Arm, 1) drew with Jon Ludvig Hammer (Nor, 1).