Former World champion Viswanathan Anand came up with an inspired performance to beat Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France in the second round of London Chess Classic in London on Sunday.
After an easy draw as black against Fabiano Caruana of United States in the opener, Anand came out all guns blazing in the encounter against Lagrave and got rewarded for his efforts as the Frenchman did not quite find a real defence.
Anand played a fantastic game against Vachier-Lagrave. While the finish was especially aesthetic, Anand's play throughout was characteristic of his classical style as he outclassed the French in all departments of the game.
Vachier-Lagrave went for his pet Najdorf and it seems his authority over the subject might come under the scanner after his listless draw in the same opening as white against Giri in the opener and his loss as black against Anand in the second round.
Anand was in his preparation even though some pundits predicted an exchange sacrifice early by Vachier. Anand indicated it was part of his preparation.
"This position was not unknown to me," said Anand. For Vachier-Lagrave, it was a day to forget as he noted, "It's never pleasant to get out-prepared and to get out-played so convincingly."
On what turned out to be another field day, Wesley So of United States became the 12th player in history of the game to cross the 2800 rating barrier. The American also staked a strong claim for the first place in the Grand Chess tournament that means a USD 100000 as a bonus prize besides the cheque from this event.
Grandmaster Michael Adams was no match against Wesley So as the Englishman struggled right through the game for his second successive and a rather painful loss.
In the other games of the day, Fabiano Caruana of United States also won his first game in the event at the expense of an out-of-sort Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria. Russian Vladimir Kramnik played out a draw with Levon Aronian of Armenia while Anish Giri of Holland also had a peaceful result against Hikaru Nakamura of United States.
With seven rounds still to come in the tournament which is a part of the Grand Chess tour, Wesley leads the table on two points while Anand, Kramnik, Caruana and Aronian share the second spot a half point behind.
Anish Giri is the only player to have drawn both the games and his fifty percent gives him sole sixth spot while Vachier and Nakamura share the seventh on just a half point. Yet to open their accounts are Topalov and Adams, both needing big turnarounds to make their presence felt.
Results Round 2: V Anand (Ind, 1.5) beat Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 0.5); Anish Giri (Ned, 1)drew with Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 0.5); Veselin Topalov (Bul, 0) lost to Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 1.5); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 1.5) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 1.5); Wesley So (Usa, 2) beat Michael Adams (Eng, 0).