Having done the hard work, Viswanathan Anand fumbled and lost to Sergey Karjakin of Russia in the sixth round of Shamkir chess tournament here on Saturday.
Playing the black side of a queen’s gambit declined, Anand came up with some spectacular preparation that should have been good enough for a draw but Karjakin pressed hard where it mattered and went on to secure a rare victory against Anand.
Karjakin joined Magnus Carlsen of Norway in lead on four points out of a possible six following an unexpected victory.
In other games of the day in the super tournament, Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria beat Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan, Dutchman Anish Giri played out a customary draw with David Navara of Czech Republic, reigning World champion Magnus Carlsen got no leeway and had to split the point with Ding Liren of China and Russian Alexander Grischuk got nothing against the ever solid Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan.
Carlsen and Karjakin share the lead on four points each from six games and they are now followed by a long list of players having three points apiece in this ten player nine-rounds event. Anand shares the third spot with Ding Liren, Topalov, Radjabov, Grischuk and Topalov all having three points each while Mamedyarov and Giri are struggling on two points from six matches.
It was not a game for Anand to lose, a long opening variation where in the Indian had done the hard work led to an absolutely equal endgame with a knight and a double rook. Karjakin however pressed on for a long time in an equal position and Anand could not find the right way out.
As it happened in the game, Anand lost a pawn on the king side and called it a day.
Carlsen had little difficulty holding his lead as Ding Liren could not post any real challenge to pressurise the world champion. The game was drawn without much ado, giving Carlsen now to tackle Karjakin in what would be the decisive game of the tournament.
Results round 6: Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 4) beat V Anand (Ind, 3); Veselin Topalov (Bul, 3) beat Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 2); Ding Liren (Chn, 3) drew with Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 4; Anish Giri (Ned, 2) drew with David Navara (Cze, 3); Alexander Grischuk (Rus, 3) drew with Teimour Radjabov (Aze, 3).