Anand Ends Second in Norway Chess

Stavanger (Norway)
Anand Ends Second in Norway Chess

Former world champion Viswanathan Anand played out a quick draw with Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria to finish second in Norway chess tournament, part of the Grand Chess tour.

The last round did not provide the expected fireworks as Topalov just decided to play it safe with his white pieces and followed an earlier game played between Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine and Magnus Carlsen. The game ended in a draw vide repetition in just 18 moves.

"I couldn't think of an opening where he wouldn't have such an option. I thought if he wanted to do this, I didn't think that I should go crazy. I was ready for a fight but I didn't want to be silly about it," Anand said about the last round.

Looking back at his tournament, Anand said, "Plus three (his three wins); I'm pretty satisfied with my play and my result. If you said before the tournament, plus three, three wins like this, I wouldn't have complained too much."

It was a tentative start in Anand’s opinion.

"In the beginning of the tournament I was worried that I was not playing my best because I felt I was missing some chances. I would say after that, the last four or five games, I felt in control all the time and obviously the three wins are very pleasing," he said.

"Sometimes you have to be practical," said Topalov on his choice after playing the rest of the games in true uncompromising style he is famous for.

The Bulgarian won the first edition of the Grand chess tour, pocketed the first prize of USD 75000 and also gained 13 points to lead the ‘three-tournaments-tour’ after the first one ended here.

The next two tournaments of the tour will be held in San Luis, USA, in August and in London in December.

"I thought to play the way I also did against Levon. Then I remembered that it was very simple and drawish and I went for it. I am a bit relieved. I wasn't completely sure if Vishy wouldn't at least keep on playing. But then, it's also not easy to find a playable position in the classical openings that he plays, which he prepared for world championship matches, in order to equalize," Anand's challenger in the 2010 world championship added.

The final round saw two exciting games and the biggest upset of the event was caused by lowest ranked Jon Ludvig Hammer as he defeated his ‘friend’ and compatriot world champion Magnus Carlsen. The latter did not calculate too well in the final game and Hammer was at his best in finding resources.

Hikaru Nakamura was the other winner on the final day when he put it across Levon Aronian of Armenia to match Anand on six points. Anand however had the better tiebreak and Nakamura finished third. For the ‘Grand tour’ Anand got ten points while Nakamura got eight.

Dutchman Anish Giri finished sole fourth on 5.5 points while Fabiano Caruana of United States and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave tied for the fifth spot on four points.

Alexander Grischuk and Carlsen tied for the seventh position, Aronian ended ninth while Hammer, despite his heroics in the final round, finished last.

Results final round:

Veselin Toplaov (Bul, 6.5) drew with V Anand (Ind, 5.5); Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 4) drew wit Anish Giri (Ned, 5.5); Levon Aronian (Arm, 3) lost to Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 6); Alexander Grischuk (Rus, 3.5) drew with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 4); Jon Ludvig Hammer (Nor, 3) beat Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 3.5).

Grand Chess tour standings: 1. Topalov 13; 2. Anand 10; 3. Nakamura 8; 4. Giri 7; 5. Caruana 6; 6. Vachier-Lagrave 5; 7. Carlsen 4; 8. Grischuk 3; 9. Aronian 2; 10. Hammer 1.

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