Anand Held By Ding Liren; Stays In Joint Lead


Washington:  Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand played out an easy draw against Ding Liren of China to share lead jointly after four rounds of the Sinquefield Cup, a part of the Grand Chess Tour, here.

After a few nerve-wrecking games it turned out to be a day when the Indian ace did not have to sweat much as they game never really left the boundaries of a draw. With his third draw and a solo victory over Maime Vachier-Lagrave of France in the second round, Anand took his tally to 2.5 points out of a possible four and is now sitting pretty with three white games still in hand out of remaining five rounds.

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Like in the previous round, the day did not produce a single decisive game although all games were fought hard. Armenian Levon Aronian reported sick for the round but instead of asking for a postponement just before the start decided to play it out and drew comfortably with Fabiano Caruana of the United States. Dutch Grandmaster Anish Giri played out a draw with black against Wesley So of United States while top seed Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave could not get past a resurgent Peter Svidler of Russia. In the other game of the day in the 10-player round robin event, Hikaru Nakamura also conceded half a point to Bulgarian Veselin Topalov.

With 2.5 points in his kitty, Anand continues to share the lead along with Wesley So, Aronian and Topalov while Ding Liren, Nakamura and Caruana are not so far away with two points apiece. Giri and Vachier-Lagrave of France share the eighth spot on 1.5 points, a half point clear of last-placed Svidler. It was a stress-free day for Anand from the black side of a Queen pawn game. The Indian ace went for the Isolated Queen pawn structure but Ding Liren remained true to his style here and played solidly right through. The pieces changed hands at regular intervals and a draw was a just result in the ensuing queen and pawns endgame.

Results round 3: Ding Liren (CHN, 2) drew with Vishwanathan Anand (IND, 2.5); Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2) drew with Veselin Topalov (BUL, 2.5); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA, 1.5) drew with Peter Svidler (RUS, 1); Wesley So (USA, 2.5) drew with Anish Giri (NED, 1.5); Levon Aronian (ARM, 2.5) drew with Fabiano Caruana (USA, 2).