Anand draws with Aronian to jump to joint lead

From Our Chess Correspondent

Wijk Aan Zee (The Netherlands), Jan 24 (PTI) WorldChampion Viswanathan Anand played out a draw against LevonAronian of Armenia in the eighth round to claw back to the topof the leaderboard in the ''A'' group of 73rd Tata Steel Chesstournament here.

The draw helped Anand to join overnight leader HikaruNakamura of United States in the lead after the lattersuffered his first loss in the tournament at the hands ofWorld Number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway.

Anand and Nakamura jointly share the lead on 5.5 points,but Aronian, Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and Frenchman MaximeVachier-Lagrave moved within striking distance of the leaders,a half point behind with five rounds still remaining in thecategory-20 tournament being played on round robin basisbetween 14 players.

The day yet again provided entertaining chess even thoughAnand did not get much with his white pieces against Aronian.

Up against the Marshall gambit, Anand liquidated to a pawnplus endgame out of the opening but Aronian always had enoughresources to maintain the balance.

Carlsen stopped Nakamura''s dream run with a clinicalvictory against the Sicilian Najdorf.

Playing black, Nakamura felt the heat in the middle gameas Carlsen started a king side attack and it became hard tohandle once the Norwegian started a checkmate mission. He gavea rook to force matters in what was a pretty finish.

Amongst other interesting encounters of the day, AlexeiShirov of Spain secured his first victory in the tournamentafter a disastrous start at the expense of Alexander Grischukof Russia while local lad Anish Giri came back strongly with afine victory over Wang Hao of China.

In the ''B'' group being held simultaneously, GrandmasterSurya Shekhar Ganguly played out a draw with Li Chao of Chinato inch to three points in this section out of a possibleeight.

The lead positions changed here as youngster Wesley So ofPhilippines secured his fourth vitory on the trot to emerge asthe sole leader on six points. Ganguly needs a miracle to makethings work from this stage.

International Master Tania Sachdev, however, continuedwith her impressive run that has won her many fans in thiscoastal town. The Indian scored her fourth win in thecategory-11 tournament to remain in with a chance to get hersecond Grandmaster norm.

Tania defeated IM JW De Jong of Holland who is having atough time in the tournament.

Grandmaster Daniele Vocaturo seems to be on course forthe title in this section with 6.5 points so far -� his loneloss was against Tania in round six. .

Results after round 8 in Group ''A'': Anand (IND, 5.5) drew with Levon Aronian (ARM, 5); Alexei Shirov (ESP, 2.5) beatAlexander Grischuk (RUS, 2); Anish Giri (NED, 4) beat Wang Hao(CHN, 2.5); Ruslan Ponomariov (UKR, 4) drew with VladimirKramnik (RUS, 5); Erwin l''Ami (NED, 3) drew with IanNepomniachtchi (RUS, 4.5); Jan Smeets (NED, 2) lost to MaximeVachier-Lagrave (FRA, 5); Magnus Carlsen (NOR, 5) beat HikaruNakamura (USA, 5.5).

Group ''B'': Laurent Fressinet (FRA, 3.5) drew with DavidNavara (CZE, 4); Wouter Spoelman (NED, 2) lost to Wesley So(PHI, 6); Li Chao (CHN, 4) drew with S S Ganguly (IND, 3);Luke McShane (ENG, 5.5) drew with Gabriel Sargissian (ARM,5.5); Radoslav Wojtaszek (POL, 5) beat Le Quang Liem (VIE,3.5).

Group ''C'': Benjamin Bok (NED, 3.5) beat Mark Bluvshtein(CAN, 4); Tania Sachdev (IND, 4.5) beat J W de Jong (NED,1.5); Roeland Pruijssers (NED, 2) drew with Murtas Kazhgaleyev(KAZ, 4.5); Mark van der Werf (NED, 3.5) lost to DanieleVocaturo (ITA, 6.5); Sebastian Siebrecht (Ger, 3.5) beat Robinvan Kampen (NED, 3); Ivan Ivanisevic (SRB, 4.5) beat IllyaNyzhnyk (UKR, 5.5); Kateryna Lahno (UKR, 5.5) drew withDariusz Swiercz (POL, 4).

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