Anand held by Frenchman Maxime, Nakamura maintains lead

Written by: Pti
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By Our Chess Correspondent

Wijk Aan Zee (The Netherlands), Jan 29 (PTI) WorldChampion Viswanathan Anand playing with black pieces had adrawn game against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, after the11th round of the 73rd Tata Steel Chess tournament, now inprogress here.

His main contemporary Hikaru Nakamura of United Statessurged ahead with a sparkling victory over Ian Nepomniachtchiof Russia. Anand inched closer to regaining the top slot inworld ranking but only just a bit as Magnus Calrsen of Norwaydefeated Russian Vladimir Kramnik to stake his claim for thetop spot yet again with a sparkling victory.

With just two rounds to come in the categry-20 supertournament, Nakamura is now firmly ahead with 8 points in hiskitty and the Indian ace is now a half point behind. LevonAronian of Armenia is still in reckoning for the top slot with7 points in his kitty while Carlsen and Kramnik stand jointfourth on 6.5 points apiece.

In the remaining two rounds, Anand meets Anish Giri ofHolland and Nepomniachtchi and he can look up to a positivescore. Nakamura has his task cut out for his first super-eventvictory as he has Kramnik and Wang Hao as opponents in thelast two rounds.

Anand did not have much troubles but he could not quiteget the complications he was hoping for against Vachier.

Playing white the French GM went for a relative less-playedsetup in the Sicilian Najdorf and when Anand counteredsignificantly, went in to his shell to get a balanced end-gamewhich was drawn without much ado.

The Indian left the hall soon after the game but Vachierhung on. The Frenchman said he "was extremely satisfied" withhis draw against the World Champion.

"I decided to go for this line in order to avoid thewell-trodden path. I played a good game, managing to keep thebalance more or less until the end. It was a complicated andinteresting game and the draw was the logical outcome in theend."

Nakamura''s game was the pick of the day againstNepomniachtchi. It was a Caro Kann defence wherein theAmerican had to find some correct moves.

"I''m happy with the result," Nakamua said. "I played verywell today, but there''s two rounds left and I''m not quitethere yet. I play (Russia''s Vladimir) Kramnik on Saturday andhe is a former world champion and all that. But I''m notconcerned: I''m on form and I''ll have white."

Indian GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly suffered another defeat inthe ''B'' group at the hands of Luke McShane of England andremained on four points while in the ''C'' group WGM TaniaSachdev spoiled a winning endgame to sign peace with RoelandPruijssers of Holland.

It''s a four-way tie at the top in ''B'' group while DanieleVocaturo of Italy seems on course to for the title in the ''C''group with a 1.5 points lead over nearest rivals. MORE PTICORR KHS

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