Anand survives Giri scare; remains in second spot

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From Our Chess Correspondent

Wijk Aan Zee (The Netherlands), Jan 30 (PTI) Worldchampion Viswanathan Anand survived a scare against youngAnish Giri of Holland before salvaging a draw in the 12th andpenultimate round of the 73rd Tata Steel Chess tournamenthere.

In Group ''A'', the Nepalese-Russian Giri came close todefeating the world champion with black pieces but Anandsomehow managed to pose enough problems in his opponent''spath, which is typical when the Indian ace is defending.

The drawn result, however, find Anand half a point behindleader Hikaru Nakamura of the United States, who also splitpoints against former world champion Vladimir Kramnik ofRussia in his 12th round encounter.

With just one round remaining in the category-20 supertournament, Nakamura tops the leaderboard on 8.5 points whileAnand is close behind on eight points.

In other matches, Magnus Carlsen defeated Wang Hao ofChina to share the third place with Levon Aronian of Armeniaon 7.5 points while Kramnik slipped to fifth spot with sevenpoints.

In the final round, Anand will have black against IanNepomniachtchi of Russia while Nakamura will play with thesame colour against Wang Hao.

Giri went for a Semi Slav against Anand that left theIndian in real problems.

The opening saw young Giri, 16, coming up with a Noveltyearly in the game and Anand with his nonchalant play, got anoptical advantage with routine manoeuvres.

It was clear from the moves in the middle game that Giriunderstood what he was up to. Anand ran a little short of timecomparatively and had to find some really fine defence afterthe first time control.

"I wasn''t happy with my play. I just drifted, making amove according to one plan and then another in line with adifferent one. I had the feeling I was losing, although therewas never anything concrete," Anand told reporters after the50-move draw.

Against Kramnik, Nakamura decided against taking any riskand drew quickly that probably put a bit of pressure on Anandto catch up.

The American sounded confident about the last roundagainst Wang Hao.

"Tomorrow, I have black against Wang Hao. At least, he''snot Kramnik. So I''ll have some chances in the final round,"Nakamura said.

Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly finally managed a winat the expense of top seed Radoslav Wojtaszek of Poland in the''B'' group. .

Both Ganguly and Wojtaszek have worked for Anand as second in the last two world championship and the victory wasimmensely satisfying for the Indian.

The ''B'' group is headed for a tense finish as the twoleaders Luke McShane of England and David Navara of CzechRepublic take on each other in the final round.

India''s Tania Sachdev seems poised for an improved finishin the ''C'' group after a well-played victory against Mark VanDer Werf of Holland.

With 6.5 points in her kitty, Tania has defied all oddsto perform way above her last seeding in the 14-playerstournament.

The situation here is as tense as the ''B'' group as leaderDaniele Vocaturo of Italy meets 14-year-old Illya Nyzhnyk ofUkraine in the showdown for the title in the last round.

Results after round 12 Group ''A'': Viswanathan Anand (IND,8) drew with Anish Giri (NED, 6); Ruslan Ponomariov (UKR, 6)drew with Alexei Shirov (ESP, 3.5); Erwin l''Ami (NED, 4) drewwith Levon Aronian (ARM, 7.5); Jan Smeets (NED, 4) lost toAlexander Grischuk (RUS, 4.5); Magnus Carlsen (NOR, 7.5) beatWang Hao (CHN, 5.5); Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 8.5) drew withVladimir Kramnik (RUS, 7); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA, 7)beat Ian Nepomniachtchi (RUS, 5.5).

Group ''B'': Laurent Fressinet (FRA, 5) beat Li Chao (CHN,5); Vladislav Tkachiev (FRA, 7) beat Wouter Spoelman (NED, 4);Friso Nijboer (NED, 3.5) lost to David Navara (CZE, 8); LukeMcShane (ENG, 8) beat Wesley So (PHI, 7); Radoslav Wojtaszek(POL, 6) lost to SS Ganguly (IND, 5); Le Quang Liem (VIE, 7)drew with Zahar Efimenko (UKR, 7.5); Gabriel Sargissian (ARM,7) drew with Jon Ludvig Hammer (NOR, 4).

Group ''C'': Benjamin Bok (NED, 6) beat Roeland Pruijssers(NED, 4); Mark van der Werf (NED, 4) lost to Tania Sachdev(IND, 6.5); Sebastian Siebrecht (GER, 4.5) lost to MarkBluvshtein (CAN, 6.5); Ivan Ivanisevic (SRB, 7.5) beat JW deJong (NED, 4); Kateryna Lahno (FRA, 7) drew with MurtasKazhgaleyev (KAZ, 6.5); Dariusz Swiercz (POL, 7) beat DanieleVocaturo (ITA, 8.5); Illya Nyzhnyk (UKR, 8) beat Robin vanKampen (NED, 4).

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