Viswanathan Anand played out a straightforward draw as black with Hungary’s Richard Rapport to continue being in the joint lead on six points after the end of the ninth round of the Tata Steel Masters chess tournament.
Anand tackled his first of the two back-to-back black games in a row with relative comfort. The Grandmaster possessed a level position on the board for the major part.
As a result of this, Anand is now in a three-way tie with four more rounds remaining in the first super tournament of 2019.
Russia Ian Nepomniachtchi joined Anand and Norway’s world champion Magnus Carlsen in the lead following a fine win over Indian Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi. China’s Ding Liren played out a draw with tailender Vladimir Kramnik as well to be placed as the joint fourth alongside Anish Giri of the Netherlands. The later was held to a thrilling draw by fellow compatriot Jorden Van Foreest.
Meanwhile, Teimour Radjabov faced a disappointing slip against fellow Russian Vladimir Fedoseev. With the result, both are now at a 50 percent score with Poland’s Duda Jan Krzysztof.
For Anand, the one thing that is working in his favour is the Queen’s gambit declined with the ninth round was no different.
Rapport tried to trick in a variation that leads to early endgame and it was no surprise that the queens got traded as early as the 8th move.
The decision of Rapport to trade queens led to a minimal advantage and that was the same story for the rest of the game. Although the Hungarian is renowned for his uncompromising approach towards chess, the aura of Anand has the power of baffling even the greatest of players in the chequered squares.
By the end, the players agreed over a draw both of them reached a rook and opposite coloured bishops endgame.
However easy this round was, Anand will not expect the same from the following round as he will lock horns with Carlsen Magnus, who will play with the white pieces.
The odds of Anand winning will reduce significantly if he manages to hold Carlsen since he will have two white games to bank on in the next three rounds.
— rizal shidiq (@rizalshidiq) January 23, 2019
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