Viswanathan Anand suffered a crucial loss in the 10th round of the Tata Steel Chess championship in Lieden to reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen in a hard-fought 76 move match. The loss meant that Carlsen, the current champion, was in sole lead in the tournament while Anand slipped to fifth spot. With just three rounds remaining, the former five-time world champion faces an uphill task to reclaim the top spot. To make things worse for Anand, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Anish Giri defeated Jorden Van Foreest and Vladimir Fedoseev respectively to surge in the table. Giri is currently in the second spot while Nepomniachtchi is in third spot along with Chinese Grandmaster Liren Ding and Anand.
Speaking after the end of the match which lasted close to seven hours, Carlsen admitted that he was spent, often struggling to figure the time spent. “It was a very tough day. Anish Giri won and that means I am only half a point ahead in the tournament so it is still open,” Carlsen said.
Anand and Carlsen’s rivalry started in 2013 and the five-time world champion relinquished his crown in Chennai when he suffered defeat. Carlsen and Anand squared off again in 2014 after the Indian Grandmaster had won the Candidates tournament but the Chennai player once again came up short. Since 2013, Carlsen has been the undisputed king of the chess world, defending his title in grand fashion, recently beating American Fabiano Caruana in the tie-breaker. Apart from classical chess, Carlsen also won the World Blitz Championship in Riyadh.
With Thursday being the final rest day in the Tata Steel Chess tournament, Anand will have a crucial three rounds, beginning against Poland Grandmaster Jan-Krzysztof Duda in the 11th round. The 12th round will be a crucial game against Liren while he will end the tournament against Vidit Gujrathi.
Gujrathi gave India plenty to cheer as he defeated former world champion Vladimir Kramnik in 29 moves to move to the seventh spot with five points from 10 games. Gujrathi will clash with Anand in the final round and the youngster has been impressive in the tournament, holding Carlsen, Giri and Liren to draws but his tournament was jolted when he lost to Teimour Radjabov and Nepomniachtchi in consecutive games.