Mainz: Viswanathan Anand suffered a shocking defeat at the hands of Grandmaster Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan in the second game of the Grenkeleasing Rapid World Championship at the main event of chess classic.
After the first game ended in a draw, Anand, the world rapid champion, missed out on some promising continuations in the middle game and in the end went down fighting against his younger opponent for whom this was a first victory over Anand in a rapid chess game.
The Azerbaijani now leads 1.5-0.5 in this eight-game match.
The four-day main event also saw chess960 world champion Peter Svidler struggling to defend his title as he lost both games of the opening day against World Cup champion Levon Aronian of Armenia.
Chess960 is a variant of the game in which the position of the pieces are randomly shuffled before the start of the game.
On Thursday, Harikrishna became the junior champion in this variant of the game by defeating Arkadij Naiditsch of Germany 4.5-3.5 in the 8-game match.
For Anand, who is looking for his sixth straight title here, the first day turned out to be quite tough as Radjabov matched him in style despite being a couple of pawns less in the second game.
Earlier, the two played out a semi-Slav defense wherein Radjabov, white, went for an in-vogue variation to complicate matters.
Anand apparently had things under control when he successfully traded of queen and emerged with two extra pawns. Even though his position remained a bit passive, it was widely felt that Anand would end up a winner.
However, as the events unfolded, Radjabov carried out his counterplay in a striking fashion and it was almost curtains for Anand once the Azerbaijani successfully penetrated the seventh rank with his rook.
Losing a piece to a dangerously poised pawn of white, Anand resigned on his 46th turn.
“I certainly had a very promising or even winning position. When I get to my room, I will check the game on the computer, which will probably show some promising lines”, Anand said after the loss.
Earlier in the first game of the match, Anand played the white side of a Sicilian Sveshnikov but could do little as Radjabov neutralised white’s initiative with awesome ease in one of the positional variations.
Playing energetically on the queenside, Radjabov won one pawn but the closed structure helped Anand maintain the balance with some timely exchanges. The peace was signed after 34 moves.
Anand recently dropped out of the elite 2800 Elo club after a below-par performance in Chess Olympiad.
The fall shattered Anand’s chances of claiming the world No. 1 rank but has still been able to maintain his second place in the Fide ratings.
Anand, who had reached the dream mark in the previous list in April after winning the Corus title for a record fifth time, ended up with a debit of a whopping 24 points to slip to Elo 2779 from 2803. World No. 1 Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria further improved his ratings by nine points to reach Elo 2813 and increase the gap between him and Anand.
Among other Indians, P. Harikrishna is placed 25th with the Elo 2682 followed by K. Sasikiran with Elo 2681. Harikirshna is second in the juniors' list behind Radjabov Teimour of Azerbaijan.