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Anand beats Carlsen, gets top-five finish

Win after losing to Giri and a draw with Hao Wang
Vishwanathan Anand
Vishwanathan Anand
File Photo

The Telegraph   |   Published 01.06.22, 01:44 AM

Chess ace Viswanathan Anand outplayed Magnus Carlsen in Round VII of the blitz event of the Norway Chess on way to a fourth-place finish.

The former world champion, however, suffered defeats to Anish Giri (the Netherlands) and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France) in the fourth and ninth rounds, respectively, to finish with five points in the 10-player blitz event in Stavenger early on Tuesday.

American Wesley So, who notched up five wins in a row, including Carlsen scalp, won the blitz opener by a full point (6.5 points) and became the top seed for the main event. Despite the loss to Anand, Carlsen took second place. Anand, Giri and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov were the other players to finish in the top half.

Anand started with a win over Aryan Tari (Norway) in the blitz before drawing with So in Round II. He posted a victory over veteran Veselin Topalov in the third round before sharing the point with Teimur Radjabov.       

After a loss to Giri and a draw with Hao Wang (China), Anand scored over Carlsen. However, the draw against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, followed by the loss to Vachier-Lagrave, put paid to his chances of a high finish after having started with 2.5 points from the first three rounds.

Anand’s win over Carlsen comes close on the heels of compatriot and teen sensation R. Praggnandhaa defeating the Norwegian world champion in an online blitz tournament recently.

With the win, So earned the right to pick his starting number for the classical event.

In Norway Chess, the players battle for the starting number, which means that the players finishing from first to fifth in blitz will get five games with the white pieces in the classical tournament, while the five lowest-ranked players will have to settle for four games with white.

After his win over Carlsen, So said: “Big shout-out to Magnus for having the courage to play 1.a4...I just played normal chess. After he played a4 actually it turned out to be useful because he just played normal chess after that.”

(Written with inputs from PTI)

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