Yet another draw for Anand in Final Masters

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Bilbao: World Champion Viswanathan Anand played out his sixth draw on the trot, signing peace with Francisco Vallejo Pons of Spain in round six of fifth Final Masters chess championship here.

The second leg of the championship, which got underway after a week’s break, was not expected to be very promising for Anand as he plays three black games out of five here and the trend continued as Vallejo Pons scored an easy draw.

For Anand, the soccer-like scoring system that gives three points for a win and one for a draw, only helped him to gather six points from as many games and a no-loss-no-win record is only becoming a deterrent for the world champion here.

Meanwhile, World number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway scored a much-needed victory over leader Fabiano Caruana of Italy to set the records straight. In the first leg at Sao Paulo in Brazil, Caruana, the leader, had got off to a flier defeating Carlsen in the opener and then registered two more wins to be in the lead.

In the other game of the day in the six-players double round-robin tournament, Sergey Karjakin of Russia drew with Levon Aronian of Armenia and the equation now suggests that the tournament is thrown wide open thanks to Carlsen’s magnificent victory. With four rounds still remaining, Caruana still stays in front on 11 points with Carlsen closely behind on nine points.

For the records, Aronian is now third on eight points while Anand remains fourth with his six points. The Indian is followed by the trailing duo of Vallejo Pons and Karjakin, who both have four points apiece from four draws.

For Anand the good things are yet to happen in the Final Masters. The World champion has not been at his best and it is clear that he has to find his best form. In the white game against Vallejo Pons at Sao Paulo, Anand had found a complicated position but in the return game, the Spaniard gave no chances when he played with his favourable colour.

Anand went for the Arkhengelsk variation in the Ruy Lopez and faced no difficulties. Just that Vallejo Pons could not pose any and the exchange of pieces forced the position to drift out to a drawn rook and pawns endgame in almost no time.

The peace was signed in just 39 moves.

The Indian ace is expected to fire when he has white games in the tournament and even though the point gap looks more, a couple of victories can bridge the gap very soon.

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