Anand falters again, goes down to Aronian
After losing from an unclear position against world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the previous round, Anand appeared in fine fettle against Aronian and stood better when he let the position slip out of hands and lost rather meekly.
Carlsen meanwhile defeated lowest ranked David Baramidze of Germany in his typical style to join Arkadij Naiditsch of Germany in lead on 3.5 points out of his five games. Naiditsch played out a draw with Fabiano Caruana of Italy in this round while the other game of the day between Michael Adams of England and Etienne Bacrot of France also ended in a draw. With just two rounds to come in the eight-player round-robin tournament, Caruana holds the sole third position on three points while Aronian, Adams and Bacrot are joint fourth with 2.5 points apiece. Anand remained on 1.5 points following his second successive loss and is now on seventh spot, a half point ahead of Baramidze.
It was a day when lady luck kept Anand out of favour as he missed from a position of strength. The Indian ace, has been playing uncompromising chess for quite some time now and his choice of going for the Ragozin variation as black was another attestation to this. Aronian chose a line in which Carlsen beat him a few weeks back during the Tata Steel tournament in Wijk Aan Zee but Anand had worked on a very active plan that involved pushing his king side pawns. Aronian was surprised as black kept piling up the pressure with slow but consistent play and the Armenian was looking quite passive by move-22 itself.
However, Anand played a blunder on the very next move itself and the position turned upside-down in just a couple of moves. Aronian pocked a pawn on move 28 and Anand called it a day six moves later. Carlsen continued from where he had left the previous round. Up against the Brayer variation in the Ruy Lopez the Norwegian got the dynamic balance in the middle game and converted to a better endgame at the first opportunity. Baramidze was simply no match.
Etienne Bacrot outplayed Adams but was unable to finish the game in his favour. It was on the 55th turn that Bacrot missed a tactical stroke leading to a forced win and Adams bounced back in the game after parting with a pawn. The game was drawn in 65 moves. Naiditsch allowed the Marshall gambit as white and could not pose any serious problems for Caruana. The game was however fought till move 65 before the peace treaty was signed.
Results (round 5): Levon Aronian (Arm, 2.5) beat V Anand (Ind, 1.5); Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 3.5) beat David Baramidze (Ger, 1); Michael Adams (Eng, 2.5) drew with Etienne Bacrot (Fra, 2.5); Arkadij Naiditsch (Ger, 3.5) drew with Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 3).