India’s Viswanathan Anand played out an easy draw with Alexander Grischuk of Russia, while Norwegian Magnus Carlsen raced ahead with a crushing win over out-of-sorts Dutchman Anish Giri in the seventh round of Shamkir chess tournament in Shamkir.
Having lost to Sergey Karjakin of Russia in the previous round, Anand’s chances to catch up with Carlsen at the top have now almost evaporated as the reigning world champion is now 1.5 points ahead of the Indian with just two rounds to go in the category-22 event.
The other games in the ten-player round-robin tournament ended in draws.
Bulgarian Veselin Topalov split the point with Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan, while the other local star Shakhriyar Mamedyarov also signed peace with Ding Liren of China. David Navara of Czech Republic shared the point with Karjakin.
Carlsen, on five points, is looking good for his fourth title here and he is now followed by Karjakin on 4.5 points.
Anand is still joint third on 3.5 points, sharing it with Grischuk, Topalov, Radjabov, Navara and Ding Liren.
Mamedyarov is on the ninth spot on 2.5 points, while Giri is now sole last on just two points.
Anand did not get much from a heavily analysed Anti-Berlin as white and pieces changed hands at regular intervals.
The players arrived at a rook and opposite coloured Bishop endgame where Anand had an extra pawn but not much of use. The game was soon drawn.
Carlsen played like a man possessed and crashed through the defenses of Anish Giri in some original style.
Giri opted for a variation favored by Fabiano Caruana of United States in the last world championship match against Carlsen and the middle game saw the Norwegian sacrificing a pawn to get a kingside attack.
Giri fell under pressure and never recovered. The game lasted 38 moves.
Results round 6: V Anand (Ind, 3.5) drew with Alexander Grischuk (Rus, 3.5); Teimour Radjabov (Aze, 3.5) drew with Veselin Topalov (Bul, 3.5); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 2.5) drew with Ding Liren (Chn, 3.5) Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 5) beat Anish Giri (Ned, 2);
David Navara (Cze, 3.5); drew with Teimour Radjabov (Aze, 3.5).