Viswanathan Anand crushes Levon Aronian to jump to joint lead

Viswanathan Anand

Champion Viswanathan Anand scored an emphatic victory over world number two Levon Aronian of Armenia to jump to joint lead with two others after the fourth round of the Tata Steel chess tournament, here.

Having gone through a rough patch in the past seven months since winning the world championship match last May, this is a big recovery for Anand in the early stages of the first super tournament of the year and the way it came left all chess buffs awestruck. World number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Russian Sergey Karjakin now share the lead with Anand on three points with the former extending his winning streak at the expense of P Harikrishna while the latter was lucky to escape with a draw against American Hikaru Nakamura.

After a little lull in the first three rounds the day produced as many as five decisive games. Italian Fabiano Caruana defeated Ivan Sokolov of Holland, Dutchman Loek van Wely won against compatriot Erwin L¿Ami while the all-Chinese duel between Wang Hao and Yifan Hou ended in favour of the former.

In the other game of the day, local star Anish Giri signed peace with Hungarian Peter Leko. With nine rounds still to come in the category-20 super tournament between 14 players, the three leaders enjoy a full point lead over Leko, Wang Hao, Nakamura, Harikrishna, Caruana and van Wely who all have two points each.

Another half a point adrift are Aronian, Giri, L¿Ami and Sokolov while former women¿s world champion Yifan Hou is at the bottom of standings with one point to her credit. Anand went for the Slav defense and caught Aronian unawares in one of the deeply analysed variation. "I had prepared this variation for Boris (Gelfand) for the match but I had to remember a lot of variations," Anand said after the game.

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