Bilbao: It went from bad to worse for world Champion Viswanathan Anand as he suffered a shocking loss at the hands of Norwegian Magnus Carlsen in the ninth and penultimate round of fifth Final Chess Masters here.
Having drawn the first eight games in the tournament, Anand was expected to hold fort against Carlsen but the Indian ace cracked under pressure and went on to lose his first game in the tournament.
The loss has not only cost him valuable rating points but also put Anand in an unthinkable fifth spot in the six-player double round-robin tournament.
Having drawn the first eight games, Anand was expected to hold fort against Carlsen but the Indian ace cracked under pressure.
On what turned out to be the most exciting day of the event, Italian Fabiano Caruana punished Armenian Levon Aronian for an over-ambitious approach while local hopeful Francisco Vallejo Pons slipped from another highly promising position and went down to Sergey Karjakin of Russia.
With just one round to go, it's Carlsen against Caruana for the top spot as they continue to share the lead on 16 points under the soccer-like scoring system that gives three points for a win and one for draw.
These two are followed by Aronian on 10 points while Karjakin now stands fourth -- a point behind the Armenian. Anand with eight points, is on fifth spot, three points ahead of Vallejo Pons.
It turned out to be an utterly forgettable day in office for Anand in the Sokolsky variation that Carlsen played against his Sicilian defense. The opening was quite peaceful and Anand maintained the balance but in the middle game his position collapsed in very quick time.