Zurich: World champion Viswanathan Anand capitalised on a blunder by Vladimir Kramnik of Russia to beat him in the final round and finish second in the Zurich Chess Challenge that concluded here. The Indian ace was under pressure to come back to a 50 per cent score after losing to Fabiano Caruana of Italy in the fourth round and got lucky when Kramnik had a rare oversight resulting in a full point and the first victory for the world champion in the tournament.
Caruana, meanwhile, deservedly won the tournament finishing on a high with a fine victory over Boris Gelfand of Israel in his last round game. The Italian finished with a very impressive tally of four points out of a possible six in the four-player double round-robin tournament. Anand finished sole second with one win, a loss and four draws tallying three points in all. That he left the field a full point behind speaks volumes about the talent of Caruana who is sure to find his way back in the top ten of world rankings after an excellent performance here.
Kramnik and Gelfand ran out of steam in the last round and finished with identical 2.5 points apiece to tie for the third spot. Kramnik was apparently pushing for more in the last round against Anand while Gelfand was outdone in a long drawn endgame. Anand declined the main line of the Berlin defense making it clear that it was game on against his 2008 World Championship rival.
The middle game had typical nuances of an exchange Ruy Lopez but Kramnik was not worse in any case. Anand hung in there with some correct manoeuvres and Kramnik could have drawn on move 20 if he wanted. However, on move 21, the Russian came up with an inexplicable blunder. In order to maintain queens on board, Kramnik made the fatal error that cost him heavy material damage in just a couple of moves thereafter. Anand won in 27 moves.
Caruana gave Gelfand a taste of his own medicine in the Catalan opening. The opening moves were played out at brisk pace and the Italian got a small but lasting advantage. What followed was simply a treat for the fans of technical chess as Caruana first won a pawn and then showed his class winning the endgame despite pawns remaining only on the king side. Gelfand resigned on move 58. Results final round: V Anand (Ind, 3) beat Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 2.5); Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 4) beat Boris Gelfand (Isr, 2.5).
Can Anand continue with his good form?