Baden-Baden, Germany: World champion Viswanathan Anand outplayed Daniel Fridman of Germany and jumped to joint lead after the 10th and penultimate round of Grenke Chess Classic here. Having missed out on a few promising positions, the Indian ace ensured a fine victory and took his tally to 5.5 points.
Anand's path to lead was aided by overnight leader Fabiano Caruana's will to fight in a level position against Michael Adams of England. While Adams turned out victorious after a gruelling battle, Caruana found himself sharing the lead with Anand who finally caught up.
With just one game to come, Adams and Georg Meier of Germany share the third spot with 4.5 points apiece while Arkaditsch Naiditsch, who lost to Meier, is now on the fifth spot with four points. Daniel Fridman is at the bottom on three points in the six-player double round-robin tournament.
In the final round now, Caruana has black pieces against Fridman while Anand will also play as black against Naiditsch, who has had seven decisive games out of a possible nine thus far. If both Anand and Caruana tie for the top spot, a tiebreaker will be played to determine the winner.
It turned out to be a good day in the office for Anand. Up against the Petroff defense, he came up with an improvement and had a brilliant follow-up his sleeves that caught Fridman completely off-guard. Though the world champion gave little away in the press conference, many pundits believed the entire idea was home-cooked.
As it happened in the game, Anand won a rook for a minor piece with some deft manoeuvres and the ensuing endgame offered little hopes for Fridman. The game could have ended sooner than 47 moves but Anand mentioned that he wanted to "just sit and hold it tight".
Caruana had been fishing in troubled waters for many days now and for once his opponent did not mess up the position. The Italian was offered a repetition on move 12 that he refused and fought for an advantage that did not come his way.
Adams was quick to spot a strategic error that left some weaknesses in white's position and worked his way to find some fine tactical tricks in the end. The game lasted 54 moves. Arkadij Naiditsch was tamed by compatriot Meier out of a Bogo Indian defense.
A calm opening gave Meier a minuscule advantage that he nurtured well. Naiditsch walked in to problems in the endgame and lost a rook for knight. The remaining technicalities were no problem for Meier who clinched the issue in 47 moves.