Anand Snags Lead On Champions Showdown Day 2

Anand Snags Lead On Champions Showdown Day 2

| 5 | Chess Event Coverage

The second day of the 2016 Champions Showdown saw plenty of fireworks with two more classical rounds in the unusual time control of game in 60 minutes with a five-second delay.

All photos courtesy of the Saint Louis Chess Club.

Round 3

Veselin Topalov entered the day with the lead but quickly lost it after an opening catastrophe against Hikaru Nakamura. Nicknamed "The Gift" by commentators GM Yasser Seirawan, IM Tania Sachdev, and GM Alejandro Ramirez, the game saw Topalov mix up his move-order in a sharp Nimzo-Indian, blundering a full piece almost on the spot:

The other matchup saw Viswanathan Anand face off against Fabiano Caruana. An interesting pawn sacrifice by Caruana put Anand under some pressure, but Vishy found a way to exchange queens and neutralize most of Black's compensation. Then one mistake allowed Caruana to create just enough counterplay to hold. After the game, Vishy was a bit upset with his play, thinking he could have pressed much more with the extra pawn:

All smiles just a few minutes before "The Gift"!

Round 4

Some strategically fascinating positions occurred in round four, with both games earning the annotator's assessment of "all three results possible." Playing against a determined Nakamura, Vishy played a defensive gem, sacrificing an exchange in the style of Tigran Petrosian and outplaying Nakamura in the ensuing middlegame:

Caruana vs Topalov also featured an unusual opening leading to a double-edged middlegame with opposite-sides castling. The former FIDE World Champion outplayed the current U.S. Champion, achieving a near-decisive advantage, but he let it slip in the complications, eventually settling for a draw:

Scoring 1.5/2 allowed Vishy to overtake the lead with 2.5/4. Topalov and Nakamura trail close behind with 2.0/4 while Fabiano is still well within striking distance at 1.5/4.

A tense battle ended in a draw between Topalov and Caruana.

Tomorrow the players will play two more classical games followed by rapid on Sunday and Blitz on Monday. You can follow the games from the Champions Showdown starting at 1 p.m. CST each day.

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