Baden Baden (Germany): World champion Viswanathan Anand notched up his first title of the year when he scored an emphatic victory over German Arkadij Naiditsch to lift the Grenke Chess Classic trophy here. In what turned out to be a nail-biting finish, Anand had to wait for Fabiano Caruana to go wrong once again as the Italian misplayed a highly promising position and drew with Daniel Fridman of Germany to give the Indian ace a clear victory.
"After Bilbao 2011 my big problem was getting interesting positions where I had chances. This year the new problem has been exploiting those chances...I've been gifting people half points," Anand said reflecting on his game at the post-tournament press conference.
"If it wasn't for that my results would be much better. Still, it's a hundred times better to have the second problem! I need to work on my technique," he added referring to the high number of draws that he has been playing out.
The other game of the final round between Michael Adams of England and Georg Meier of Germany also ended in a draw. The much-needed tournament victory for Anand came after a long time and it could serve as a perfect prelude to the World Championship match he is slated to play later this year.
The Indian finished with 6.5 points in all and ended half a point ahead of Caruana. Adams and Meier tied for the third spot with five points apiece while after another debacle, Naiditsch remained on four points for his fifth place finish. Despite playing solidly for the most part of the tournament, Fridman ended last on 3.5 points.
Anand opened with the Sicilian defense and repeated a line played in a famous 1999 game -- Kasparov versus the world. Naiditsch was the first to deviate from the game on his 14th turn and Anand sacrificed an exchange early in the opening in return for two pawns. Naiditsch went haywire after the exchange of queens and could not handle the complexities that remained.
It seemed, at least from the speed with which Naiditsch was playing, that he had a draw worked out, but Anand thought his opponent, "really underestimated the position".
"These rook endings are very, very tricky. You have to play them incredibly precisely," said Anand.
As it happened, Naiditsch made the fatal error and had no chances in the pawn race, from the look of his face the Germany was shell shocked when he resigned. Anand reflected on his improved form this year, remarking that his last reasonably successful tournament was Wijk aan Zee 2011, where he finished clear second behind Hikaru Nakamura of United States.
"After that basically I went over a cliff and the next five tournaments were pretty awful," he said.
Caruana had his task cut out after Anand won early and the Italian pressed hard for a win against Fridman. Despite getting a clear better position, Caruana was not able to find a forceful way to finish the game and Fridman fought well to hold a half point after 88 gruelling moves.
Michael Adams went for the King's Indian defense but got nothing against Meier and the draw was agreed to in a mere 31 moves.
Results final round: Arkadij Naiditsch (Ger, 4) lost to V Anand (Ind, 6.5); Michael Adams (Eng, 5) drew with Georg Meier (Ger, 5); Daniel Fridman (Ger, 3.5) drew with Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 6).
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