Former world champion Viswanathan Anand suffered a disappointing final round loss against Sergey Karjakin of Russia to finish joint eighth in the St Louis Rapid Chess tournament. After raising visions of a good finish, luck did not favour Grandmaster Anand much on the final day as he was first held to a draw by Le Quang Liem of Vietnam in the seventh round and then shared points with Fabiano Caruana of United States in the penultimate round.
The Indian ace ended on seven points, coming through one win, five draws and two losses in the event that gave two points for a win and one for a draw.
Levon Aronian of Armenia topped the rapid section with 12 points in all. On the final day, Aronian scored two good wins and a solitary draw.
The American duo of Hikaru Nakamura and Caruana were right behind Aronian on 11 points each and Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi was fourth on 10 points. Lenier Dominguez of Cuba was right behind on nine points.
Le Quang Liem and Sergey Karjakin shared the sixth spot on eight points each while Anand, Garry Kasparov and Navara David of Czech Republic share the eighth position.
The event is still only half way through as the players will change gears again and play the blitz that will have eighteen games in all and the winner in the USD 150000 prize money tournament will be decided by the cumulative score.
For Anand, the road ahead looks difficult but things can still turn around if he can start off with a few wins in the blitz. A five-point margin is huge and the turnaround can only happen with some massive scoring by Anand.
Garry Kasparov was again the big news of the day simply with his presence. However, Kasparov, once the best player on the planet, could not keep pace with clock or pressure and lost two games besides getting lucky and winning one against Leim.
It was a heartbreak for the yesteryear champion as he simply lost from a won endgame through a super-trick from David Navara in the first game of the day. Le Quang Liem dropped a rook in the next game from a playable position to give Kasparov his only victory in the event thus far while Caruana proved stronger in what was a tricky endgame in the final round.
Standings after Rapid: 1. Levon Aronian (Arm, 12); 2-3: Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura (both USA) 11 each; 4. Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus, 8); 5. Lenier Dominguez (Cub, 9); 6-7. Sergey Karjakin (Rus), Le Quang Liem (Vie) 8 each; 8-10: Garry Kasparov (Rus), V Anand (Ind), David Navara (Cze) 7 each.