World Champion Viswanathan Anand, an 11-time winner in Mainz, bowed out before the finals at a venue which has become synonymous with his name.
Anand lost two of his first three games and ended third in the four-man event, which is now called the Grenkeleasing World Rapid Chess championship in the Rheingoldhalle in Mainz. Anand had won the title every year in Mainz since Kasparov last won it in 1999.
The 11-time winner here, Anand scored 2.5 points while the top place went to Levon Aronian of Armenia and Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia finished second.
“I think the two people who deserved to qualify, qualified. That’s life. If you play badly, you get punished,” Anand said in the press conference.
Having lost two of the first three games, Anand needed exceptional results with some luck to make it to the finals. And even though he tried hard, the lady luck did not smile on the world champion. Arkadij Naiditsch of Germany, the only player Anand beat, finished at the bottom of the tables in the prelims.
Anand’s chances of making it to the finals depended on his winning the first game of the second day. But playing with Black against Aronian in the fourth round and the first game of the day, Anand opted for the Grunfeld and got an almost equal position after the opening. In the endgame, Aronian had a passed pawn on the queen side and could have played for a win but defended well and got a draw.
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