Former world champion Viswanathan Anand played out a draw with overnight joint leader Hikaru Nakamura of United States in the seventh round of the Altibox Norway Chess tournament here. After a scintillating victory over Fabiano Caruana of United States in the previous round, Anand yet again showed great intent against Nakamura, but the American was quite up to the task in a keenly contested game. Levon Aronian of Armenia scored his third victory in the tournament at the expense of Sergey Karjakin of Russia to shot into sole lead for the first time in the event. Anish Giri of Holland too found Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France on the wrong foot and scored a fine victory. However, it was not Aronian's win or Giri's dismantling that hogged the limelight in the seventh round, the biggest news of the day was Magnus Carlsen's losing to Vladimir Kramnik of Russia. The loss proved costly as Kramnik came tantalisingly close to Carlsen on the live rating list. In fact just a little over six points separate the two, and a good result for him and a bad one for Carlsen could mean that the Norwegian will lose his top world ranking, which he has managed to hold on to since July 2011. The three decisive games made some changes in standings also as Aronian shot himself up to five points out of a possible seven and now enjoys a half point lead over Nakamura, who had been leading the tournament since the first day. Kramnik and Giri share the third spot on four points each, a half point ahead of Wesley So of United States while Anand, Karjakin and Caruana share the sixth spot with three points apiece. Generally when one is sharing a spot with Magnus Carlsen it is good news but currently it isn't as the world champion is sharing the last spot with the French star Vachier-Lagrave. "Surprisingly the Italian is one area where you can just say computers have revolutionised it, because it seems that we gave up way too early," Anand said after his draw with Nakamura. Indeed the Italian opening was the flavour of the day as not only the Indian ace but also Kramnik employed it to beat Carlsen.
Even Aronian defeated Karjakin when the Russian was playing with white, which meant a 50 per cent score for white in the opening in this round. "I wasn't sure if I was in control or I was losing the plot!," Anand noted during the post-mortem analysis. All three results were possible, but in the end the draw was a logical outcome. Anand will next take on new leader Aronian before crossing swords with Carlsen in the final round. Results round 7: V Anand (Ind, 3) drew with Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 4.5); Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 3) lost to Levon Aronian (Arm, 5); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 4) beat Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 2.5); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 2.5) lost to Anish Giri (Ned, 4); Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 3) drew with Wesley So (Usa, 3.5).
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