Anand outplays Topalov with black pieces

Last Updated 22 October 2010, 17:07 IST

Anand, who had beaten Topalov in last World Championship in the homeground of the latter, was at his best in finding resources with black pieces and then capitalised on his initiative to cruise home for his first victory in the event.

Magnus Carlsen of Norway, meanwhile, remained atop the table with a crushing victory over local hopeful Wang Yue. Backed by his second victory in the tournament, Carlsen took his tally to 2.5 points in all out of a possible three.

Anand took the second spot solely now on two points while Etienne Bacrot of France is occupying the third position with 1.5 points in his kitty. In the other game of the third round of this six-player double round-robin event, Bacrot defeated Vugar Gashimov of Azerbaijan.

With seven rounds still remaining, Topalov, Gashimov and Wang Yue are tied for the fourth spot with one point each, having drawn two and lost one game apiece. The ghosts of the last World Championship, where Topalov lost with white in the 12th and final game of the match, came back to haunt the Bulgarian as Anand psychologically went for the same Lasker defence that had helped him get the title.

A victory with black is usually always special at top level chess. Especially so, when it comes the way Anand won. The Indian came up with a new move on the 16th turn which was apparently the fruition of the homework he had done for the match against Topalov.

In the ensuing middle game, Anand was saddled with a backward pawn on the queen side but his piece-activity compensated for that a great deal as Topalov could not find time to take his king away from the dangers lying ahead.

With clinical precision, Anand exchanged all the minor pieces and a set of rooks to launch his final assault against which Topalov was helpless. Dragging the white king out to the fourth rank, Anand won in just 33 moves.

If Anand was at his technical best, Carlsen was in a killing mood against Wang. The Norwegian has been off-form for the last two events he played but here he is again at his very best.

Wang Yue employed the usually solid Petroff defence but his strategy of playing a less played variation did not come good. Carlsen was able to dismantle black's castling rights early in the opening and after that Wang went for an illusionary attack, a double piece sacrifice for a rook that did not materialise.

(Published 22 October 2010, 11:52 IST)

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