Awesome Anand takes huge stride forward

Chess Candidates' meet
Last Updated 23 March 2014, 17:16 IST

India’s Viswanathan Anand regained the sole lead with a sparkling victory over former challenger Veselin Topalov from Bulgaria in the ninth round of Candidates Chess tournament here on Sunday.

The hard-earned victory proved crucial for five-time World Champion Anand as he took his tally to six points out of a possible nine.

The pre-match predictions went for a toss in the ninth round as Shakhriayar Mamedyarov defeated top seed Levon Aronian of Armenia and Vladimir Kramnik suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Russian team-mate Sergey Karjakin. The other game between Russian duo of Dmitry Andreikin and Peter Svidler ended in a draw.

The unexpected set of results left Anand with a full one point lead over Aronian with five rounds to go. The Indian now is in a great position to come through the Candidates’ meet and set up a repeat clash against reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen.

Kramnik was joined by Karjakin and Mamedyarov on 4.5 points for joint third spot while Andreikin and Svidler are now joint sixth on four points apiece while Topalov is on the last spot on 3.5 points.

It was Anand’s day all the way. Up against Topalov’s pet Sicilian Najdorf, Anand did not give much away in the opening as white and retained a minuscule advantage as the game entered unchartered territories.

Topalov decided to go for exchanges at regular intervals while his position remained slightly worse and this was not a good strategy as Anand continued to exert pressure when the game reached queen and minor piece endgame.

The Indian picked up a pawn when Topalov erred and handled the remaining technicalities of the queen and pawns endgame in masterly fashion to script his third victory in the tournament.

Mamedyarov played the spoiler for Aronian and continued with his roller-coaster ride in the tournament. After blundering his way against Kramnik in the seventh round game when he mishandled a won position and lost, Mamedyarov made sure he held on to his own after attaining an advantage against Aronian who was out of sorts in this ninth round game.Mamedyarov won in 44 moves.
Results (round 9): Viswanathan Anand (Ind, 6) bt Veselin Topalov (Bul, 3.5); Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 4.5) bt Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 4.5); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 4.5) bt Levon Aronian (Arm, 5); Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 4) drew Peter Svidler (Rus, 4).

(Published 23 March 2014, 17:16 IST)

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