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Anand wins Leon Masters for the 10th time

The format featured four players with his compatriot Arjun Erigaise, the world number four, as the fourth seed and Bulgarian Veselin Topalov being the other two players in the tournament.
Last Updated : 01 July 2024, 09:50 IST

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Leon: Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand proved his mettle once again and defeated Spaniard Jaime Santos Latasa 3-1 in the finals to win the Leon Masters for a 10th time here.

The 54-year-old Anand, who lived in Spain for many years before shifting his base back to Chennai, proved yet again that this was one of his favourite hunting grounds. It was in 1996, or 28 years back, that Anand won his first title here.

The format featured four players with his compatriot Arjun Erigaise, the world number four, as the fourth seed and Bulgarian Veselin Topalov being the other two players in the tournament.

Each round featured four games of 20 minutes each with a 10-second increment after every move.

Arjun had lost to Santos Latasa in the second semifinals by a score of 1.5-2.5 which was considered a sensational victory for the latter given the vast difference in the ratings.

Earlier in the first semifinal, the legendary duel between Topalov and Anand had ended in favour of the Indian who won the third game before drawing the remaining three.

Though the scoreline suggests otherwise, Anand conceded that it was not so easy.

Santos Latasa pushed hard in the first game and in the second too, he had an extra pawn in a complicated game that ended in a draw.

Anand won the third game with black pieces out of an Italian opening. It was a balanced middle game wherein Anand was pleasantly surprised as the Spaniard went for a wrong trade that cost him two pieces for a rook and a couple of pawns.

The technical genius in Anand was soon at work as he kept on creating problems that became increasingly difficult to solve for his opponent. The game lasted 45 moves.

Santos Latasa faced an unpleasant task of winning on demand as black in the final game.

This is something that even the best in the world would not feel comfortable with and Anand got a fine position after trading the Queens early out of a Rossolimo opening.

Latasa kept looking for complications but Anand was determined and it was all over in 37 moves.

Results: Semifinals: V Anand beat Veselin Topalov 2.5-1.5; Arjun Erigaise lost to Jaime Santos Latasa 1.5-2.5.

Final: V Anand beat Jaime Santos Latasa 3-1.

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Published 01 July 2024, 09:50 IST

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