| Anand: ‘It didn’t come easy’
Hyderabad: Viswanathan Anand reasserted his supremacy as he brushed aside Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan to win the World Cup chess tournament for the second time running Sunday.
The 33-year-old GM, who had settled for a draw in the first of the two-game final, won his second game in 29 moves to register a 1.5-0.5 victory and walk away with the trophy and $46,000 prize money.
In the women’s section, Xu Yuhua of China defended her title defeating Antoneta Stafenova of Bulgaria by a similar margin. Yuhua won her second game in 31 moves and was richer by $16,000.
Playing with white pieces, Anand adopted the ‘e4’ opening to which Kasimdzhanov replied with a Petroff line of defence.
The game progressed on expected lines before Anand outwitted his opponent with brilliant tactical manoeuvres, forcing him to resign.
“I played the game well as I had done on the earlier two days,” Anand, who had defeated Kasimdzhanov in the league rounds, said after the match. Anand opened the ‘e’ file and both players tried to take control of the line. The Indian sharpened his attack to gain positional advantage and enough space for movement of pieces.
Confining the opponent’s king and rook to the back squares, Anand manoeuvred his pieces and pawns with skill and threatened a mate with his powerful bishop when Kasimdzhanov resigned.
“It’s good to win the title again, but it did not come that easy,” the champion added. He, however, disagreed that the absence of Garri Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik had left the field very weak. “They were busy. But it was not an easy tournament by any means,” he said.
Meanwhile, the women’s final proved to be a stormy session with both players fighting a bitter battle for supremacy. Xu Yuhua, playing white, opted for the king pawn opening and Antoneta went for the Ruy Lopez defence.
Yuhua, who had been defeated by Antoneta in the league phase, attacked the kingside with full vigour and succeeded in ripping open the pawn structure to expose her opponent’s king.
Yuhua cornered her opponent’s king and threatened to mate the game with the galloping knight when Antoneta, with an Elo rating of 2541, resigned with her king having no space to move. “I played a superior and tactical game against a strong opponent,” Yuhua said.