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Anand beats Karpov to join leading pack

Wijk Aan Zee (The Netherlands): World Cup champion Viswanathan Anand regained joint lead with a crushing victory against former world champion Anatoly Karpov of Russia in the fifth round of 65th Corus chess tournament Friday.

Latvia-born Spaniard Alexei Shirov ripped apart the defences of BrainGames champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and joined Anand and No. 1 WGM Judit Polgar at the top with 3.5 points.

Following the three are Dutch GM Loek Van Wely and Evgeny Bareev of Russia on three points each while Kramnik, GM Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine and GM Alexander Grischuk of Russia are on 2.5.

In the Grandmaster B tournament, former world junior girls champion Koneru Humpy was outwitted by top seeded Zhang Zhong of China in a long drawn game.

Zhong (4.5 points) maintained his sole lead with the victory. The high point of this section was the victory of 15-year-old local hope Daniel Stellwagen, who beat GM Arkadij Naiditsch of Germany. An International Master, Stellwagen (four points) is now in run for a GM norm.

Anand, playing white, maintained the edge he had enjoyed against the Russian GM over the years. The Indian GM opened with the king pawn in the sharpest advance variation and faced the Caro Kann that has been serving Karpov well.

In a tight middle-game, Karpov sacrificed a piece for three pawns in the initial stage and threatened to roll down the pawns with Anandís king left in an open position. Once the dust settled down a bit, Anand made steady but definite progress on both flanks. On the 27th move the queens got traded and thereafter Anand gave little respite to Karpov. On the 44th move, Karpov finally surrendered.

However, Anandís triumph was overshadowed to some extent by Shirovís win over Kramnik. It was Kramnikís second loss of the tournament, the earlier defeat being against world champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine in the second round.

Shirov, the only player to trouble Kramnik repeatedly with his tactical acumen, was too good on the day. Playing white, he faced the Sicilian Sveshnikov that has been revived by Kramnik in the past few years.

Kramnik came out of the opening with a dynamically balanced middle game. But as the match progressed the Russian missed the thread of the position, blundered a pawn and lost rather tamely in the end in the 44th move.

Wely accounted for Bulagrian GM Veselin Topalov while the youngest participant in the fray, Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan got the better of Dutch Jan Timman, who misplayed a roughly level endgame.

Overnight leader Polgar achieved nothing with her white pieces against Ivanchuk and opted for a draw in the middle game out of an English opening.

Grischuk drew a well-contested game against Ponomariov while Polish GM Michael Krasenkow and Bareev also finished on level terms. (PTI)

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