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Anand beats Ponomariov in first round

Linares: Viswanathan Anand beat world champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine in a first round of the 20th Linares Super Grandmasters chess tournament Sunday.

But the much-awaited Garri Kasparov-Vladimir Kramnik clash turned out to be a damp squib, petering down to a draw in 18 moves. In another game, Hungarian Peter Leko gave a tactical lesson to rookie Teimour Radjabov en route to securing the full point.

Playing white, Anand was at his technical best while crushing Ponomariov. The ‘speed king’ was remorseless once he got the upper hand and won in 64 moves. The win was just another attestation of his superlative form which won him the prestigious Corus title last month.

After a beating in the Sicilian Defence in Corus at the hands of Anand, Ponomariov appeared in no mood to try for any complicated position. The Ukrainian, the youngest ever world champion, instead went for something profound — the Berlin Defence which had troubled Anand a bit in his game against Polish GM Michal Krasenkow in their last encounter.

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