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Anand outwits Wely, now joint second

Monte Carlo: Viswanathan Anand outclassed Loek van Wely of Holland to move to joint second position in the 12th Amber blindfold and rapid chess tournament Monday.

Playing white, Anand gave a lesson in positional play to the Dutchman in the blindfold category. Opening the game with the king pawn, he used the closed Sicilian variation to the fullest to get the better of Wely.

The Indian ace got excellent advantage with his queenside pawn majority after the trade-off of queens on the 20th move and slowly worked his way to win a pawn on the 33rd. The Dutchman was unable to put up a show and resigned on the 39th move.

However, Wely fought hard in the rapid variety pressing for an advantage in the middle game arising from the Queens Indian defence.

Anand, on the defensive, put up a brave show and steered the game to a level rook and pawns endgame, where a draw was agreed on the 72nd move, thus outclassing Wely overall by 1.5-0.5.

In other games, Peter Leko of Hungary humbled Spaniard Alexei Shirov 2-0 to emerge sole leader with 3.5 point from four games played so far.

Alongwith Anand, Vladimir Kramnik and Evgeny Bareev (both Russia), Boris Gelfand (Israel) and Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine) share second spot.

In the category standings, Anand ranks joint fifth in the rapid variety, considered to be his forte. The group is led by rapid defending champion Alexander Morozevich of Russia.

In the blindfold category, the Indian is fourth, while Leko, Kramnik and Ivanchuk with two points each are joint leaders.

Leko, who is in top form after his maiden title at Linares turned the tables on Shirov from a rather innocuous looking position in the blindfold game and grabbed a full point in the rapid variety with some fine technique.

The day’s most interesting game was played between Kramnik and Topalov, which the former won in style.

After a Sicilian opening, Kramnik playing white in the blindfold, steered the game to a peculiar position where Topalov found himself with an extra piece in the endgame, but mate on his king was inevitable.

Kramnik drew the rapid game after an intense struggle.

Overall positions

Leko 3.5; Anand, Kramnik, Gelfand, Bareev, Ivanchuk 2.5 each; Morozevich, Topalov 2 each; Van Wely 1.5; Ljubojevic, Almasi 1 each; Shirov 0.5.

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