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Kramnik moves closer to semis

Cap D’agde: BrainGames match winner Vladimir Kramnik of Russia took a step forward to march into the semi-finals of the world rapid chess championship with a 38-move victory over world’s strongest woman player Judit Polgar of Hungary in the first game of the two-game quarter finals that concluded here.

If Kramnik’s form in the first game was any indication, he appears set to sail into the last four stage, although Judit is considered a great fighter under trying circumstances.

Earlier, Viswanathan Anand stormed into the quarter finals with a victory over former world champion Anatoly Karpov of Russia in the seventh and final round game of the league phase which concluded on Sunday (as reported in Monday’s Late City edition).

Steely nerves and tremendous energy well complemented by power play and superior endgame skills brought Anand success as he bounced back after facing the threat of being eliminated. Against Karpov, it was a Queen’s Indian where Anand, playing black, equalised quite comfortably in the queen less middlegame but, apparently, was almost on the ropes in the ensuing rook and pawns endgame. Anand is slated to take on his World Championship successor Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine in the quarter finals.

Meanwhile, Kramnik was in top form and he outplayed Polgar in all departments. The game begun with a Queen’s Indian and took shape in a sharp tactical battle as Kramnik launched a direct attack against the king with a fine pawn sacrifice as early as on move 8. (PTI)

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