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Anand emerges champion

Mainz: Viswanathan Anand won the chess classic of Mainz for the fourth consecutive time, by taking an unbeatable lead against Alexey Shirov of Spain with a comfortable draw in the seventh of the eight-game match here on Sunday.

The draw came in 27 moves of a Ruy Lopez closed against Shirov, giving Anand a lead of 4.5-2.5 with one game to go.

This is Anandís third big title of the year. He had won the Dortmund title in Germany last week.

Anand has bagged the Corus Grandmasters title in Wijk Aan Zee in January.

In the past, Anand has beaten Vladimir Kramnik, Ruslan Ponomariov and Judit Polgar in one-on-one matches in Mainz.

In the seventh game, the Indian superstar had white but was hard-pressed to get the draw and the title with it with one game to spare.

Earlier in the sixth game last evening, he extended his lead over Shirov to take a 4-2 lead. He sealed his win with a draw in the seventh.

The third day once again saw two Ruy Lopez games, one each in closed and open variations. Out of the six games, the two players have been engaged in the Ruy Lopez five times, the only exception being the first game, a French Rubinstein.

As Shirov looked off colour Anand found the right combinations to crush the Latvia-born Spaniard in just 30 moves.

About the fourth game, Anand said he may have missed a chance. A win there would have sealed the match by now at 5-1.

Last year, Anand beat Judit Polgar in a tie-breaker after standing 4-4 in an exciting clash.

The crushing win in the sixth game left Shirov in a must-win situation in the remaining two games.

That was an uphill task for the Latvia-born Shirov.

Shirov, the author of bestseller Fire on Board, could not quite ignite the tactical complexities he was hoping for and was outclassed by Anand in all departments of the game.

In the Chess 960 match being organised simultaneously, Levan Aronian of Armenia held defending champion Peter Svidler of Russia twice to keep the scores level on 3-3 after six games on Saturday. (PTI)

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