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Anand in sole lead

London: Former world champion Viswanathan Anand continued with his winning ways and scored a second victory against Luke McShane of England to secure a commanding lead in the preliminary round of the London Chess Classic in progress here at the Olympia.

On what turned out to be another fine day, Anand came up with some brilliant planning to score two back-to-back victories after earlier crushing Andrei Istratescu of France in the third round game and sealed his place in the knockout stage of the Classic this year reserved for the top two finishers.

With two games still to come in the preliminaries, the Indian ace is sitting pretty on ten points in the ‘A’ group, two ahead of Michael Adams under the soccer-like scoring system in place here. McShane on four points is a distant third while Istratescu is yet to open his account.

Anand showed his class to beat McShane out of an Irregular Queen pawn opening. The middle game appeared even till Anand launched a king side attack and followed it up with a knight sacrifice that left McShane gasping. A few moves later, McShane had to part with his queen and it was all over in 38 moves.

Earlier in the third round, Anand crushed Istratescu from the black side of a Sicilian Alapin. Anand controlled the centre and came up with a well judged exchange sacrifice to march his way to victory after 50 moves.

Meanwhile in the B group, Russian Vladimir Kramnik was joined by compatriot Peter Svidler on seven points after a tough day for the former.