New Delhi: Indian Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand set up a summit clash with veteran Anatoly Karpov of Russia after scoring a fluent victory over Belgian Mikhail Gurevich in the semi-final of the sixth Corsica Masters in Bastia, France.
According to information received here, the 32-year-old former Fide world champion and two-time World Cup winner won the first game with white pieces and then defended stoutly with black to clinch the match 1.5-0.5.
In the other semi-final, Karpov, another former world champion, put paid to the hopes of Alexei Shirov with a victory by similar margin.
A victory for Anand in the final will give him his third Corsica title in a row.
Anand, who had triumphed in his previous two rounds with wins from black pieces, scored with white through French Defence in 36 moves.
The Indian then defended strongly as Gurevich, went all out to force the match into a play-off. Gurevich employed an English opening and came up with a novelty in the very second move.
But Anand had done his homework and was well prepared for everything that Gurevich threw at him. After a marathon 70-move battle, the match came to a king-pawn ending and the Belgian resigned.
On the other hand, Karpov showed that he is still very much a force to reckon with. After drawing the first game with white in 41 moves, the Russian opted for the Petroff Defence in the second.
Shirov seemed to feel the pressure as he tried to break Karpov’s resilience and blundered to bow out in 40 moves.
Though Anand has a big reputation when it comes to rapid chess, Karpov is no slouch. Just about a week ago, he reached the final of the Cap D’agde fifth chess festival where he lost to Boris Gelfand.