| ANAND: Brilliance personified
Wijk Aan Zee (The Netherlands): World Cup champion Viswanathan Anand was brilliance personified as he outwitted Latvia-born Spaniard Alexei Shirov to consolidate his lead after the 10th round of the 65th Corus chess tournament here.
Anand maintained his position atop the tables on 7 points after 10 games played so far and is followed by the world’s highest rated woman Judit Polgar of Hungary, who is half a point behind.
A pack of five players, including the Russian duo of Vladimir Kramnik and defending champion Evgeny Bareev, local star Loek Van Wely, world championship finalist Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine and Azerbaijani sensation Teimour Radjabov, all with 5.5 points in their kitty are placed joint third.
GM Koneru Humpy struggled yet again and went down to GM Dennis De Vregut to languish on 3.5 points along with Alexandra Kosteniuk of Russia and Peter Acs of Hungary.
Anand had to flex his defensive muscles yet again and was only rewarded a full point against Shirov. The opening featured Caro Kann defence where the Indian ace, playing black, seized the upper hand.
Anand’s king was looking in some danger in the middle game but a brilliantly crafted 14th move turned the tide in his favour. Anand steered his king to safety and pocketed a couple of pawns on the kingside to march ahead with his minor pieces. Shirov banked his hopes on queenside pawns but they were contained quite effectively from a decisive advance. The trade of queens on the 31st move sealed Shirov’s fate completely and he resigned after 36 moves.
“It was nice to win against a strong player with black pieces. In general I was winning the game after maybe 15 moves, but it was not easy to convert this advantage because it was a very complex position and I was very careful... Of course it finally came,” Anand said after the game.
In the Grandmaster B tournament Zhang Zhong was back with increased vigour and stretched his lead to a massive 2.5 points after drubbing Dutch GM Friso Nijboer.
On the receiving end of Polgar’s assault, was Alexander Grischuk, who got a taste of the finest mixture of Hungarian counter-attack and defence..
Kramnik came back strongly to beat Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria with white pieces. Loek Van Wely met his nemesis in world champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine. Ivanchuk punished aJan Timman of Netherlands. The Ruy Lopez gave Timman worries on all parts of the board and he landed a piece down in just 18 moves.
It took three more moves for Ivanchuk to register his first victory. Michal Krasenkow of Poland was outplayed in the endgame arising out of a kings Indian defence game lasting 60 moves while Bareev and Karpov fought on in a level position from Nimzo Indian defence till chances of a victory almost finished.