Monday, 30th October 2017

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Anand is sole leader

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By (AGENCIES)
  • Published 20.01.04
  •  

Wijk aan Zee: Viswanathan Anand, meeting Zhang Zhong for the first time across the board, scored a smooth and near effortless win to register his first victory with black pieces in the 66th edition of the Corus Grandmasters Chess tournament Sunday. With this win Anand also moved into sole lead at the end of the seventh round, just past the halfway mark in the 13-round Category 19 tournament here.

The Indian GM, who is the defending champion, now has five points. In the bunch of four, who shared lead after six rounds, Vladimir Kramnik and Michael Adams only managed draws, while Veselin Topalov lost to Peter Svidler and slipped down the ranks.

Svidler beat Topalov in a 46-move Sicilian Najdorf game, while Alexey Shirov made up for his loss to Anand by beating Jan Timman in a long 100-move French defence game.

Akopian drew with Adams in a short 20-move Reti and Loek Van Wely was engaged in a 28-move truce with Peter Leko in a Queen’s Indian.

Viorel Bologan beat Ivan Sokolov in 55 moves from a Slav Defence and Evgeny Bareev’s drawn game with Kramnik in Nimzo Indian lasted 35 moves.

Zhang, facing Asia’s strongest and the world No. 3 mind champion, was never in the fight.

The Zhang-Anand was a Sicilian and the Chinese player, often given to playing unfamiliar styles, did just that. A patient Anand, who obviously knew enough about Zhang’s style, waited. The players simply sparred for the first 22 moves.

Anand decided not to castle and Zhang opened up the game after castling on the kingside.

But that backfired and soon Anand’s rooks looked very difficult to handle. Zhang then made some small errors and in next to no time was down. He had to give up his rook for a knight.

With Anand’s rook looking menacing on the sixth rank and heavy material loss imminent, the Chinese player resigned on the 40th move.

In the next round, Anand meets Bareev. The Indian has white pieces and a win in this round could further strengthen his position and help him retain his title.

ROUND 8 PAIRINGS

Topalov v Shirov, Anand v Bareev, Adams v Kramnik, Leko v Bologan, Akopian v Van Wely, Sokolov v Svidler, Timman v Zhang

STANDINGS

(After round 7)

1. Anand 5.0; 2. Kramnik and Adams 4.5 each; 4. Leko, Topalov and Svidler 4.0 each; 7. Akopian, and Van Wely 3.5 each; 9. Shirov, Bologan, Bareev, 3.0 each; 12. Sokolov and Timman; 14. Zhang 2.0.