Anand in good position to retain his title in Morelia

February 22nd, 2008 - 1:40 pm ICT by admin  

Morelia (Mexico) Feb 22 (IANS) Viswanathan Anand, who has always liked to play in Mexico, is well placed to retain his title as the first leg of the Morelia-Linares Grandmasters chess tournament veers towards its close. With five rounds gone, at the end of the second rest day, Anand with three wins - all with black - was perched all alone at the top. He was half a point ahead of Lev Aronian, the man he had named as the pre-tournament favourite.

Interestingly Anand’s only loss in the tournament has been at the hands of Aronian in the second round and that with white pieces. It is not often that Anand loses with white pieces.

Anand’s wins have been against Latvia born Spaniard Alexei Shirov in first round, Swedish prodigy Magnus Carlsen (third round) and Hungarian Peter Leko (fifth round). His only draw was against Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan.

Last year Anand had finished the Mexico leg with 4.5 points, but had shared the top spot with Carlsen at that stage. But the spectacular performance of Morelia-Linares last year came from Alexander Morozevich, who is not here this time. Moro, lying last after Morelia, scored 5.5 out of seven in Linares and rose to tied second with Carlsen.

Curiously last year when Anand won, he had just four wins in 14 games and his only loss was to Aronian. This time Anand already has three wins and his only loss has been to Aronian.

Each of the five rounds so far has produced at least two results making it one of the most competitive tournaments. The number of decisive games has been very high and the quality has been very good.

This edition has seen no boring openings or short draws and it has been a very exciting and interesting tournament with the desire to win being very high. Some little known openings like the Janisch gambit and the Alekhine Defence have come into play.

Points after fifth round: Anand (3.5); 2, Aronian (3); 3. Shirov, Carlsen and Topalov (2.5); 6. Radjabov, Leko and Ivanchuk (2)

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