Anand agrees to sporting draw against time-troubled Ivanchuk

September 3rd, 2008 - 3:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Bilbao (Spain), Sep 3 (IANS) India’s Viswanathan Anand displayed sporting quality by agreeing to a draw, when a win on time was very much on hand for him in the first round of the Chess Grand Slam Final here. The world champion was in difficulties on board, but his rival Vassily Ivanchuk despite having an edge on the board was in major problems with the clock Tuesday.

While the NIIT-Brand Ambassador Anand had 28 minutes remaining on his clock, Ivanchuk came down to as little as 22 seconds for the rest of his game which by then had reached the 58th move. According to rules, the players are allowed 90 minutes for their first 40 moves and then 60 minutes to finish off the rest of the game.

The new event featuring the winners and runners-up of the top events of the year started with a bang. While Anand agreed to a sporting draw against Ivanchuk, Magnus Carlsen of Norway beat Levon Aronian of Armenia in the first round. The third game between Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria was also drawn.

Anand had a tense game against Ivanchuk but survived in the end and in fact was magnanimous under the circumstances. Carlsen, the incredible young man from Norway, blew away world-class Aronian with the black pieces. Radjabov’s Scotch against Topalov simplified to a drawn ending which was played out to bare kings.

Anand with white opted for the anti-Marshall preparation in the Ruy Lopez. But it did not look too solid and Black (Ivanchuk) soon regained his pawn with some pressure against the weakened white king.

Ivanchuk, as has become his style and habit, ran into time problems at the first time control. But he managed to clock his 40 moves in 90 minutes at that stage.

Soon after the time control Anand mislaid a pawn and was defending a difficult heavy piece ending.

However, Ivanchuk despite a better position was unable to drive home a win and used up too much time. The result was that was he left with a few seconds for the rest of the game and could at best hope to stay on in with harmless moves. On the other hand, Anand could have forced complications and win on time as Ivanchuk had just 22 seconds left. But Anand agreed to a draw after 58 moves.

Carlsen quickly equalised against a variation of the English employed by Aronian. When Aronian pressed and sacrificed a pawn, Carlsen easily outplayed him to arrive at a winning queen and pawn ending.

The event is a six-player double round robin event with an Elo average of 2775.6, making it a category 22 tournament. The venue is the Plaza Nueva in the centre of Bilbao’s Old Town and the games are being played inside a huge sound-proofed and air-conditioned glass enclosure built under a marquee to protect the players from the summer sun.

The scoring system in this tournament is different and experimental. Players get three points for a win, one point for a draw and no points for losing a game. For rating purposes the traditional 1-½-0 system will be used. The prize fund for the event is 400,000 Euros, with the winner receiving 150,000 Euros and the second place 70,000 Euros and the last or the sixth placed player getting 30,000 Euros. The sums are unprecedented for an event like this and it is the highest prize money event outside of the World Championships.

The Grand Slam Final features the winners and top finishers of the elite tournaments of the year. Aronian qualified by winning Wijk Aan Zee in January, Anand won Morelia-Linares in February and March, while Ivanchuk won the M-Tel Masters in May. The other three players are there based on their results at those events. Carlsen tied for first with Aronian and finished second to Anand at Morelia-Linares. Radjabov tied for third with Anand at Wijk aan Zee and finished third at M-Tel and Topalov finished second at M-Tel.

Five of the players are ranked in the top seven in the world with Aronian at No. 12.

Moves Anand,V (2798) - Ivanchuk,V (2781)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.d4 Bd6 13.Re1 Qh4 14.g3 Qh3 15.Be3 Bg4 16.Qd3 Rae8 17.Nd2 Re6 18.Qf1 Qh5 19.f3 Rf6 20.Qe2 Bxf3 21.Nxf3 Rxf3 22.Bxd5 Qxd5 23.Bf2 Rf6 24.b3 Qf5 25.Rad1 h5 26.Rd3 h4 27.Re3 Rg6 28.c4 hxg3 29.hxg3 bxc4 30.bxc4 c5 31.Qf3 Qh3 32.Qg2 Qd7 33.dxc5 Bxc5 34.Re4 Qc7 35.Kh2 Rh6+ 36.Kg1 Rf6 37.Be3 Rd8 38.Kh2 Bxe3 39.R4xe3 Rh6+ 40.Kg1 Qc5 41.Qf2 Qh5 42.Qg2 Rd2 43.Re8+ Kh7 44.R8e2 Qc5+ 45.Qf2 Rxe2 46.Rxe2 Qxc4 47.Qf5+ g6 48.Qe4 Qc5+ 49.Kg2 Rh5 50.Rc2 Qb6 51.Rd2 Rb5 52.a4 Rb4 53.Qe7 Qc6+ 54.Kh2 Rb7 55.Qh4+ Kg7 56.Qd4+ f6 57.a5 g5 58.Qd5 Qb5 draw.

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