Anand blitzes his way to Leon chess final

May 31st, 2008 - 1:05 pm ICT by admin  

Leon (Spain), May 31 (IANS) World champion Viswanathan Anand blitzed his way past local star Francisco Vallejo Pons in the tie-breaker to secure his berth in the final of the Magistral Ciudad de Leon rapid chess tournament. Anand is seeking his fourth successive title at Leon and the eighth overall. In the first of the two semi-finals Friday, Anand opened with a draw. The Indian played with black pieces in a Ruy Lopez Berlin defence and the duo shared the point in 56 moves.

In the second game, Anand, the NIIT Brand Ambassador and the most successful player in the history of the tournament - having won eight times in the previous 20 editions - got the better of Vallejo Pons with white pieces in a Caro-Kann Exchange variation in 46 moves. The turning point was the 38th move when the Spaniard lost a piece and it was over for him.

However, just as Anand seemed to be cruising, Vallejo Pons hit back in the third game. The young Spanish master faced a Caro-Kann Advanced and nailed Anand with an advanced g-pawn.

With the match tied 1.5-1.5 points each, neither took a chance in the fourth game. Anand, surely more experienced in the blitz format in tie-breaker, allowed an 18-move draw in the fourth game.

In the first blitz game of the tie-breaker, the World Champion outplayed his opponent with the black pieces and forced his resignation after 58 moves to take the lead and this time it was decisive.

In the second tie-breaker game, Anand faced a classical Caro-Kann, which was the flavour of the day. Anand concentrated on a kingside attack, while Vallejo Pons searched for mating threats after taking the a 2-pawn with his queen. But Anand had worked it all out and in the final position, which was actually a forced mate for him, he pragmatically accepted the draw offer of his opponent to proceed to the final.

Alexei Shirov faces Vassily Ivanchuk in the second semi-final later Saturday.

There are four players in this rapid chess event, who play two semi-final matches of four games each. The winners will clash in the final Sunday.

The rate of play is 20 minutes for the entire game plus ten seconds increment for each move. In case of a draw there is a tiebreak with blitz games of five minutes.

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