Anand draws, but extends lead to one point

March 4th, 2008 - 5:36 pm ICT by admin  

Linares (Spain) March 4 (IANS) World Champion Viswanathan Anand did not take much time to draw his 11th round against Azerbaijani Teimour Radjabov and stay ahead of the pack with just three rounds left in the Morelia-Linares Chess tournament here Monday. The quick draw took Anand’s tally to seven points and extended Anand’s lead to a full point as his closest rival went down in his game.

While defending champion Anand was taking a quick draw, his closest rival, Magnus Carlsen suffered a shock loss at the hands of Peter Leko, who thus far had looked out of form.

While Lev Aronian drew Vassily Ivanchuk, Bulgarian Vesselin Topalov, known for his good finishes in late stages of a tournament beat Alexei Shirov.

Carlsen, Aronian and Topalov now have six points each, one point behind Anand.

Playing black in a Caro Kann defense, the Indian ace had no difficulty in keeping Radjabov at bay. Radjabov, one of the rising stars of world chess did try some variations, but Anand was very alert.

Soon the Queens were off the board in quick and in just 18 moves both players agreed to split the point and retire early for the day.

Young Carlsen was outdone by Leko of Hungary in a masterly crafted endgame on Monday. Leko got an extra pawn and then grinded Carlsen in a 62-move effort.

With just three rounds to come and two Whites to back him, Anand looks set to retain the crown he won last year.

Anand is now the odds-on favorite to win this year’s edition of the Morelia-Linares tournament, which he had also won last year.

Carlsen did seem equal early on, but with the queens coming off the board, it seemed it might head for a draw. But Leko saw an edge and worked on it and got a passed b-pawn. Leko handled it well and grabbed the full point.

Results: 11th round: Radjabov drew with Anand; Aronian drew with Ivanchuk; Topalov beat Shirov; Leko beat Carlsen.

Points after 11 rounds: 1. Anand 7 points; 2. Aronian, Topalov and Carlen 6 each; 5. Radjabov and Ivanchuk 5 each; 7. Leko and Shirov 4.5 each

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