Anand takes easy draw, half point away from title

March 7th, 2008 - 4:08 pm ICT by admin  

Linares (Spain), March 7 (IANS) World champion Viswanathan Anand moved yet another played out an easy draw with Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine to maintain his slender half point lead after the penultimate round at the Morelia-Linares chess tournament underway here. Anand now has eight points from 13 rounds, while Magnus Carlsen has 7.5 points. It was an easy draw as Ivanchuk was unable to take advantage of the white pieces. Anand played the Najdorf against Ivanchuk and was possibly surprised by his opponent’s choice of 6.Bc4. Anand returned the favor with 6…Nc6, transposing to the Sozin Variation, and Ivanchuk didn’t seem to have anything special prepared against this. Anand equalized without much difficulty, and the game was drawn in just 23 moves.

Anand’s closest rival, Magnus Carlsen of Norway, was also forced to split the point with Levon Aronian of Armenia and it meant that the Indian ace goes into the last round with a half point lead. With white pieces Anand should not find it difficult to get a draw and that will give him at least a share of the white places, if Carlsen wins.

Anand plays former world champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in the last round of the category-21 tournament and is likely to retain the title he won last year.

Topalov scored a hard fought win over Peter Leko of Hungary and took his tally to seven points which is a full point behind Anand. Topalov still has a chance to jointly win the title if he can beat the Indian in the last round.

In another game Alexei Shirov went down to Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan.

Results Round 13: Anand drew with Ivanchuk; Radjabov beat Shirov; Aronian drew with Carlsen; Topalov beat Leko

Standings after Round 13: 1. Anand 8; 2. Carlsen 7.5; 3. Aronian and Topalov 7.0; 5. Radjabov 6.5; 6. Ivanchuk 6; 7-8. Shirov and Leko 5.0

Pairings for Last and 14th round: (whites first): Anand v Topalov; Leko v Aronian; Carlsen v Radjabov; Shirov v Ivanchuk

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