Anand well placed to retain Morelia-Linares title

March 3rd, 2008 - 3:34 pm ICT by admin  

Linares (Spain), March 3 (IANS) With four rounds to go in the Category 21 Morelia-Linares chess tournament, World champion Viswanathan Anand is well placed to make a bid to retain the title he won last year and consolidate his position as the world’s top player. Positioned at 6.5 points, half a point ahead of his nearest rival, the 17-year-old Magnus Carlsen, Anand has been in fairly good form.

The tournament is being held in two legs, one each in Morelia, Mexico and in Linares, Spain.

Though he began with a fine win over Alexei Shirov, Anand suffered a rare loss with white in the second round against Lev Aronian, the man he had marked out as the top contender for this event.

But once he put that loss behind him, Anand has grown from strength to strength in the tournament. He beat Carlsen and Leko, both with black pieces and surged ahead. By the time the first leg in Morelia ended, Anand was the sole leader, a position he has continued to hold since.

In the second leg Anand beat Shirov for the second time in the tournament and then drew against his main rivals Aronian - to whom he lost in the first leg - and Carlsen in Round 10.

His remaining four games are against Teimour Radjabov, Peter Leko, Veselin Topalov and Vassily Ivanchuk, none of whom is having a great tournament.

Should Anand retain his title, he will once again be over 2800 in Elo ratings. Currently he is top ranked with Vladimir Kramnik at 2799 and Kramnik is not playing here.

In the 11th round, Anand will be up against Radjabov, with the Indian having black pieces.

Standings after Round 10:
1. Vishwanathan Anand 6.5
2. Magnus Carlsen 6.0
3. Levon Aronian 5.5
4. Veselin Topalov 5.0
5. Teimour Radjabov, Alexei Shirov and Vassily Ivanchuk 4.5
8. Peter Leko 3.5

Pairing for Round 11:
Teimour Radjabov - Vishwanathan Anand
Levon Aronian - Vassily Ivanchuk
Veselin Topalov - Alexei Shirov
Peter Leko - Magnus Carlsen

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