Anand wins rapid game again, stays in joint lead

March 17th, 2008 - 4:44 pm ICT by admin  

Monte Carlo, March 17 (IANS) Viswanathan Anand seems to love black pieces as he dealt Shakhriyar Mamedyarov a blow with the dark colours in the rapid game of the second round of the 17th Melody Amber chess tournament. The world champion scored a 1.5-0.5 win over Mamedyarov with their blindfold game ending in a draw earlier on.

After two (double) rounds Anand, Aronian and Ivanchuk are leading in the overall standings with 3 points each. Anand has two points from rapid, having won both his games so far and one from blindfold, where he has drawn both. In both rapid wins Anand had black pieces.

In the third round, Anand will be up against Vesselin Topalov and will have white in rapid and black in blindfold.

In the blindfold game, Mamedyarov surprised the Indian with the Alekhine defence. That may have been a surprise considering Mamedyarov usually plays a lot of modern defences.

Anand seemed to get a fine position from the opening and his passed pawn on d6 looked like an asset. However, when he failed to make concrete progress, Mamedyarov took over the initiative and for a while it looked as if Anand was getting into trouble. Perhaps helped by an advantage on the clock he hung on and when he offered a draw on move 46, Mamedyarov saw no reason to decline.

In the rapid game Mamedyarov went for a ‘real’ off-beat opening, replying 2.b3 to Anand’s Sicilian. The world champion handled it smoothly and equalised after the 11th move. Mamedyarov may have pinned his hopes on the e-pawn but it became a liability. Anand arrested the intruder on e6 and then when he won a second pawn with 31st move, he had the game sewn up.

Results of Second round: Blind: Ivanchuk drew with Gelfand; Van Wely lost to Carlsen; Karjakin drew with Aronian; Kramnik drew with Leko; Morozevich beat Topalov; Anand drew with Mamedyarov.

Rapid: Gelfand lost to Ivanchuk; Carlsen beat Van Wely; Aronian beat Karjakin; Leko lost to Kramnik; Topalov beat Morozevich; Mamedyarov lost to Anand.

Combined Standings (after 2 rounds)
1. Anand, Ivanchuk and Aronian 3 each
4. Topalov and Carlsen 2.5
6. Morozevich, Karjakin, and Kramnik 2
9. Mamedyarov 1.5
10. Gelfand and L

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