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Anand is held again
March 04, 2003 14:52 IST
Indian Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand was held for the second time running in as many rounds, as Francisco Vallejo Pons of Spain got a comfortable draw from him in the ninth round of the 20th edition of Linares Super Grandmasters Chess tournament on Monday.
The NIIT brand ambassador, who was held in the eighth round by Ruslan Ponomariov, after failing to convert his advantage into a meaningful win, has now slipped to joint third position.
Vladimir Kramink leads the table with five points from eight games, while Peter Leko has 4.5 from seven games. Kasparov and Anand have 4.5 points each from eight games.
The Anand -- Vallejo Pons game was a Ruy Lopez Berlin and even though it was not a short Grandmasters draw, it did not offer any clear chance to Anand, who had white pieces. The duo agreed to split the point after 28 moves.
The other two games also ended in draws. Tournament leader Kramnik was held by Ruslan Ponomariov and Teimour Radjabov, who had stunned Kasparov in the first leg of the tournament, drew this time with Kasparov.
The Kramnik-Pono game was also a Ruy Lopez which ended in a draw in 33 moves, while Radjabov and Kasparov played out 39 moves in a Quen's Gambit Accepted before splitting the point.
This was the second time in nine rounds that all three games had been drawn.
Anand has his second and final bye in the tenth round, in which Vallejo Pons plays Kramnik, while Kasparov has white pieces against Leko. A win over Leko will bring Kasparov into contention for the title itself. There are still five more rounds to go and the final round will be played out on March 9.
Pairings for tenth round: Anand -- Bye , Vallejo Pons v Kramnik; Ponomariov v Radjabov; Kasparov v Leko.
Results of ninth round: Kramnik drew with Ponomariov; Anand drew with Vallejo Pons; Radjabov drew with Kasparov.
Standings after nine rounds: 1. Kramnik 5.0/8; 2. Leko 4.5/7; 3. Kasparov and Anand 4.5/8; 5. Radjabov and Ponomariov 3.0/8; 7. Vallejo Pons 2.5/7.