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Anand takes sole lead
March 21, 2003 18:53 IST
World Cup champion Viswanathan Anand crushed veteran Ljubomir Ljubojevic of Yugoslavia 2-0 in the fifth round and stormed into sole lead in the 12th Amber Blindfold and Rapid chess tournament now under way in Monte Carlo.
Anand took his tally to seven points from ten games. He was in his element while outclassing Ljubojevic in the Rapid game after weathering a lean patch in the blindfold.
Overnight leader Peter Leko of Hungary and the Russian duo of Braingames champion Vladimir Kramnik and defending champion Alexander Morozevich are a half point adrift of Anand while a distant fifth at nearly the halfway stage is Israeli Boris Gelfand on 5.5 points.
Anand also maintained his joint lead with Morozevich in the Rapid section and improved his blindfold standings by moving to joint fourth place alongside Dutch Grandmaster Loek Van Wely.
Kramnik continues to lead in blindfold after another fine victory over compatriot Evgeny Bareev. Gelfand and Leko jointly share the second place in this section on 3.5 points.
Anand faced the Sicilian Taimanov with his white pieces in blindfold and got into some trouble in a complex middle game position arising from a variation akin to the English attack.
Ljubojevic did well to check Anand's attack against his centralized king in a wild position but fell short of time. Anand took advantage of an erroneous plan and exchanged queens on the 32nd move to march his central passed pawn to the seventh rank. Ljubojevic's defenses did not last long thereafter.
In the rapid, Anand employed the Caro Kann and it turned out to be a one-sided affair in the Classical variation. Ljubojevic allowed the invasion of black's queen in his territory and was never at rest thereafter. With precise technique Anand won a couple of pawns in the ensuing Rook and pawns endgame and romped home after 55 moves for his first clean sweep in the tournament.
Kramnik got the better of Bareev 1.5-0.5 after a swift victory in the blindfold. The game started with the Chelyabinsk variation of the Slav defence where Kramnik, white, cashed in with an early kingside attack. Bareev found himself struggling from the early middle game itself and lost an exchange on the 20th move. Three moves later his fate in the game was effectively sealed.
Leko played two interesting draws with Bulgarian Veselin Topalov. In their blindfold encounter Leko defended a slightly inferior position well while it was quite the opposite in the Rapid game.
Morozevich defeated Gelfand 1.5-0.5, winning the Rapid game. The Russian has come back quite strongly in the event after two losses in his first two blindfold games.
Results (Round 5):
Blindfold: Viswanathan Anand beat Ljubomir Ljubojevic (Yug); Loek Van Wely (Ned) beat Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr); Alexander Morozevich (Rus) drew Boris Gelfand (Isr); Veselin Topalov (Bul) drew Peter Leko (Hun); Alexei Shirov (Esp) lost to Zoltan Almasi (Hun); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus) beat Evgeny Bareev (Rus).
Rapid: Ljubojevic lost to Anand; Ivanchuk beat Van Wely; Gelfand lost to Morozevich; Leko drew Topalov; Almasi beat Shirov; Bareev drew Kramnik.
Standings after round 5:
Blindfold: 1. Kramnik 4.5; 2-3. Gelfand, Leko 3.5 each; 4-5. Anand, Van Wely 3.0 each; 6-9. Morozevich, Almasi, Ivanchuk, Topalov 2.5 each; 10-11. Bareev, Shirov 1.0 each; 12. Ljubojevic 0.5.
Rapid: 1-2. Anand, Morozevich 4.0 each; 3-4. Bareev, L eko 3.0 each; 5-7. Topalov, Almasi, Ivanchuk 2.5 each; 8-9. Kramnik, Gelfand 2.0 each; 10-11. Shirov, Van Wely 1.5 each; 12. Ljubojevic 1.0.
Combined standings: 1. Anand 7.0; 2-4. Kramnik, Leko, Morozevich 6.5 each; 5. Gelfand 5.5; 6-8. Topalov, Ivanchuk, Almasi, 5.0 each, 9-10. bareev, Van Wely 4.5 each, 11. Shirov 2.5, 12. Ljubojevic 1.5.
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