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Anand on way to win Amber chess
March 25, 2003 21:27 IST
With three more rounds to go, former world champion Vishwanathan Anand is on his way to win the 12th Amber Blindfold and Rapid Chess tournament in Monte Carlo.
He has twice won the tournament, which carries a prize money of $1,93,250.
He is in joint lead in the Rapid section and shares the fourth spot in Blindfold to be in overall lead with 10.5 points.
Anand will take on Hungarian Zoltan Almasi on Tuesday to continue his march towards the title, which he won in 1994 and 1997.
The unique tournament features one blindfold and one rapid game in each round.
Defending Champion Alexander Morozevich of Russia and Israeli Grandmaster Boris Gelfand are close on Anand's heels -- half-a-point behind -- but it seems unlikely that they will catch up with the Indian ace.
Anand will face Russian Evgeny Bareev and Bulgarian Veselin Topalov in the last two rounds and about four points from the last six games should assure him a victory.
Anand has an excellent score against Bareev, while Almasi should also not be too tough to beat.
In Blindfold, however, Anand has not been in great touch and shares the fourth spot. Gelfand is in sole lead in this section with 6 points from 8 games played so far.
But Gelfand has a tall task on hand in the coming rounds. He is pitted against Braingames Champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia in the next round while in the last two he will have to tackle the likes of Spaniard Alexei Shirov and Linares Champion Peter Leko of Hungary.
Given his opposition, the Israeli, who has not been finding a place in top tournaments like Corus and Linares of late, might just be content with an even score.
Morozevich has the same opposition as Anand in the remaining games and he is apparently the only big threat for the Indian in the final standings.
The Russian started off quite badly with two losses in blindfold games, but since then has shown tremendous
determination in scalping his opponents. Morozevich's brilliance came to the fore when he defeated Kramnik 2-0 in the last round. He handed Anand his only loss in the tournament so far when the Indian slipped in their blindfold encounter in round three. However, Anand settled the score in the rapid game.
Peter Leko and Veselin Topalov are in joint fourth spot with 9.5 points apiece while Kramnik is in sole 6th position on 8.5 points.
Of the three, both Leko and Kramnik have not played tailender Ljubomir Ljubojevic and that could be their chance to score a big victory and improve their tournament standing.
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