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Anand draws opening games
October 25, 2003 18:53 IST
Last Updated: October 25, 2003 19:11 IST
World Cup champion Vishwanathan Anand began his campaign with two fighting draws on the opening day of the World Rapid Chess Championship which got underway in Cap D'Agde, France, on Friday.
But the most impressive performance of the day was by Grandmaster Peter Svidler of Russia, who emerged the sole leader after two emphatic victories over Hungarians Peter Leko and the world's top rated woman player, Judit Polgar.
Svidler is the only player to have an absolute score in Group 'B' while Bulgarian Veselin Topalov heads Group 'A' with similar efforts.
Russian GM Alexander Grischuk, who drew with Anand in the first game, is in sole second position on 1.5 points in Group 'B' while Anand is joint third alongside Polgar, Alexei Shirov of Spain and former World champion Anatoly Karpov of Russia.
The tournament has two groups with eight players each. Four from each group will qualify for the next stage after playing a round-robin league. Thereafter, the event will be a knock-out till the final.
The games are being played with 25 minutes on each clock and 10 seconds are added after every move is made.
Anand's start was not certainly a good one though his draws came against quite strong opposition in Grischuk and Shirov. The fact that two important whites out of a total four have gone without a win will certainly put pressure on Anand in the remaining five games of the league phase.
Anand struggled, especially against Shirov for quite some before securing the half point. It was an Anti-Marshall by Anand in successive rounds that gave Shirov an ominous looking pawn structure, ready to explode even with the slightest error.
Anand defended well though Shirov sacrificed a piece in a vain attempt to get his pawns rolling. However, the extra bishop for Anand in the rook-end game put Shirov under the shackles and he realised it was futile to go on. The draw was agreed to on the 61st move.
Earlier in the day Anand tried his best to force a win before accepting the draw with Grischuk. The two played out an Anti-Marshall game where Anand, white, got a miniscule advantage in the middle game and looked in fine fettle to nurse it well.
However, routine trading of pieces by Grischuk took the game in to a heavy pieces end game where subsequent exchanges forced a draw after 51 moves.
In-form Svidler proved the hero of day one with two sparkling results against formidable opposition. The first victory came against Leko who misjudged his chances in a keenly contested game. A draw would have been just result in this game but Leko's defensive technique did not stand by him with the clock ticking away.
In the second game as white, Svidler gave very little chances to Polgar after gaining the upper hand in the English attack against the Nazdorf Sicilian.
Round 2 (Group 'A'): Veselin Topalov (2, Bul) beat Michael Adams (0.5, Eng); Etienne Bacrot (1, Fra) drew Ruslan Ponomariov (1, Ukr); Evgeny Bareev (1, Rus) drew Boris Gelfand (1, Isr); Zurab Azmaiparashvili (0.5, Geo) drew Vladimir Kramnik (1, Rus).
Round 1: Gelfand drew Bacrot; Kramnik drew Bareev; Ponomariov drew Adams; Azmaiparashvili lost to Topalov
Round 2 (Group 'B'): Peter Svidler (2, Rus) beat Judit Polgar 91, Hun); Alexander Grischuk (1.5, Rus) beat Joel Lautier (0, Fra); Viswanathan Anand (1) drew Alxei Shirov; Anatoly Karpov (1, Rus) drew Peter Leko (0.5, Hun).
Round 1: Polgar beat Lautier; Anand drew Grischuk; Shirov drew Karpov; Leko lost to Svidler.
Moves (Anand v/s Shirov):
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. h3 Bb7 9. d3 d6 10. a3 Na5 11. Ba2 c5 12. Nbd2 Nc6 13. Nf1 Bc8 14. Ne3 Be6 15. Nd5 Bxd5 16. exd5 Nd4 17. Nd2 Nf5 18. Ne4 Nd7 19. b4 Rc8 20. Bd2 c4 21. dxc4 bxc4 22. a4 Nh4 23. Qh5 g6 24. Qd1 f5 25. Ng3 e4 26. Ne2 Bf6 27. Rb1 Be5 28. Bh6 Rf7 29. Nf4 Nf3+ 30. gxf3 Qh4 31. Ne6 Qxh6 32. Kg2 Nf6 33. b5 Nh5 34. bxa6 Nf4+ 35. Nxf4 Qxf4 36. Rh1 e3 37. fxe3 Qg5+ 38. Kf1 Qxe3 39. Rb7 Qa3 40. Rxf7 Kxf7 41. Bb1 Qxa4 42. Kg2 Qxa6 43. Qe2 Kg7 44. h4 h5 45. Kh3 Ra8 46. Rg1 Qc8 47. f4 Qc5 48. Rg3 Qxd5 49. fxe5 Qh1+ 50. Qh2 Qxh2+ 51.Kxh2 dxe5 52. c3 Kf6 53. Rg2 Ra3 54. Rc2 e4 55. Ba2 Ra4 56. Kg3 Ke5 57. Rb2 Ra3 58. Rc2 Ra4 59. Rb2 Ra3 60. Rc2 Ra4 61.Rb2 draw agreed.