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Anand draws, ends joint leader

Viswanathan Anand played out two draws with World champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in the final round and tied for the top spot in the combined standings at the 15th Amber Blindfold and Rapid tournament here.

india Updated: Apr 02, 2006 18:30 IST

Viswanathan Anand played out two draws with World champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in the final round and tied for the top spot in the combined standings at the 15th Amber Blindfold and Rapid tournament here.

Both Anand and Morozevich finished with identical score of 14.5 points from 22 games played in the tournament and shared the honours in the combined standings of the annual event.

This was Anand's fifth Amber victory while Morozevich won his third title.

The third place went to a consistent Francisco Vallejo Pons of Spain who finished with 12 points. Russian Alexander Grischuk finished fourth overall with 11.5 points while Topalov and Peter Leko of Hungary finished joint fifth in the Euros 216000 prize money tournament.

The rapid title went to Anand who finished with 8 points out of a possible 11 while Morozevich won the blindfold section scoring an incredible 9.5 points.

The supremacy of the Russian in this variant of the game could be attested by the simple fact that his nearest rivals Anand and Pons were three points adrift of the winner.

Having already won the rapid section with one round to spare, Anand played for a victory against Topalov and it turned out to be an exciting contest between the two best players of the world in the blindfold game.

Topalov employed the Ruy Lopez as white and the heat was on early in the middle game when Anand went for complexities.

While Topalov tried to make a foray on the king side, Anand was active on the other flank to do the damage.

At one point it looked as though the Indian ace would prevail but Topalov came up with a spectacular exchange sacrifice to keep the balance ticking.

When further exchanges became imminent it was obvious that the ensuing rook and pawns endgame would be equal. Peace was signed after 38 moves.

Final combined standings 1-2. Morozevich, Anand 14.5 each; 3. Vallejo Pons 12; 4. Grischuk 11.5; 5-6. Topalov, Leko 11 each; 7-8. Aronian, Gelfand 10.5 each; 9. Van Wely 10; 10. Svidler 9.5; 11. Ivanchuk 9; 12. Nielsen 8.