Anand crushes Shirov, extends lead | other | Hindustan Times
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Anand crushes Shirov, extends lead

other Updated: Feb 29, 2008 16:52 IST

World Champion Viswanathan Anand scored a clinical victory over Alexei Shirov of Spain in the eighth round of the Morelia-Linares International chess tournament underway here.

Starting out the second half of the category-21 event with a half point lead, Anand extended his lead to a full point with a finely crafted victory on another bloody day in the eight-player double round-robin tournament.

The 17-year-old Magnus Carlsen was brilliance personified as he cruised past former world championship challenger Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine and jumped in to joint second position along with Levon Aronian of Armenia who defeated Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in a technical masterpiece.

The other game of the day between Teimour Radjabov of Azerbiajan and Peter Leko of Hungary ended in a draw.

With six rounds still to come Anand, on 5.5 points, is followed by Carlsen and Aronian a full point behind. Topalov and Shirov are now joint fourth in the standings with 4 points each and Teimour Radjabov stands sole sixth on 3.5 points. Sharing the seventh spot are Leko and Ivanchuk and the chances of a revival in their fortunes look bleak.

Anand gave a positional and technical lesson to Shirov in the return game. In the first round of this event played at Morelia in Mexico, the Indian ace had won with black pieces and in the second out the favourable colour in the game bode well for Anand for the first time in this event that is split in two parts.

"Some things never change in this world, Vishy always beats me," was Shirov's comment when he was ousted by Anand in the quarterfinals of the world championship in 2001 at Moscow and yet again, the fears of the Spaniard came true.

It was a Sicilian Sveshnikov where Anand went for a topical variation and was always in command after a few pieces changed hands.

As is typical of the opening, the pawn structure is a cause for concern for the black player in case an endgame is reached and Anand effortlessly used this to his advantage knocking down one black pawn to reach a winning endgame. The game lasted 57 moves.

Carlsen yet again played imaginative and fearless chess to beat Ivanchuk who was not himself in one of the side variations of the Berlin defense.

Carlsen gave a rook for two minor pieces and picked up important queenside pawns to cause the damage. It took just 39 moves for Carlsen to force resignation.

Aronian defeated Topalov from an English opening game. Playing white the Armenian uncorked a fine exchange sacrifice in the endgame to win a couple of pawns as compensation and thereafter the technicalities were handled in perfect fashion.

It was another spectacular battle between Radjabov and Leko that came to an abrupt end. The Queen's Indian defense by Leko yielded a wild position that Radjabov did not mind and the game was quite interestingly poised when the peace was signed after 39 moves.