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Anand draws with Topalov, maintains lead

Morella (Mexico) Feb 23: World Champion Viswanathan Anand maintained his slender half point lead after playing an eventful draw with former world champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in the sixth round of the Morelia-Linares chess tournament.

Anand took his tally to four points out of a possible six after the end of the penultimate round of the event and is likely to play the second half at Linares as a leader when it begins in the Spanish hamlet on February 29th. In the final round at Morelia, Anand meets Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine.
It was a game with wild complexities between Topalov and Anand. Playing white the Bulgarian went for a fashionable variation against Anand's Nimzo Indian defense and the middle game that ensued ensured a keen tussle.

Topalov was able to open up black's kind side after a couple of pawns and a set of minor pieces changed hands but soon after Anand was in his element in working out the country play.

Topalov tried to attack on the slightly weakened king side but that was neutralised by Anand's counter play around the center.

After subsequent exchanges the players reached a queen and pawns endgame where the peace was signed after 42 moves. This was Topalov's first draw after two consecutive losses.

From the perspective of decisive results, this was perhaps the dullest day in the category 21 super event as only Azerbaijani Teimour Radjabov was able to score a victory over young gun Magnus Carlsen of Norway while the remaining games ended without any result.

It was an early finish between Ivanchuk and Alexei Shirov of Spain while the last game to end in the day between Levon Aronian of Armenia and Peter Leko of Hungary also saw the points being split.

With eight rounds still to come, Aronian remained in sole second spot on 3.5 points while Radjabov eclipsed Carlsen from the joint third spot to share it now with Shirov and Topalov on 3 points each.

Sharing the joint sixth spot now are Carlsen, Leko and Ivanchuk who all have 2.5 points in their kitty.

Double Bishops in chess are considered an excellent weapon when they spit fire in an open position. Magnuc Carlsen learned it the hard way against Radjabov.

From an innocuous looking Ruy Lopez, Radjabov sacrificed a pawn to reach an ending where he had a bishop pair and his rook firmly placed to do the demolition act.

Once Carlsen lost the extra pawn he had ample worries in shape of pawn weaknesses on the queen side and Radjabov showed just the requisite technique to score his first victory in the tournament.

Ivanchuk and Shirov battled out for just 28 moves before sharing the point in a queen pawn opening while Leko mustered enough counter attack on the queen side at the expense of a pawn to keep Aronian at bay in an English opening game.

The game was drawn after 50 moves.

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Story first published: Saturday, February 23, 2008, 16:34 [IST]
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