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Anand enters Leon final
May 31, 2008 20:53 IST
World champion Viswanathan Anand [Images] re-inforced his position as the world's best rapid player, when he moved past Francisco Vallejo Pons of Spain to enter the final of the Ciudad de Leon rapid chess tournament in Leon, Spain.
Anand, also preparing for the world championship match against Vladimir Kramnik later this year, has won the title at Leon for the last three years and eight times overall.
Anand after being held to a draw 2-2 in the four scheduled games of the first semi-final won the tie-breaker 1.5-0.5 to complete the 3.5-2.5 verdict to move into the final where he will meet the winner of the Vassily Ivanchuk versus Alexei Shirov clash in the second semi-final.
Anand started with a draw as he played with black pieces in a Ruy Lopez Berlin defence and the duo agreed to a draw in 56 moves.
Anand, in the second game, got the better Vallejo with white pieces in a Caro-Kann Exchange in 46 moves after grabbing a piece on the 38th move, which proved to be crucial.
Just as Anand seemed to be on way to the final, Vallejo Pons hit back in the third game. The Spanish master was up against a Caro-Kann Advanced and beat Anand with an advanced g-pawn.
With the game tied 1.5-1.5 points each, neither took a chance in the fourth game. Anand, surely more experienced in the blitz format in tie-breaker, allowed an 18-move draw in the fourth game.
In the first blitz game of the tie-breaker, the world champion outplayed his opponent with the black pieces and forced his resignation after 58 moves to take the lead and this time it was decisive.
In the second tie-breaker game, Anand faced a classical Caro-Kann, which was the flavour of the day. Anand concentrated on a kingside attack, while Vallejo searched for mating threats after taking the a2-pawn with his queen. But Anand had worked it all out and in the final position, which was actually a forced mate for him, he pragmatically accepted the draw offer of his opponent to proceed to the final.
Results: Anand beat Vallejo Pons 3.5 - 2.5
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