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Anand splits point with Ivanchuk

September 03, 2008 15:39 IST

World Champion Viswanathan Anand [Images] settled for a draw with Ukrainian Vassily Ivanchuk after finding himself in time trouble in the first round of the Bilbao Grand Slam Final chess tournament.

Anand could not make the most of the advantage of having the white pieces and faced considerable difficulties before salvaging a draw against Ivanchuk, who played the Marshall attack by sacrificing a pawn against the Indian's Spanish opening.

Anand has an enviable record against the Marshall but he could not find a satisfactory reply to Ivanchuk's opening play and soon drifted into a difficult position.

The Indian lost back his pawn and his king was exposed to attack. The adverse turn taken by the opening served as a wake up call for Anand.

He defended an inferior position with consummate ease and gave up a pawn to centralise his queen and rook. The World Champion ensured that there was excellent coordination between his major pieces, preventing Ivanchuk from making inroads into his territory.

Ivanchuk conceded a draw when he was unable to make any progress against Anand's stubborn defence.

Meanwhile, Norwegian prodigy Magnus Carlsen [Images] shot into the lead with a victory over Grandmaster Levon Aronian of Armenia.

Carlsen played the symmetrical variation against the English opening and accepted a pawn sacrifice by his opponent.

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