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Aronian tops Amber; Anand joint-second
March 27, 2009 14:38 IST
World champion Viswanathan Anand [Images] missed chances galore in the blindfold game against Chinese Wang Yue and had to be content with an overall joint-second finish in the Amber blindfold and rapid chess tournament in Nice, France [Images].
Anand, however, maintained supremacy in the rapid section as he tied with Levon Aronian of Armenia and Gata Kamsky of the United States.
The Indian ace finished with an impressive 7 points out of a possible 11 in the rapid section while in the blindfold he was joint-fourth on 6.5 points.
Aronian drew both his games against former World champion Veslein Topalov of Bulgaria in the final round and emerged a clear winner in the 18th edition of the prestigious event.
Magnus Carlsen [Images] of Norway found his nemesis in the blindfold in Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan and finished clear fourth after recovering to win the rapid game. The Norwegian ended with a tally of 13 points and was two points clear of next contender Alexander Morozevich of Russia.
Carlsen, Kramnik and Aronian emerged as best blindfold players on 7 points each.
Anand's blindfold game against Wang Yue was one of fluctuating fortunes and earlier it seems that the Chinese was well on his way to a major upset when he sacrificed a piece for a dangerous initiative coming out of a Slav defense where Anand played black.
The sacrifice was correct, but Yue was also very short on time having less than two minutes against Anand's eighteen.
With his clock ticking away, the Chinese slipped and Anand took over the initiative and got excellent winning chances.
Anand eventually landed in an endgame of two knights against king and pawn. There were two instances that he was winning theoretically but these moments came and went without the players really noticing.
Anand tried for a long time, but gave up his attempts after 85 moves: "I managed to make more than 40 legal moves, I don't think it's winning."
In the rapid game, Anand had a nagging edge all through the game with his white pieces and the question was whether it was going to be enough or not in another Slav of the day. The position remained unpleasant for Yue for a long time and in the end he succumbed to the pressure after 61 moves.
Aronian faced the Anti-Meran gambit in the blindfold game against Topalov and was lucky to survive a lost position after blundering.
"He was winning. But he didn't see it and I escaped, as usual," Aronian said after the game. The rapid game was a brief 17-move affair that ended in a draw giving the Armenian his second title here.
The results: Final round Blindfold: Wang Yue (Chn) drew with Viswanathan Anand (Ind); Veselin Topalov (Bul) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm); Teimour Radjabov (Aze) beat Magnus Carlsen (Nor); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus) beat Peter Leko (Hun); Alexander Morozevich (Rus) beat Gata Kamsky (USA); Sergey Karjakin (Ukr) beat Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr).
Rapid: Anand beat Wang Yue; Aronian drew with Topalov; Carlsen beat Rajdabov; Leko lost to Kramnik; Kamsky drew with Morozevich; Ivanchuk lost to Karjakin.
Final standings (Combined): 1. Aronian (14), 2-3 Kramnik, Anand (13.5 each), 4. Carlsen (13), 5. Morozevich (11), 6-7 Topalov, Karjakin (10.5 each), 8-9 Kamsky, Leko (10 each), 10. Ivanchuk (9.5), 11. Radjabov (9) and 12. Wang Yue (7.5).
Blindfold Standings: 1-3. Aronian, Carlsen, Kramnik 7 each; 4-5. Anand, Morozevich 6.5 each; 6-7. Leko, Topalov 5.5 each; 8-9. Ivanchuk, Radjabov 5 each; 10. Karjakin 4.5; 11. Wang Yue 3.5; 12. Kamsky 3.
Rapid Standings: 1-3. Anand, Aronian, Kamsky 7 each; 4. Kramnik 6.5; 5-6. Carlsen, Karjakin 6 each; 7. Topalov 5; 8-10. Ivanchuk, Leko, Morozevich 4.5 each; 11-12. Radjabov, Wang Yue 4 each.
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