Viswanathan Anand entered the finals of the annual Corsica Masters chess tournament with a comprehensive 2-0 win over Etienne Bacrot of France in the semi-finals. This has put Anand in line for his fifth Corsica title in a row.
In the final, the Indian ace will compete with Sergei Rublevsky, who beat Alexander Motylev 1.5-0.5.
Anand has now won five of the six games he has played in three mini matches in Bastia. His only draw was against Nenad Sulava of Croatia in the pre-quarters after which he blanked Mikhail Gurevich 2-0 and now Bacrot.
Anand outplayed the local hope, and French No. 1 Bacrot in front of more than 500 spectators at the Bastia theatre.
Anand first demolished Bacrot with black in the first game and then crushed the Frenchman with white in the second game for good measure. In the crucial first game Anand surprised with the Marshall Gambit of the Ruy Lopez. Bacrot declined and entered an obscure sideline with 9.d4. He soon landed in an inferior position, and Anand wrapped things up on the queenside.
The other semifinal match was much harder-fought. The all-Russian duel between Motylev and Rublevsky came down to the final seconds. If the game score is to be trusted, former Russian champion Motylev went from forcing mate to being mated on a single move at the end.Anand and Rublevsky have met in a rapid match before. Way back in 1996 they met in the Moscow PCA Grand Prix. Anand needed to win a blitz tiebreak game to go through. The 30-year-old Rublevsky is one of the many very strong "second tier" Russian Grandmasters.