Indian Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand paid for costly blunders at crucial junctures and lost a closely-fought final against Vassily Ivanchuk in Spain on Sunday. The defeat saw him relinquish the Magistral Ciudad De Leon chess crown.
Ukrainian Grandmaster Ivanchuk, fresh from his triumph in the MTel Masters, won 2.5 - 1.5 to deny the Indian his eighth Leon title.
The first game set the tone of the match as Ivanchuk took the lead over the world champion with the black pieces.
Anand launched a kingside attack against the Taimanov variation of Sicilian defence, but could not make headway as Ivanchuk created sufficient counter play on the queen side.
The Indian drifted into a disadvantageous position as Ivanchuk's heavy pieces penetrated down the queenside. The game came to a rather abrupt end when Anand made a serious miscalculation on the 38th move which cost him a piece and brought about his immediate resignation.
Anand bounced back in the second game with a thumping victory in 26 moves from the black side of the Sicilian defence. Ivanchuk adopted a positional approach against the Sicilian Najdorf and Anand neutralised it easily with skillful play.
Ivanchuk was left without a concrete plan and lost an exchange in his attempt to stir up some activity for his pieces. Anand consolidated his advantage and Ivanchuk resigned in a hopeless middle game position.
The third game was the most keenly contested, but marred with some errors from both sides. The two Grandmasters repeated the opening from their first game with Anand varying from that game on the 17th move. His improvement fetched him a small advantage but the position was quite complicated.
Ivanchuk exchanged queens on the 24th move but failed to equalise. Anand won a pawn, but later made some technical errors in the endgame and allowed Ivanchuk to escape with a draw.
The fourth game created a sensation as Anand lost it in just 16 moves to hand over the crown to his opponent. Ivanchuk decided not to test Anand's play in the Sicilian defence and played the Queen's Pawn Opening.
Anand chose to reply with the Nimzo Indian defence and the game proceeded along an established theoretical path.
Anand then got a slightly inferior position due to a transposition of moves but the game seemed to be headed for a long fight.
A terrible blunder on the 14th move, however, cost Anand a piece and realising the hopeless nature of his position, he resigned two moves later.