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Anand clinches Rapid title with one round to spare

March 29, 2007 11:58 IST

Viswanathan Anand played two quiet draws with Peter Leko and clinched the top spot in the Rapid section of the Amber Blindfold and Rapid Grandmasters chess tournament.

He is also second overall. Anand has a two-point lead in Rapid, which cannot be caught up with just one round to go. The same is the case with Vladmir Kramnik in Blindfold.

Kramnik also leads the overall standings by two points and he needs just a draw in one of his final two games to emerge champion.

The penultimate round of the 16th Amber Blindfold and Rapid Tournament saw no changes at the top of the table as the leaders all drew their games.

Kramnik collected one point in his mini-match against Peter Svidler, and so did runners-up Anand and Vasily Ivanchuk against Peter Leko and Boris Gelfand respectively.

With one round (two games) to go, Kramnik is two points ahead in the combined classification. Kramnik needs a win in the Blindfold last round to equal the record that Alexander Morozevich set last year (9.5 out of 11).

Anand and Leko drew a Marshall Gambit in their Blindfold game. 'Fortunately I remembered the line', said Leko as he walked into the hospitality lounge, referring to less accurate moments in this tournament.

In his opinion the line he played is the best way for Black in the Marshall.

All his pieces are put in the most active positions and he has full compensation for the pawn deficit. An assessment that apparently Anand fully agreed with, when on move 22 he offered a draw.

The Rapid game also saw a Marshall, this time with Leko behind the white pieces. This was an oft-repeated and analysed line, where Anand did not miss anything.

In their Blindfold game Ivanchuk and Boris Gelfand followed the game that the latter lost against Kramnik three days ago.

If Ivanchuk believed that following a game that his opponent lost was a promising strategy, these hopes were soon thwarted when Gelfand played correctly. They drew in 22 moves.

The Rapid game also ended in a draw, but this time there was considerably more drama. Gelfand got a good game out of the opening, some sort of Volga Gambit, but completely missed the queen sacrifice which gave Black a winning advantage.

But the game wasn't over yet as Gelfand managed to create complications and even forced a draw.

Teimour Radjabov beat early tournament leader Levon Aronian in both games. The Blindfold was a protracted battle that ended in Radjabov's favour.

In Rapid, Aronian blundered after just six moves, with full sight of the board. The Armenian grandmaster blundered a full piece. He didn't resign right away, but obviously the game was lost.

He attributed the loss to playing so many events, Wijk aan Zee and Morelia-Linares and now Amber.

Results of Round 10: Blindfold: Anand drew with Leko; Ivanchuk drew with Gelfand; Radjabov beat Aronian; Kramnik drew with Svidler; Van Wely beat Vallejo; Morozevich beat Carlsen

Results of Round 10: Rapid: Leko drew with Anand; Gelfand drew with Ivanchuk; Aronian lost to Radjabov; Svidler drew with Kramnik; Vallejo beat Van Wely; Carlsen beat Morozevich

Round after 10 rounds: Blindfold: 1. Kramnik 8.5; 2. Ivanchuk, Svidler and Gelfand 6.5; 5. Morozevich 6.0; 6. Aronian 5.0; 7. Radjabov and Anand 4.5; 9. Carlsen and Leko 3.5; 11. Van Wely 3.0; 12. Vallejo Pons 2.0

Round after 10 rounds: Rapid: 1. Anand 8.0; 2. Kramnik and Ivanchuk 6.0; 4. Carlsen, Leko and Aronian 5.5; 7. Morozevich and Svidler 4.5; 9. Gelfand and Radjabov 4.0; 11. Vallejo Pons 3.5; 12. Van Wely 3.0

Round after 10 rounds: Combined: 1. Kramnik 14.5; 2. Ivanchuk and Anand 12.5; 4. Svidler 11.0; 5. Morozevich, Gelfand and Aronian 10.5; 8. Carlsen and Leko,  9.0; 10. Radjabov 8.5; 11. Van Wely 6.0; 12. Vallejo Pons 5.5