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Sports shorts: Anand keeps lead after draw with Andreikin

Last updated on: March 18, 2014 23:25 IST

Sports shorts: Anand keeps lead after draw with Andreikin

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Five-time World champion Viswanathan Anand played out an easy draw as black against lowest-ranked Dmitry Andreikin of Russia in the fifth round, but kept the lead at the Candidates chess tournament in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia, on Tuesday.

It turned out to be a no-hassle day for Anand as the Indian was seen pressing for an advantage towards the end of the game.

The draw took Anand to 3.5 points out of a possible five and he keeps his half point lead.

Anand chose the Berlin defense, an opening he has not been able to break himself as white for some time, and Andreikin employed the closed set-up that was on expected lines. The Russian got a slightly favourable position in the middle game but was made to sweat for more by Anand, who played at a good speed.

It was a mild time pressure for Andreikin that led him in to difficulties and Anand was fighting for an advantage towards the end of the first time control. However, the Russian got his act together just in time to find the path to equality after trading the queens. The peace was signed in 42 moved.

"I was trying but I didn't see anything concrete; my hope was when his king came out but after the queen exchange its just a draw," said Anand in the post-game conference, adding, "I was very happy with my position in the middle game but it did not become more".

In the other games of the day, Peter Svidler of Russia defeated Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria while Sergey Karjakin of Russia played out a draw with Azeri Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

Russian Vladimir Kramnik was close to winning against Levon Aronian of Armenia, but after a long struggle the latter was able to hold his fort together.

With Anand in front on 3.5 points, Svidler, Kramnik and Aronian follow him a half point behind. Topalov, Karjakin and Mamedyarov are on two points each from their five games while Andreikin remains at the bottom on one and a half points.

Results (Round 5):

Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 1.5) drew with V Anand (Ind, 3.5); Peter Svidler (Rus, 3) beat Veselin Topalov (Bul, 2); Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 2) drew with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 2); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 2.5) playing Levon Aronian (Arm, 2.5).


Image: Viswanathan Anand
Photographs: Kent Skibstad/Reuters

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Sports shorts: Amit Kumar shines at wrestling World Cup

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World Championships silver medallist Amit Kumar won four of his five bouts as India finished sixth in the FILA men's Freestyle Wrestling World Cup.

India lost to Mongolia 3-5 in the 5th-6th play-off match after finishing third in their group.

The Indians started the competition with one wrestler down, as Krishan Kumar (125kg) did not get the visa clearance to the United States.

Against Mongolia, Amit (57kg) made a solid start, beating Nomi Batbold, but Bajrang (62kg) and Rajneesh (65kg) lost their respective contests.

However, Amit Kumar Dhankar (70kg) and Parveen Rana (74kg) put India back into the contest with clinical wins.

Pawan Kumar (86kg category) then suffered his fifth straight defeat, which was followed by the loss of junior World bronze medallist Satywart Kadian.

India thus finished sixth in their maiden appearance at the competition.

The 10-nation tournament was held at LA Forum on March 15-16.

Earlier, India had overcome Turkey 5-3, and gained 4-4 criteria decision to beat Armenia while suffering defeats at the hands of hosts USA (2-6) and Iran (0-8) to finish third in pool A.

World no. 2 Amit overwhelmed opponents from USA, Turkey, Armenia and Mongolia to guide his side to a respectable finish.

Meanwhile, Iran maintained their dominance at the event, capturing their third consecutive title, beating Russia 6-2 in the final.

The United States finished third, while Ukraine had to settle for fourth spot.


Image: Andrew Hochstrasser of the United States picks Amit Kumar of India off the mat during the 2014 FILA Freestyle Wrestling World Cup at The Forum in Inglewood, California
Photographs: Harry How/Getty Images

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Villas-Boas to take over Russia's Zenit St Petersburg

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Former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur coach Andre Villas-Boas will take over Russian side Zenit St Petersburg this week after agreeing on a two-season contract, the club said on Tuesday.

Villas-Boas takes over after Zenit sacked coach Luciano Spalletti earlier this month and appointed caretaker Sergey Semak, who will be in charge on Wednesday in their Champions League return leg at Borussia Dortmund for a spot in the quarter-finals.

"Zenit has agreed terms on a contract with new head coach Andre Villas-Boas," the club said in a brief statement.

"The contract will be signed and Mr Villas-Boas will be presented in St Petersburg as Zenit's new head coach on March 20."

"Mr Villas-Boas's contract begins in March, 2014, and is valid for two seasons."

The 36-year-old Portuguese was sacked by Tottenham in December last year.

The Russians, who managed just one win in the competition this season, including the group stage, lost the first leg 4-2 at home.


Image: Andre Villas-Boas
Photographs: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

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IOA invites IOC chief Ramachandran

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In a significant development, the Indian Olympic Association president, N Ramachandran, has been invited by International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach on March 26 to Lausanne, apparently, to discuss the roadmap of development of sports in the country, which last month came out of a 14-month suspension.

The newly-elected IOA Executive Body was to hold its first meeting on March 27 but now it has been postponed to April 3 in view of Ramachandran's meeting with Bach.

"Ramachandran has been invited by Bach for a meeting with him in Lausanne on March 27. The agenda is known only to Ramachandran and Bach," an IOA source told PTI.

"But it's most likely that a roadmap for India on how to take Olympic sport forward could be discussed," the source said, adding that only Ramachandran has been invited by the IOC chief.

"Ramachandran is expected to brief the IOA on April 3 meeting of the Executive Committee about his meeting with Bach."

Just days after the lifting of ban on the IOA by the IOC last month, Ramachandran met Bach in Sochi at the dinner hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin for NOC chiefs and IOC top brass after the conclusion of the Winter Olympic Games.

Asked about the agenda of the meeting, Ramachandran, who was here to attend the 2014 Incheon Asian Games Roadshow, refused to divulge any details.


Image: Former International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge (left) greets Narayana Ramachandran on September 8, 2013
Photographs: Marcos Brindicci/Reuters

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