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Anand beats Radjabov in Linares opener

February 20, 2009 11:19 IST

World champion Viswanathan Anand opened his campaign with a thumping win over Grandmaster Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan to take the sole lead after the first round of the 22nd Magistral Ciudad de Linares Chess tournament in Linares.

With all the other games of the eight-player double round robin tournament ending in draws, Anand emerged as the sole leader on one point after the conclusion of the first round and will next meet Armenian Levon Aronian.

The Indian ace was at his positional best, accurate in converting a slightly advantageous position in to a full point. Radjabov opted for his tested Sicilian Sveshnikov and it was a long theoretical battle that ensued in the early part of the game.

Quite a few pieces changed hands as the players followed an earlier game between GM Peter Bobras and GM Yuri Yakovich and it was only on the 28th move that Radjabov deviated and showcased his new idea.

An undeterred Anand quickly launched his pieces for an attack against the black king and even though Radjabov managed to reach a queen and minor piece endgame, his problems could never really subside.

Anand's final salvo was thrown at the black king through a pawn sacrifice on the 55th move and six moves later the Indian registered a victory that will find its place in strategic masterpieces ever played.

Levon Aronian could not find much to play for against Magnus Carlsen of Norway. Aronian went for his pet Catalan opening with white pieces and Carlsen seemed well-armed after the Armenian went for a rare continuation in the opening.

The middle game gave white a minuscule advantage but black had only one weakness which was easy to defend. Carlsen gave up a rook for knight to get a blocked position and the game was drawn after 37 moves.

Excitement was at its peak in the game between debutante Lenier Dominguez of Cuba and Alexander Grischuk of Russia.

The French Winawer variation saw Dominuguez pressing in the initial stages but counter active measures by Grischuk ensured that he remained in the game.

The Russian missed a chance of playing for a win in a tricky position on the 26th move and further exchanges lead to a drawn rook and minor piece endgame.

The game lasted 30 moves. The other game of the day was a tame affair as another debutante Wang Yue of China held Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine.

It was a Bogo-Indian defense by the latter that gave black a balanced position after the opening. Heaps of exchanges followed and the players were already in a rooks and pawns endgame after the 22nd move and nine moves later the peace was signed.

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