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Anand has task cut out

January 28, 2005 17:01 IST

Hard work is on the cards for world number two Viswanathan Anand, who is looking forward to a hat-trick of Corus chess titles, ahead of the final showdown on the Dutch soil.

Four times a winner at Wijk Aan Zee in the Netherlands already, if Anand wins this year's event too he will be the first to win the title five times in more than the six-decade history of the traditional event.

Currently on six points from 10 games, Anand shares the second spot in the tournament with Bulgarian Veselin Topalov and Englishman Michael Adams and has to battle it out against the best-ever woman player, Judit Polgar, of Hungary in the next round.

Another Hungarian Peter Leko leads the table with just three rounds remaining in this category-19 event. Leko has put in an inspired performance and is the only undefeated player apart from Adams.

The rounds to come can see a lot of changes in the final standing list as many more grueling and likely-to-be-interesting encounters remain in the tournament.

For instance, Anand has to play Polgar, who is fresh from her victory over Topalov, Adams and tail-ender Ivan Sokolov in the remaining matches. The Indian ace has got white against Adams and that game will be crucial for him in the penultimate round.

Against Sokolov too Anand will start as huge favourite despite his black pieces especially because the Dutchman is completely off-form.

Leko on the other hand has a much stronger opposition to tackle. The Hungarian has shown remarkable comeback after losing the classical match against Russia's Vladimir Kramnik a couple of months back and looks determined to make a strong impression.

Lazaro Bruzon of Cuba will be in the firing line against Leko in the coming rounds while Topalov will be looking for a victory against the leader in the next round.

In the final round too, life is not expected to be so easy for Leko when he takes on Polgar. Adams has been cool as a cucumber as usual.

Winning two and drawing the remaining games, the best British player has to play Loek Van Wely of the Netherlands in his 11th game and thereafter Anand and Russian Alexander Grischuk.

If Adams can win one of these games and does not lose the remaining, he will probably finish with a tied top place his best result in Corus.

Topalov is currently shattered after misplaying a near-winning position against Polgar in the previous round but history reveals that whenever the Bulgarian suffers a major setback, he comes back with a big bang.

With Sokolov being his next opponent, Toplaov must again be training his sight to join the leading pack and after that former Russian champion Peter Svidler will be the hurdle facing him in the last round game.

In the Group 'C' it almost looks like two tournaments are taking place.

Erwin L'Ami leads the table with 8 points in this section, being organised simultaneously with the main event.

In second place are Vladimri Georgiev of Macedonia, Natalia Zhukova of Ukraine and Russians Evgeny Alekseev and Alex ey Korotylev, who all have 7.5 points each. There is big gap in points thereafter as the next pack of three players are on 4.5 points, including young Indian Parimarjan Negi.

Pairings round 11: Vladimir Kramnik (Rus) v/s Alexander Grischuk (Rus); Peter Leko (Hun) v/s Lazaro Bruzon (Cub); Judit Polgar v/s Viswanathan Anand (Ind); Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukr) v/s Nigel Short (Eng); Ivan Sokolov v/s Veselin Topalov (Bul); Peter Svidler (Rus) v/s Alexander Morozevich (Rus); Loek Van Wely (Ned) v/s  Michael Adams (Eng).

Corus A Round 10 standings: 1. Leko 6.5; 2-4. Topalov, Adams, Anand 6 each; 5-7. Kramnik, Grischuk, Bruzon 5.5 each; 8. Polgar 5; 9-12. Van Wely, Svidler, Ponomariov, Short 4.5 each; 13. Morozevich 3.5; 14. Sokolov 2.5.

Corus C Round 10 standings: 1. Erwin L'Ami (Ned) 8; 2-5. Alexey Korotylev, Evgeny Alekseev (both Rus), Vladimir Georgiev (Mkd), Natalia Zhukova (Ukr) 7.5 each; 6-8. Wouter Spoelman, Harmen Jonkman (both Ned), Parimarjan Negi (Ind) 4.5 each; 9-10. Manuel Bosboom, Tea Bosboom-Lanchava (both Ned) 4 ea ch; 11. Bianca Muhren (Ned) 3.5; 12. Zeinab Mamedjarova (Aze) 3; 13. Leon Pliester (Ned) 2.5; 14. Joost Wempe (Ned) 1.5.

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