Anand wins Corsica Masters

World Champion Viswanathan Anand defeats Grandmaster Alexander Chernin of Hungary in the final of the Corsica Masters Rapid Chess tournament in Bastia.

updated: February 25, 2007 08:37 IST
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World Champion Viswanathan Anand added another feather to his cap when he defeated Grandmaster Alexander Chernin of Hungary in the final of the Corsica Masters Rapid Chess tournament here. Warming up for the World Championships later this month in Moscow, Anand took things easy and the victory, though sweet, did not quite come in the natural style as the Indian stalwart has the reputation of destroying his opponents in the rapid version of the game. The final comprising of a two-game mini-match ended in a 1-1 deadlock and Anand playing black in the tie-break only had to draw to win the title which he forced in 36 moves. Anand drew with black in the tie-break for the second time in the tournament - the first had come against another Hungarian GM Peter Leko in the quarterfinals. The Indian GM held on to his own in the final and with some excellent defensive manoeuvres and imaginative counterplay on the kingside forced a draw by perpetual checks. The opening was a deviation from the Trompowski variation and a sudden frenzy of piece-trade left both the players with only heavy pieces. Anand had one weak link in the form of a king-pawn but he nonchalantly exchanged it and subsequently the rooks too. The ensuing queen and pawn endgame in which Anand made a pawn sacrifice to force a draw. Earlier, in the first game with normal time control of 20 minutes and 5 seconds addition after every move, Anand faced the Modern defence with white pieces and obtained a miniscule advantage out of the opening. However, timely exchange of pieces helped Chernin to neutralise white's initiative and a tactical breakthrough in the final stages of the game steered the game to a draw in 44 moves. In the second game, Chernin failed to impress with white pieces as Anand dealt his English opening with effective ease on both flanks. The game did not have much for the spectators either as the Hungarian had to contend with a 22-move draw through repetition. This was Anand's last competitive outing before the World Championship and he is now expected to prepare intensely to retain the coveted crown. An interesting entrant in this year's world championship is former champion Anatoly Karpov of Russia who decided against playing in this format in the past two editions. (PTI)