Anand draws yet again

Defending champion Viswanathan Anand draws yet again with GM Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine in 3rd game of the semi-finals of the World Chess Championships.

updated: February 25, 2007 08:37 IST
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Defending champion Viswanathan Anand drew yet again with Grandmaster Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine in the third game of the semi-finals of the World Chess Championships at the State Kremlin Palace here today. The draw today kept the score level at 1.5-1.5. One more game remains to be played in the four-game semifinals under normal time control and in case of a continued deadlock, tiebreak games of shorter duration will be played. Anand was in his element and celebrated his 32nd birthday in style with an easy draw in 27 moves with the black pieces. The opening featured the routine manoeuvres of the French defence and Anand opted for the Rubenstein variation for the second time against Ivanchuk. Having slipped out from a clearly superior position in the same opening in the first game of the match, Ivanchuk appeared confident as he played the first few moves quickly. Anand went for the central pawn thrust on the 10th move and sacrificed that pawn on the very next to gain access to the open central file. A few moves later Anand recovered the pawn easily and steered the game to a Rooks and minor pieces endgame that was absolutely balanced. The outcome of the game was quite clear by the 22nd move itself as both players were left with a rook, a minor piece and five pawns each. After a further shadow boxing of five moves Ivanchuk proposed the draw that was immediately accepted. "A win would have been nice," said Anand after the game. "Every time I played in this event on my birthday I had a good result so I was just hoping, but it's okay. A draw is fine. The birthday comes once a year and well you just have to do your job." On the opening, Anand said, "Yes, it was an important idea and I equalised without doing much, it certainly will be of theoretical importance". In the other semi-final, 18-year-old Ukrainian GM Ruslan Ponomariov had an upset victory over GM Peter Svidler of Russia in the third game. Playing black, Ponomariov stuck to his Petroff defence but Svidler changed his opening plan and went for an attacking system that has been extensively analysed. Going for the initiative in the centre, Svidler invited unwarranted complications in the middlegame only to find himself in grave difficulties as Ponomariov effected a shrewd sacrifice on the 16th move. Since taking the exchange immediately was dangerous, Svidler exchanged a pair of Bishops and then took the rook with his bishop. However, Svidler was saddled with a weak pawn structure on the kingside in the process and that gave Ponomariov an excellent compensation for the lost material. Going for the mate directly, Ponomariov guided all his pieces on the queenside and soon Svidler was forced to part with his Queen for two rooks. The ensuing endgame witnessed a perfect display of technique by Ponomariov as he created two pawn weaknesses on the queenside and marched his king in the opposition camp to romp home in 44 moves. (PTI)