Anand, Humpy advance into semis

Defending champion Viswanathan Anand moved into the semi-finals of the World Cup chess tournament with a facile victory over Vladimir Malakhov of Russia.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:28 IST
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Defending champion Viswanathan Anand moved into the semi-finals of the World Cup chess tournament with a facile victory over Vladimir Malakhov of Russia here today. Anand, who had settled for a draw in the first game of the quarter-finals yesterday, defeated his opponent in the second today to win by a 1.5-0.5 margin. It was a tactical game involving the Sicilian defence in dragon variation and Anand outplayed Malakhov in an advantageous endagame with very active pieces. "It is nice that the draw did not take place which would have forced another tie-breaker. The moment my two-way attack met with a little challenge, I knew that I would be going for a result and not for the draw," he said. Anand's board had all the trappings of a strategic play imbibed with deception and blitzkrieg moves where the two players tried to lure each other into a trap. "I tried to provoke him by laying some dubious looking moves which he promptly turned down and created a situation where we were equal on material though there was a little edge for me," Anand said. It was, however in the endgame that the Indian master showed his class by a two-pronged strategy which saw him placing his pieces in very active positions and immobilizing his opponents' pieces. "Though we were more or less equally placed at the endgame which could have resulted in a draw, I had a slight advantage of an active rook which clinched the deal," Anand said. Anand kept his opponent's passed 'e' pawn checked throughout and launched his tirade, bringing even his king into play. The former world champion also succeeded in immobilizing his opponent's rook on the 'h' file and pushed his 'a' pawn forward, which paved the way for his resounding victory. When the opponent was unable to control the passed 'A' pawn which was threatening to become queen, the Russian resigned. In another quarter-final match, Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan drew with Ye Jiang Chun to enter into semi-finals. Kasimdzhanov had defeated Chun in the first game. Humpy wins Sixteen-year-old Grandmaster Koneru Humpy pulled off an incredible victory against Li Ruofan of China in a tie-breaker to win her quarterfinal match in the women's section. Humpy staged a superb fightback after the match went into the tie-breaker when she lost the second round of her quarter-final match to Ruofan today after winning the first round. In the tiebreaker, Humpy playing white won the first game with ease but was pushed into a tight corner in the second game by Ruofan who played a Petroff opening. The Chinese had passed pawns well ahead on the board but overlooked the fact that her king lacked mobility and support which was capitalised by the Indian teenager in amazing style. Humpy's win set up a semi-final clash with defending champion Xu Yuhua, who beat S Meenakshi earlier in the day. (PTI)