Leon, Spain:In a repeat of last year's final, Viswanathan Anand will take on Veselin Topalov in the finals of Magistral Ciudad de Leon Chess Tournament.
The Bulgarian Grandmaster defeated Rustam Kasimdzhanov in the semifinals.
Anand had won the title last year by defeating Topalov 2.5 -1.5. Anand is eyeing his seventh title here.
Topalov defeated his Uzbek opponent 2.5-1.5 in the four-game semi-final of rapid chess. Topalov took an early lead in the match by winning the first two games. He lost the third game but managed to hold a draw in the last game to advance to the finals.
Unlike the first semi-final between Anand and Ponomariov, which the Indian won quite easily, the Topalov-Kasimdzhanov match was a close contest. In fact it was Kasimdzhanov who held the upper hand in most of the games.
The first game was a Queen's Gambit declined with Topalov opting for the Catalan Opening. Kasimdzhanov chose a solid setup with black and obtained a grip on the light squares on the queenside.
Topalov reacted by launching a king side attack, but Kasimdzhanov defended resourcefully and slowly outplayed his opponent.
Topalov was clearly struggling by move 30 and was lucky to escape an outright loss after he made a tactical mistake on the 38th move.
Kasimdzhanov's play went downhill thereafter and Topalov fought back to win in 70 moves.
The Bulgarian, playing the black pieces in the second game, chose to defend with the Modern Benoni.