Anand beats Leko in 5th round at Linares

Anand coasted to his third victory with black and jumped into sole lead by defeating Peter Leko in the fifth round of the Morelia-Linares Chess tournament

updated: February 21, 2008 13:42 IST
  • Total Shares


World Champion Viswanathan Anand coasted to his third victory with black and jumped into sole lead by defeating Peter Leko of Hungary in the fifth round of the Morelia-Linares Chess tournament here.

It was a sheer display of immaculate technique that paced the way for Anand to reach the top of the tables.

The Indian ace is yet to win a game with white pieces here but with the inferior colour in the game standing behind him firmly, the defending champion looks set to roll for another title victory here.

On a dramatic day in the category-21 double round-robin tournament, Norwegian sensation Magnus Carlsen also coasted to a victory over former world champion Veselin Toaplov of Bulgaria employing the extremely rare Alekhine defense.

For Carlsen, this was the first victory in the event too and coming with black, it served as a big booster to the wily teenager.

In other games of the day, Levon Aronian of Armenia played out an uneventful draw with Alexei Shirov of Spain while Vassily Ivachuk of Ukraine signed peace with Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan.

With nine rounds still remaining in the tournament, Anand is now in sole lead on 3.5 points and following a half point behind is Aronian.

Topalov, Shirov and Carlsen are now in joint third spot on 2.5 points apiece while the remaining three contestants Ivanchuk, Leko and Aronian share the fifth spot with 2 points each.

Anand was once again superb in handling the black side of a Sicilian Najdorf, an opening that fetched him a win against Shirov also in the first round of the event.

Leko went for a safe line in the English attack and exchanged queens early in the middle game but that did not deter Anand even as most off the pieces were off the board in quick time.

The players arrived at a rook and minor piece endgame where Leko had optically better chances but Anand had judged the position better.

Taking his king to the center, there was no stopping Anand's pawns once the march began. Leko's pieces were a mere spectator as Anand penetrated his rook in the final stages of the game to deliver the knockout punch. The game lasted 45 moves.

Topalov was subdued in one of the rarest openings in top level chess. For almost a decade, the elite class of players have resisted playing 'Nf6' on the first move when white moves his king pawn forward, but Carlsen uncorked it against Toaplov and got a reasonable middle game.

The Bulgarian erred while going for exchanges and handed the initiative to Carlsen who showed maturity in handling the resulting endgame.

Having already won a pawn, Topalov knew he was fighting a lost cause and like Leko, threw the towel in after 45 moves. The game between Aronian and Shirov lasted just 18 moves of an English opening before the players shook hands but Radjabov tried a long time against Ivanchuk before signing peace vide perpetual checks.