Anand to meet Topalov

Viswanathan Anand will take on former king of world chess Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in the sixth round of the Morelia-Linares chess tournament.

updated: March 26, 2008 09:42 IST
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Sitting pretty with a half point lead after five rounds, World champion Viswanathan Anand will take on former king of world chess Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in the sixth round of the Morelia-Linares chess tournament here.

The going so far has been quite dramatic for Anand as he has won all his black games in the event and in the sixth round, after the second rest day, the Indian ace will have black pieces for the last time in his Morelia stint of this category-21 event.

The double-round event among eight players has seen some really exciting chess so far and the trend is likely to continue with everyone out to give his best. Anand currently heads the standings on 3.5 points from five games and is a half point clear of Levon Aronian of Armenia.

Alxei Shirov of Spain, Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Topalov share the third spot on 3.5 points each while the remaining three contestants -- Peter Leko of Hungary, Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan and Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine -- share the sixth spot with two points apiece.

Anand's results with white might be a cause for worry for the stalwart, but his results with black has left everyone stunned.

It has not quite happened in the recent past that in a Classical event when Anand scored three wins on-the-trot with black pieces and if he gets his remaining white's right, he is likely to add another feather to his already bulgy bulgy cap.

Levon Aronian is the only one who has beaten Anand here. It was in the second round that the former world junior champion scored an unlikely victory with black when Anand missed a tactical stroke.

With a victory over Ivanchuk too, the Armenian is the one who can pose a challenge in Anand's quest but much would depend on how he fares in the second half at Linares.

Magnus Carlsen had recently won the Corus chess tournament ahead of Anand and he is another player who is looked upon with great interest. It was in the fifth round that Carlsen defeated Topalov with black pieces uncorking the Alekhine defense and if this game is any indication, he will be the one to watch out for in the remaining nine games.

Anand, however, has a huge psychological advantage against Carlsen having won as many as four games against the teenager in the last one year. In Corus, Anand had beaten Carlsen and here in the third round too it was a similar story.

After Topalov, Anand will meet Ivanchuk in the final round at Morelia and thereafter the Caravan will move to Linares to play the second half from February 29 onwards.