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Anand moves into the lead

March 22, 2006 15:13 IST

Defending champion Viswanathan Anand won his blindfold game against Boris Gelfand and drew the rapid match with the Israeli Grandmaster to join Alexander Morozevich at the top with five points after four rounds in the 15th Amber Blindfold and Rapid chess tournament.

In the blindfold, Anand and Gelfand featured in what turned out to be the first Petroff in the 216,000 euro tournament.

While the Petroff is known to favour black, Anand did not find the going easy before plotting a decisive initiative on the kingside that saw him get the better of Gelfand's defence.

In the rapid game, the Israeli seemed determined to turn tables on the Indian and had a clear advantage after Anand committed a rare inaccuracy. However, Gelfand failed to cash in on the opportunity he got as a gift, and Anand was quick to atone for the mistake and secure a draw.

Anand had a brilliant start last year, winning his first seven games and split points only in his eighth game.

Standings after round 4:

Combined: 1. Viswanathan Anand and Alexander Morozevich (5) 3. Levon Aronian, Peter Leko, Veselin Topalov (4.5) 6. Boris Gelfand, Peter Heine Nielsen, Francisco Vallejo (4) 9. Alexander Grischuk, Loek Van Wely (3.5) 11. Vassily Ivanchuk (3) 12. Peter Svidler (2.5).

Blindfold: 1. Alexander Morozevich, Veselin Topalov(3) 3. Peter Leko (2.5) 4. Viswanathan Anand, Levon Aronian,Vassily Ivanchuk, Peter Svidler, Francisco Vallejo (2) 9. Boris Gelfand, Alexander Grischuk, Loek Van Wely (1.5) 12. Nielsen, Peter Heine 1.0.

Rapid: 1. Viswanathan Anand and Peter Heine Nielsen (3) 3. Levon Aronian and Boris Gelfand (2.5) 5. Alexander Grischuk, Peter Leko, Alexander Morozevich, Francisco Vallejo, Loek Van Wely, Loek (2) 10. Veselin Topalov (1.5) 11. Vassily Ivanchuk (1) 12. Peter Svidler (0.5).