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Anand clings to slender lead

March 02, 2008 14:29 IST

World champion Viswanathan Anand drew with nearest rival Magnus Carlsen of Norway to maintain his slender lead at the end of the 10th round of the Morelia-Linares tournament.

Anand took his tally to 6.5 points, and is placed half-a-point ahead of the Norwegian teenager. Draws were the order of the day as none of the four games produced a decisive result in the keenly-contested tournament.

Grandmaster Levon Aronian of Armenia remained in the third place with a draw against Teimour Radjabov, while Veselin Topalov retained fourth place after drawing with Vassily Ivanchuk from an inferior position.

Hungarian Grandmaster Peter Leko showed some signs of recovery from his poor form by confidently drawing against Alexei Shirov with the black pieces.

Anand decided to play solidly against Carlsen and chose a positional line against the Sveshnikov variation of the Sicilian defence. Carlsen managed to generate the kind of play which is characteristic of the variation and a level position arose from the opening.

With neither player seeing a way to gain the upper hand, a draw was agreed to on the 22nd move.

The game between Radjabov and Aronian featured the sharp Moscow variation of the Semi-Slav defence. Aronian accepted a pawn gambit in the opening, leading to dynamic play with chances for both sides.

Radjabov played for the initiative and obtained sufficient compensation for the pawn. Aronian maintained his pawn advantage till the end of the game, but the passive position of his pieces denied him any chances of victory. The players agreed to split the point after 31 moves.

Ukrainian Grandmaster Vassily Ivanchuk played the Sozin attack against the Sicilian Najdorf and emerged with a superior position from the opening in his game against Veselin Topalov.

Topalov sacrificed a pawn in a bid to gain counter-play but only managed to land into an inferior endgame. Ivanchuk seemed to lose the rhythm of his play in the endgame and Topalov had no difficulty in obtaining a draw.

Peter Leko played the Marshall attack against Shirov's Spanish Opening. Shirov managed to exchange queens and reached the endgame with an extra pawn.

Leko did not mind his material deficit as his powerful bishop pair gave him adequate compensation. The players agreed to draw after 38 moves in a level endgame.