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Anand finishes last in Bilbao

September 14, 2008 15:18 IST

World Champion Viswanathan Anand signed off with a mundane draw against Magnus Carlsen of Norway to finish last in the Bilbao Grand Slam Final and the outcome might cost the Indian his numero uno status in FIDE rankings.

Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria came up with a resounding victory over Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine in the final round to win the tournament with 17 points and is likely to regain the number one slot in the world rankings.

Following his eighth draw in the tournament besides two losses, Anand is likely to lose close to 15 rating points from his outing in Bilbao and for the first time in recent years the Indian finished last in a high-category tournament.

With his scintillating display in Bilbao, Topalov pocketed winner's purse of Euro 150, 000. The Bulgarian won more games -- four -- than any other player in the tournament and lost just one game.

Nearest rivals Carlsen and Levon Aronian of Armenia who both ended on 13 points in the tournament and shared the second spot.

Carlsen had the better tie-break of the two and finished runners up.

Ivanchuk finished sole fourth on 12 points while a late charge against Aronian helped Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan to finish fifth on 10 points.

Anand with eight points finished last.

Ahead of the World Championship match against Vladimir Kramnik next month, Anand's mediocre show casts a doubt on the form of the Indian, who now needs a change of fortune urgently before the match.

The game against Carlsen was no problem although. Anand employed the Slav defense and faced the exchange variation, kept Carlsen's pieces at bay and exchanged at regular intervals to reach a balanced position where the draw was agreed to after just 29 moves.

Topalov played a fine technical game to beat Ivanchuk who played black. The Semi-Slav defense by Ivanchuk did not help much as Topalov gained a small but lasting advantage after trading the queens in the middle game.

The Bulgarian displayed top form when it came to technicalities and outclassed Ivanchuk in the rooks and opposite coloured Bishops endgame. For the records, the game lasted 43 moves.

Aronian-Radjabov was very complicated affair arising out of an English opening where Aronian played white. Going for a complete swap on the king side, Aronian missed the thread of the position amid wild complications and found his king a checkmating web after 49 hard-fought moves.

Results (Final round): Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 13) drew with V Anand (Ind, 8); Levon Aronian (Arm, 13) lost to Teimour Radjabov (Aze, 10); Veselin Topalov (Bul, 17) beat Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr, 12).

Final Standings: 1. Topalov; 2-3. Carlsen, Aronian; 4. Ivanchuk; 5. Radjabov; 6. Anand.

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