Anand settles for draw in first game

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Updated: February 25, 2007 08:37 IST
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Defending Champion Viswanathan Anand let go a winning chance to draw his first game with Grandmaster Vladislav Tkachiev of France in the third round of the World Chess Championship at the State Kremlin Palace here today. Playing white, Anand was a picture of confidence as he agreed to a draw in 48 moves. He opened with his pet king pawn, ready to face, the intricacies in Tkachievs Arkhengelsk variation, the Ruy Lopez. Anand produced a good theoretical novelty on the 14th move and stood better for the major part of the game. The middlegame witnessed many tactical complications and Anand appeared to be cruising through. However, Russian born Tkachiev was quite up to the task. Playing true to his reputation of a street fighter the Frenchman produced a gallant defence on the 22nd move with a Bishop sacrifice. Anand enjoyed a Bishop pair advantage against the rook but the open position of his king became vulnerable to attack. Soon it was a forceful play when Anand went for the trade of queens with his perfectly timed queen manoeuvre on the 27th move. The software program Fritz 6 and Chess Assistant gave Anand a huge advantage with his extra material after the 30th move. Tkachiev on the other hand continued with his survival tactics and gave back his rook for one Bishop to go a piece down for two pawns. Anand should have won with an extra piece in the rook and pawns endgame but for the excellent defence by Tkachiev. Pushing his pawns further up, Tkachiev tied down Anand's king before it could make a decisive headway and collected the third pawn to force a draw. "I don't know yet whether it was a forced win, said Anand in a short briefing to media persons adding that "Tkachiev's pawn on the sixth rank was dangerous". (PTI)

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