Win eludes Anand once again

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Viswanathan Anand was held easily by Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine in the Linares Super Grandmaster chess tournament.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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Former world champion Viswanathan Anand failed to win with white pieces for the third time when he was held easily by Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine in the Linares Super Grandmaster chess tournament. At the half-way stage after seven rounds, Garry Kasparov, who drew with Spaniard Alexei Shirov, was in sole lead with 3.5 points, while Anand was alone at the rear with 2.5 points. The day produced only one decisive result, for the third day in succession. The loser yet again was Michael Adams of England, this time to Ukrainian Vassily Ivanchuk. After the first half of the tournament, where every player had a bye each, in this seven-player double round robin event five players are in second place with three points. Anand opened with the king pawn and was surprised very early as Ponomariov opted for the Accelerated Sicilian Veshnikov, a line that does not usually find takers at the top level. Anand developed his pieces nonchalantly in the early phase of the game, but found Ponomariov well armed in the complexities of a slightly worse middlegame structure. The game progressed slowly and two minor pieces were off the board by the 14th move. To Ponomariov's advantage, he got rid of his problem child, the dark square Bishop, and got a perfectly balanced game at hands. Anand fought for another six moves before agreeing to his fifth draw in the tournament. Anand's games here have been a cause of concern. In the second leg of the first important tournament of the year, Anand will have to work hard to break out of his shackles and stage a recovery. In the next round he plays Shirov with white pieces and that would be a big opportunity to come back to 50 per cent score from where he can bounce back. (PTI)

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