Kasparov wins Linares tournament

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/c/chessgeneric1.jpg' class='caption'> Garry Kasparov outsmarted Alexei Shirov to take a clear first place with a huge 1.5 points margin in the Linares Super Grandmasters Chess Tournament.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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Former World champion Viswanathan Anand had to be content with a joint third position while top seed Garry Kasparov outsmarted GM Alexei Shirov of Spain to take a clear first place with a huge 1.5 points margin in the Linares Super Grandmasters Chess Tournament. Kasparov finished on 8 points out of a possible 12 and was the only undefeated player in the tournament. This was his seventh sole victory here and in the year 2000 he tied for first along with compatriot and Braingames champion Vladimir Kramnik. Amazingly enough, whenever Kasparov took part in this event he won it with one exception in 1994 when he came second to former World Champion Anatoly Karpov of Russia. The second place went to youngest ever World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine on 6.5 points while Anand, GM Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine and GM Michael Adams of England shared the third place on 6 points each. The sixth place went to Francisco Pons Vallejo of Spain on 5 points and his compatriot Alexei Shirov was relegated to the last spot on 4.5 points following losses in the last two rounds. The last round was another exciting day that witnessed Kasparov at his tactical best and Anand showing his prowess in the Marshall gambit against Ponomariov. Anand surprised Ponomariov with his choice of the opening and it appeared that everything was well analysed in his home preparation in one of the popular variations. Ponomariov could not get much after blitzing out the opening moves and in the end, Anand sacrificed a rook to get perpetual checks after the trade of queens. The game was the first one to end in the last round. Anand finished the tournament with one victory, one loss and 10 draws for a 50 per cent result. Speaking about too few decisive games, Anand said, "It is a tough tournament. You don't always get decisive results. Though I must say in the beginning of the tournament, I really had problems playing." About a rather subdued start Anand said, "In the first five rounds I had suffered a lot. I had problem concentrating; I had the positions but was not able to deliver. After that I played much better, but then it was too late. Hopefully in the next tournament, I will do much better." Ponomariov, quite happy with his performance here, told reporters, "I could not prepare very well as I was not sure of my participation here but then I guess I fared al right, I am happy." About his loss to Kasparov in the penultimate round, the 18-year-old was quick to admit that he was still young and had a lot to learn. He cited his first round victory over World Championship challenger Ivanchuk as his best in the tournament. (PTI)

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