Anand continues his domination

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Viswanathan Anand cruised past Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine in the rapid game of the fifth round of 14th Amber Blindfold and Rapid chess tournament.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:49 IST
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Viswanathan Anand cruised past Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine with a fine performance in the rapid game of the fifth round of 14th Amber Blindfold and Rapid chess tournament here. The 1.5-0.5 victory over Ivanchuk helped Anand to take his points tally to a very impressive 9/10 and stretched his lead to a huge 2.5 points over former Russian champion Peter Svidler. Six more rounds left With 6 rounds still to be played in this unique event that features one blindfold and one rapid game in each round, as many as three players - Peter Leko of Hungary, Alexander Morozevich of Russia and Ivanchuk - share the third spot with 6 points apiece. Next in line is Israeli Boris Gelfand who has got 5 points along side Russia's Vladimir Kramnik in the Euros 193250 prize money tournament. Anand kept his all-win record intact after delivering the knockout punch to Ivanchuk in the Rapid game. The Indian ace has won all his mini-matches here and has dropped just one point out of a possible 10. Ivanchuk, however, successfully ended Anand's great run in the blindfold section by holding the speed king to a draw. So far in the event Anand has conceded one draw each in blindfold and rapid besides four victories that has also helped him maintain sole lead in both sections. Playing the white side of a Scotch opening in the blindfold game, Ivanchuk got a routine position where players castled on opposite flanks and even thought the Ukrainian won a pawn, the extra material was quite inconsequential as it could only become a part of Anand's defences. The peace was signed in just 25 moves. Complex battle Anand went for a much more complex battle in the return game with white pieces. It was a French defence wherein Ivanchuk opted for less trodden paths and again won a pawn. However this time, Anand had sufficient compensation and he kept probing till such time Ivanchuk's defences collapsed. Leading the game to a queen and pawn ending, Anand settled matters decisively in 55 moves. Svidler came back in to reckoning after beating compatriot Evgeny Bareev. Surprisingly enough, Bareev was outdone playing white in the Blindfold game itself and later the rapid encounter between the two ended in a draw. The surprise of the day was Morozevich's loss against Gelfand. The Russian came here with high expectations but yesterday he could only manage a draw in the blindfold and then the rapid cast the dye in favour of Gelfand. The biggest upset of round five was recorded by young Spaniard Francisco Pons Vallejo who had a memorable outing against Kramnik. The Spanish hope created a big flutter by downing Kramnik in the blindfold game and later had it easy in the Rapid game to coast to a 1.5-0.5 triumph. Interestingly, Kramnik lost the blindfold playing white in just 26 moves. World number three Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria finally got lucky and registered his first victory in the tournament after a long wait. On the receiving end was Alexei Shirov of Spain who proved no match in the blindfold game. (PTI)

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