Anand wins Leon Chess tournament

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> World No. 2 Viswanathan Anand staged a superb rally to score a comprehensive 2.5-1.5 victory over FIDE champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:52 IST
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World No. 2 Viswanathan Anand staged a superb rally to score a comprehensive 2.5-1.5 victory over FIDE champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan to win the 18th Magistral Ciudad de Leon Chess tournament. In what was a great comeback, Anand, trailing 0-1 after losing the first game, won the second and the fourth game and drew the third to attest his superiority once again in the rapid version of the game. Having earlier beaten prodigious Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen in the semis, it turned out to be another memorable outing for Anand here after he had won the Advance chess title on three previous occasions on Leon soil. Fine task The victory in the fourth game for the Indian ace was a real treasured one as he accomplished a fine task in the final game with a piece sacrifice that resulted in a winning endgame almost instantly. Starting off with the Anti Marshall opening setup, Anand could only get a miniscule advantage out of the opening but once Kasimdzhanov erroneously embarked on the exchange of queens, Anand was quick to spot a brilliant knight sacrifice that forced the swap of all black queen side pawns and instantly white's own pawns had a telling effect. With hapless knights doing nothing to salvage the position, Kasimdzhanov found nothing to counter menacing white forces and called it day on the 39th move when Anand's threats became irresistible. Better prospects Earlier in the day, the third game of the match had ended in a draw albeit after giving another scare to Anand. Playing the white side of a Sicilian Taimanov with the scores tied, Kasimdzhanov first sacrificed a pawn and later won two to arrive at a rook and minor piece ending with clearly the better prospects. However, Anand's defensive skills were yet again on display as he slowly got counterplay and eventually liquidated to a drawn rook and pawns endgame. The longest game in the match, it lasted 69 moves. "I fell in to a trap where I lost a pawn and then it already became somewhat difficult. Probably there was better ways to defend but I was just getting steadily outplayed till I saw one trap and he fell for it," Anand said about the game. The second game had given Anand the much needed equaliser after a rather unexpected loss. The English attack once again remained faithful to Anand in this game as he simply crushed Kasimdzhanov in the middle game with a picturesque piece sacrifice to rip open the kingside. It took just 33 moves for the Indian to finish matters. Unexpected victory However, Kasimdzhanov had made his presence felt in the first game itself that was a sharp Sicilian defence giving the Uzbek an unexpected victory. Playing white, Kasimdzhanov went for Anand's king in all possible ways and even though it was an extremely complicated game, the Uzbek did not falter in capitalising on his advantage when he finally got it. Wild manoeuvres in the middle game wherein Anand's King went for a long walk, and a well-utilised endgame skill had helped Kasimdzhanov get an early lead after 63 moves. (PTI)

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