Anand takes lead against Shirov

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Viswanathan Anand defeated Grandmaster Alexei Shirov of Spain to take lead in the second game of the main event of the Chess Classic.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
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Viswanathan Anand defeated Grandmaster Alexei Shirov of Spain to take lead in the second game of the main event of the Chess Classic, dubbed as the duel of the World champions. Anand had to fight hard and was almost pushed to the wall at one point of time in the first game of the match. The winner of the previous three editions, the Indian now has 1.5 points from two games. Road to victory The match is being played with 25 minutes to each player with a 10 seconds addition after every move is made. There will be total 8-games to determine the winner and in case of a tied score tiebreak games will come into effect. Playing white in the second game, Anand took the bull by its horns and accepted the Marshall Gambit by Shirov. These days in the elite chess circles not many have the courage to allow this. Going for a not-so-regular variation, Anand surprised Shirov with an exchange sacrifice after weakening the black's kingside and the effect was there for everyone to see. In the driving seat With thematic manoeuvres soon after, Anand knocked down two pawns and had more than sufficient compensation for the lost material. Shirov tried to make a comeback through the exchange of Queen's but the resulting endgame also proved to be winning for Anand who completed the formalities in 59 moves. In all his previous victories here, Anand had been trailing at some point of time and quite a few believed during the first game that the trend would continue. However, with his natural ability to play quick and correct in difficult situations, Anand got the draw in the end against the World Championship runner up of 2001. Breaking under pressure It was Rubenstein French and Anand had little troubles in securing the balance with black pieces. Shirov an exponent of the French himself, did not try too hard and even as Anand had an optically fine position the hidden nuances were understood better by Shirov. Anand found some solace in the trading of pieces at regular intervals but was definitely treading on thin ice once white's knight found a nice and nagging outpost on the seventh rank. Shirov, however, was already in time pressure by this time and all Anand had to do was to find the right defensive moves that have seldom been a trouble for the Indian ace. Shirov could only manage to continue the exchange of pieces and on move 41 Anand had a readymade draw in hand through perpetual checks. (PTI)

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