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Rediff.com  » Sports » Anand keeps lead after two more draws

Anand keeps lead after two more draws

June 06, 2009 01:07 IST

World champion Viswanathan Anand maintained his lead after surviving a few anxious moments on the second day of his match against Peter Leko of Hungary in Miskolc, Hungary.

With the third and fourth games ending in a draw, the Indian ace retained his full point lead over Leko, taking the scoreline to 2.5-1.5 with four games still remaining in the eight-game match.

Unlike the opening day when Leko faltered in both games, the Hungarian was calm and collected as he first ensured an easy draw with black and then pushed Anand to the wall and the later survived, thanks to a very precise defense.

The third game was in fact a tame affair in which Anand played white. Leko said no to the Grunfeld after a thorough drubbing in the second game and chose the solid Semi-Slav defense. Though the opening is also Anand's pet as black, he could not really find a way to trouble Leko in anyway despite going for a sharp position that requires a pawn sacrifice.

Anand produced a novelty on move 20 but that turned out to be harmless as well as Leko targeted the white king to ensure his counter play.

The queens got traded on move 22 and thereafter the result of the game was never in any doubts. The peace was signed in just 28 moves.

In the fourth game, Anand employed the Grunfeld defense and this time Leko pressed for an advantage right from the word go. Anand sacrificed a pawn early to get active piece play for his pieces but his new idea on move 15th did not turn out to be so good as Leko grabbed the initiative.

By move 23rd itself the players arrived at a queen and minor pieces endgame wherein Leko's Bishop pair certainly looked menacing against Anand's knight and Bishop. Leko avoided the trade of queens and strove for action on both flanks but a miss on move 28th cost him dearly.

Anand was quick to gain sufficient counter play thereafter and in the endgame the speed king got a thematic fortress when he was left with just one Bishop against Leko's two. The game was drawn after 56 moves.

The match is a part of Leko's calendar for last four years. One player amongst the world elite is invited every year to play this match against local favourite Leko who is also the strongest player Hungary has ever produced.

After a victory against Karpov in the first of such match, Leko is still looking for his second triumph on the home soil as two subsequent matches resulted in narrow losses for him against Russian Vladimir Kramnik in 2007 and Norwegian Magnus Carlsen in 2008.

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