Monday, June 2, 2008

Anand errs in Leon chess final

Indian Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand paid for costly blunders at crucial junctures to lose a closely-fought final and relinquish the Magistral Ciudad De Leon chess crown to Vassily Ivanchuk.

Ukrainian Grandmaster Ivanchuk, fresh from his triumph in the MTel Masters, scored a 2.51.5 victory to deny the Indian his eighth title.

The first game set the tone of the match as Ivanchuk took the lead over the world champion with the black pieces.

Anand launched a kingside attack against the Taimanov variation of Sicilian defence, but could not make much headway as Ivanchuk created sufficient counter play on the queen side.

The Indian drifted into a disadvantageous position as Ivanchuk's heavy pieces penetrated down the queenside. The game came to a rather abrupt end when Anand made a serious miscalculation on the 38th move which cost him a piece and brought about his immediate resignation.

Anand bounced back in the second game with a thumping victory in 26 moves from the black side of the Sicilian defence. Ivanchuk adopted a positional approach against the Sicilian Najdorf and Anand neutralised it easily with skillful play.

Ivanchuk was left without a concrete plan and lost an exchange in his attempt to stir up some activity for his pieces. Anand consolidated his advantage and Ivanchuk resigned in a hopeless middlegame position.