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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Chess Candidates 2014 R3: Anand Crushes Mamedyarov, Takes Leads

Khanti Mansiysk, Russia: Five-time World Chess Champion Viswanthan Anand continued his fine form and crashed through the defences of Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan to notch up his second successive win in the Candidates Chess tournament.

Viswanathan Anand picks up a crushing victory over Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in Round 3. Photo: FIDE 

Not many experts had given Anand a chance coming in to candidates after he lost the World Chess Championship match against Magnus Carlsen of Norway in November last year.


However, the 'Tiger from Madras' has not only proved his critics wrong but has also emerged as a serious contender even though it is still early days in the 14-round tournament.

With 2.5 points in his kitty from the first three games, Anand is now in sole lead. The other games in the eight-player double round robin tournament ended in draws. 

Former World Chess Champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria missed out on his chances against top seed Levon Aronian of Armenia while Dmitry Andreikin signed peace with fellow Russian Sergey Karjakin after playing solidly as white. Peter Svidler had the upper hand in the game versus Vladimir Kramnik, but the latter managed to draw.

The fact that Anand's victory came with black pieces was icing on the cake for the Indian. Playing the Modern variation in the Slav defense, Anand had little trouble equalising out of the opening and Mamedyarov was also looking at dynamic possibilities after losing the previous round.

It was in the early middle game itself that Anand sensed his chances. Mamedyarov could not find any way to improve other than king side pawn advances and that met with a timely breakthrough by Anand leaving weaknesses on white's king side.

On move 24 Anand deployed his queen in an attacking position and Mamedyarov realised that he was already much worse. The pressure got to the Azeri Grandmaster sooner than expected as he caved in through a blunder on the 26th move itself. Anand wrapped the issue in 31 moves. -- PTI

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