NEW DELHI: Viswanathan Anand jumped to the joint second spot with Vladimir Kramnik after scoring a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Azerbaijan’s Teimour Radjabov in the sixth round of the Amber blindfold and rapid chess championship at Nice, France, on Friday.

Anand, with a tally of 7.5 points, is just half-a-point behind Armenia’s leader Levon Aronian.

Anand (3.5 points) is tied for the fourth spot with two others in the blindfold section where Kramnik and Magnus Carslen lead with 4.5 points. In the rapid category, Anand (4) and Gata Kamsky are half-a-point behind leader Aronian.

Taking the initiative

In the blindfold game lasting 64 moves of Sicilian Rossolimo, Anand seized the initiative from the queen’s side with a powerful rook and went on to collect a couple of pawns.

Radjabov fought back by winning a knight and a bishop for a rook. However, Anand’s active rook had Radjabov worried. He eventually gave up a bishop to promote a pair of pawns on the kingside. But, Anand continued accurately and eventually established two connected pawns in the centre to end Radjabov’s resistance.

Playing black in the rapid game, Anand needed 74 moves to tame Rajdabov in the exchange variation of Carokann. Anand gained a pawn in the middle game and then asserted his superiority in an ending involving a rook each and pawns.

The results (sixth round):

Blindfold: Viswanathan Anand (3.5) bt Teimour Radjabov (Aze, 2.5); Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 4.5) bt Alexander Morozevich (Rus, 3.5); Gata Kamsky (USA, 20 drew with Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 4.5); Peter Leko (Hun, 4) bt Veselin Topalov (Bul, 3); Levon Aronian (Arm, 3.5) drew with Sergey Karjakin (Ukr, 1.5); Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr, 1.5) lost to Wang Yue (Chn, 2).

Rapid: Radjabov (1.5) lost to Anand (4); Morozevich (3) drew with Carlsen (2); Kramnik (3) drew with Kamsky (4); Topalov (3) drew with Leko (2); Karjakin (3) lost to Aronian (4.5); Wang Yue (2.5) drew with Ivanchuk (2.5).

Overall standings (after six rounds): 1. Aronian (8), 2-3. Anand, Kramnik (7.5 each); 4-5. Carlsen, Morozevich (6.5 each), 6-8. Kamsky, Leko, Topalov (6 each), 9. Radjabov (5), 10-11. Karjakin, Wang Yue (4.5 each), 12. Ivanchuk (4).

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