SPORT

Anand floors Kasimdzhanov

NEW DELHI: Viswanathan Anand produced two brilliantly-crafted victories with white pieces to overwhelm World champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov 2.5-1.5 and won the Ciudad de Leon rapid chess title in Leon, Spain on Sunday.

After suffering a reverse in the opening game of the four-game title-match, Anand bounced back to annihilate the Uzbek in just 33 moves of Sicilian Najdorf. Anand dominated the proceedings, offered a piece on the kingside and launched the decisive attack.

The third game in Sicilian Paulsen was drawn after 68 moves and it was left to Anand to take the initiative with white pieces to claim the title ahead of the five-minute blitz tie-break games. The Indian was again in his element after a sedate opening phase in Ruy Lopez. Once the queens were off the board on the 26th move, Anand came up with a stunning knight sacrifice for three queenside pawns to give a dramatic twist to the proceedings.

Kasimdzhanov resigned on the 39th move when he saw no way of stopping Anand's pawn from queening.

Like the previous games, Anand consumed far less time than his rival while putting the finishing touches to the campaign. Anand won with more than 10 minutes to spare in the 20-minute game while Kasimdzhanov had less than two minutes to go.

This was Anand's fifth title in Leon and second rapid triumph of the year. Anand had won the Amber chess title in Monaco in March by heading the rapid and blindfold categories.

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