Anand emerges sole leader in Morelia-Linares

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New Delhi, Feb 22: Viswanathan Anand , the world champion, took over the lead of the prestigious Morelia-Linares tournament after five rounds when Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, the third-round leader, lost two consecutive games. Anand has a half-point lead over Levon Aronian of Armenia with Topalov, Alexei Shirov of Spain and Magnus Carlsen of Norway another half-point back.

Anand claimed all the three games with black while with white he has lost one and drawn one. The Indian ace, who is yet to win a game with white pieces here, reached to the top of the tables by sheer display of his flawless technique in the fifth round. The defending champion appears on the right track thus far in pursuit of retaining the title. Norwegian Magnus Carlsen also registered his first victory in the meet as he edged past former world champion Veselin Toaplov of Bulgaria by exercising the uncommon Alekhine defense on a somewhat remarkable day in the category-21 double round-robin tournament.

The crafty teenager Carlsen too pulled off the win with the black. In the rest of the games of the day, Levon Aronian of Armenia played out a dull draw with Alexei Shirov of Spain while Ukraine"s Vassily Ivanchuk settled for a draw with Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan.

Anand is now in sole lead with 3.5 points and just following him on second spot is Aronian with a half point trail. Topalov, Shirov and Carlsen are now in joint third spot with 2.5 points each while the other three Ivanchuk, Leko and Aronian jointly share the fifth spot with 2 points apiece.

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