Anand maintains lead at Morelia-Linares

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Linares (Spain), Feb 29: World Champion Viswanathan Anand scored a clinical victory over Alexei Shirov of Spain in the eighth round of the Morelia-Linares International chess tournament underway here.

Starting out the second half of the category-21 event with a half point lead, Anand extended his lead to a full point with a finely crafted victory on another bloody day in the eight-player double round-robin tournament. The 17-year-old Magnus Carlsen was brilliance personified as he cruised past former world championship challenger Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine and jumped in to joint second position along with Levon Aronian of Armenia who defeated Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in a technical masterpiece.

The other game of the day between Teimour Radjabov of Azerbiajan and Peter Leko of Hungary ended in a draw.

With six rounds still to come Anand, on 5.5 points, is followed by Carlsen and Aronian a full point behind. Topalov and Shirov are now joint fourth in the standings with 4 points each and Teimour Radjabov stands sole sixth on 3.5 points. Sharing the seventh spot are Leko and Ivanchuk and the chances of a revival in their fortunes look bleak.

Anand gave a positional and technical lesson to Shirov in the return game. In the first round of this event played at Morelia in Mexico, the Indian ace had won with black pieces and in the second out the favourable colour in the game bode well for Anand for the first time in this event that is split in two parts

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