Anand maintains lead after draw

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Linares (Spain), Mar 1 (UNI) World Champion Viswanathan Anand maintained his lead after the ninth round of the Morelia-Linares International Chess tournament as he split points with Grandmaster Levon Aronian in a short but exiciting game.

The Indian, who is now on six points, however, saw his lead being reduced to half a point as the 17-year-old Magnus Carlsen had a lucky victory over Alexei Shirov in a 80-move game, pushing Aronian to the third position.

Aronian tried to wrest the lead from Anand by sacrificing a pawn in the opening against the Queens Indian defence. However, Anand, who was playing with black pieces, managed to neutralise Aronian's initiative by giving back the pawn and forcing a position with opposite coloured bishops.

The position became very sharp as Aronian came up with some incisive play and built up a dangerous initiative.

The game ended rather abruptly in a balanced position after 27 moves as the players decided to split points.

Meanwhile, Grandmaster Veselin Topalov remained at the fourth position with a draw against Teimour Radjabov, while Ivanchuk improved his standing by beating Hungarian Grandmaster Peter Leko.

There are five more rounds to go in the 14-round tournament, which will see eight players clash twice against each other in two legs, one in Morelia, Mexico and another here in Spain.


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