Anand defeats Mamedyarov to maintain joint lead

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Nice, France, Mar 17 (UNI) World Champion Viswanathan Anand emerged victorious over Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan to register his second straight rapid game victory in the second round of the 17th Melody Amber Chess Tournament here.

Anand, who was playing with black pieces, scored a 1.5-0.5 win over Mamedyarov with their blindfold game ending in a draw earlier on.

In the blindfold game, Mamedyarov played the Alekhine defence.

He took over the initiative when the Indian failed to make concrete progress. However, the World Champion managed to hang on and offered to Mamedyarov on the 46th move who accepted the offer.

In the rapid game, Anand played the Sicilian while Mamedyarov replied with the 2.b3.

The Indian managed to equalise after the 11th move. Anand arrested Mamedyarov's pawn on e6. He then won a second pawn with 31st move to claim victory.

With nine rounds still to go, Anand is leading the pack along with Levon Aronian of Armenia.

Anand and Aronian have two points each after two wins with black pieces.

They are followed by Magnus Carlsen of Norway, Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Ukrainian Vassily Ivanchuk on 1.5 points each.

After two (double) rounds Anand, Aronian and Ivanchuk were leading in the overall standings with 3 points each. Anand has two points from rapid, having won both his games so far and one from blindfold, where he has drawn both. In both rapid wins Anand had black pieces.

UNI XC AB CS KN1650

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