Anand loses to Leko to squander lead

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Nice, France , Mar 19 (UNI) World champion Viswanathan Anand suffered a shock defeat to Peter Leko of Hungary in the rapid game to lose his sole lead in the fourth round of the Amber Blindfold and Rapid chess tournament here.

Anand now shares the joint second spot in the rapid section with 2.5 points along with Topalov, Leko, and Ivanchuk.

Aronian, who overtook Anand after beating Magnus Carlsen of Norway, is now leading the pack with 3 points.

Anand managed only half a point from his drawn blindfold game yesterday to occupy the second spot as Vesselin Topalov, Lev Aronian and birthday boy Vassily Ivanchuk moved to five points each to share the lead.

All the three leaders won their mini-matches 1.5-0.5.

In the rapid section, Anand and Leko first drew in a Caro-Kann main line in which the queens went off the board quickly.

Leko got into an ultra-sharp Perenyi Attack against Anand's Najdorf.

Anand was well prepared but Leko was even stronger and slowly capitalised on it to get a win as Anand resigned.

Earlier, the blindfold game between the two featured a Caro Kann defense where Anand played white. Leko was apparently satisfied with his result from the opening that gave him a reasonable position and Anand decided to repeat moves to split the point.

Ivanchuk celebrated his 39th birthday in style. The Ukrainian beat compatriot Sergey Karjakin in the rapid game and joined the leading group after drawing the blindfold played earlier in the day.

In another interesting battle, Topalov defeated Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan. The Bulgarian won the blindfold game with black pieces and drew the rapid to win by a 1.5-0.5 score.

UNI XC AB AS1933

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