Nice, March 21: World champion Viswanathan Anand suffered defeat at the hands of Alexander Morozevich of Russia in the blindfold game of the fifth round in Amber blindfold and rapid chess tournament.
Anand, who lost his last round rapid game against Peter Leko of Hungary, suffered his second defeat on the trot and remained on 4.5 points out of a possible 9 in the combined standings after a rocking start that saw him in sole lead after round 3. For the record, this was Anands third straight loss against Morozevich in a blindfold game since 2006. The Indian star had also lost to the Russian in 2007 and 2006 in the same event when it was held in Monaco. The event is being played on a round robin basis between 12 players and in each round there is one blindfold and one rapid game.
It was a Slav Defense by Anand that did not get the desired result. Morozevich went for a sharp variation and got an advantage in the middle game thanks to his excellent central control.
The position was already better when Morozevich sacrificed a knight on the 25th move to leave Anands king in a spot of bother and the latter resigned four moves later. Anand will look forward to a recovery in the rapid game when he will have white pieces.
In other games of the first session, Grandmaster Peter Leko scored an easy victory over Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan while the much awaited clash between Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Vladimir Kramnik of Russia ended in a draw.
It was an enterprising game by Leko in the Breyer variation of the Ruy Lopez after Mamedyarov lost his way early and gave up an exchange for little compensation.
Leko was quite methodical with his material advantage as he squeezed out the defensive resources in quick time.
Kramnik stuck to his choice of Petroff Defense as black against Topalov who did not get much chance. The game was drawn vide repetition after 38 moves.