Leon, Spain, Jun 2 (UNI) World Champion Viswanathan Anand failed to retain his title as he fumbled at crucial stages and lost a closely-fought final with Vassily Ivanchuk at the Magistral Ciudad De Leon chess tournament here.
The Indian Grandmaster was denied his ninth title win here as the Ukranian defeated Anand 2.51.5.
Ivanchuk made a great start and took the lead in the first game over the world champion with the black pieces.
Anand's kingside attack against the Taimanov variation of Sicilian defence could not fetch him positive results as Ivanchuk created sufficient counter play on the queen side.
Ivanchuk's heavy pieces penetrated down the queenside. Anand's 38th move saw him lose a piece which brought a rather abrupt end to the game as the Indian resigned immediately.
However, Anand fought back in the second game and drew level in just 26 moves from the black side of the Sicilian defence.
His skillful play easily neutralised a positional approach adopted by Ivanchuk.
While Ivanchuk was searching for a concrete plan in his attempt to stir up some activity for his pieces, Anand made use of the advantage and Ivanchuk resigned in a hopeless middle game position.
The third game was the most keenly contested, but was marred with some errors from both sides. The two Grandmasters repeated the opening from their first game with Anand varying from that game on the 17th move. His improvement fetched him a small advantage but the position was quite complicated.
On the 24th move, Ivanchuk exchanged queens but could not equalise. Anand won a pawn, but later made some technical errors in the endgame and allowed Ivanchuk to escape with a draw.
In the fourth game, Anand was stunned as he looked in all sorts of trouble and in just 16 moves had to surrender his crown. Ivanchuk decided not to test Anand's play in the Sicilian defence and played the Queen's Pawn Opening.
Just when the game looked to be heading for a long fight, a terrible blunder on the 14th move put Anand to a hopeless position and two moves later the Indian resigned.
UNI XC RAR RKM UCS1937