Anand beats Vallejo Pons, avoids last-place finish

Bilbao (Spain), Oct 12: World Champion Viswanthan Anand defeated Francisco Vallejo Pons of Spain in the 10th and final round to avoid a last-place finish at the fourth Final Masters chess tournament here.

Languishing at the bottom of the table at the start of the final round in the six-player double round-robin event, the onus was on Anand to come out with flying colours and for once, Vallejo's luck in the tournament deserted him as the Indian scored his second victory against the Spaniard.

Interestingly enough, Vallejo was Anand's sole prize catch in the tournament as the World champion could not beat any of the other four contestants in the fortnight-long event spread over Sao Paulo in Brazil and now here.

Magnus Carlsen of Norway came true to his words and won the title after wining the blitz finale against Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine, who led the tournament right from the beginning.

Anand, Levon Aronian of Armenia and Hikaru Nakamura of United States tied for the third spot while Pons had to be content with the last place finish despite showing some incredible results.

Carlsen settled for a draw in the 10th round game against Nakamura. His closest rival for the title, Ivanchuk also drew his last round game against Aronian to set up an exciting blitz finale that the Norwegian won by a 1.5-0.5 margin after winning the second game with black.

For Anand, it was clear that the foremost thing on his mind at present is the next World championship contest against Boris Gelfand of Israel.

Anand was far from impressive here, where he beat Vallejo twice, lost to Ivanchuk and Aronian once and drew the remaining games to finish with a 50 per cent score.

In the last game against Vallejo, Anand was at his technical and tactical best though in a Slav defense game playing white.

Vallejo went for equalising early that was not forthcoming as Anand kept on increasing his initiative on the king side. The Indian ace eventually won a pawn and romped home in just 39 moves.

In a Queen's gambit declined Tartokower variation, Nakamura did not get what he had assumed in the middle game and Carlsen forced parity with regulation exchanges leading to a rook and pawns drawn endgame.

In the encounter between Ivanchuk and Aronian, the former tried to make a foray in the Berlin defense but his opponent was up to the task in his defense with black and the game was drawn vide repetition in 35 moves.

This paved the way for the blitz games between the two leaders where in Carlsen proved superior to win the second game with black after drawing the first game to win the event.

Results final round: V Anand (IND, 12) beat Francisco Vallejo Pons (ESP, 10); Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 12) drew with Magnus Carlsen (NOR, 15); Vassily Ivanchuk (UKR, 15) drew with Levon Aronian (ARM, 12).

Moves of the game between Vishwanathan Anand and Vallejo Pons: 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 dxc4 4. e4 b5 5. a4 b4 6. Nce2 Ba6 7. Nf3 e6 8. Ng3 c5 9. d5 Be7 10. Bf4 exd5 11.
Qxd5 Qxd5 12. exd5 Nh6 13. O-O-O O-O 14. Bxh6 gxh6 15. Nf5 Bf6 16. Nxh6+ Kg7 17. Nf5+ Kg6 18. g4 c3 19. bxc3 bxc3 20. Bxa6 Nxa6 21. d6 h5 22. Ne7+ Kh7 23. Rd5 Nb4 24. Rxh5+ Kg7 25. Nf5+ Kg8 26. g5 Bd4 27. Rg1 Rab8 28. g6 Nd3+ 29. Kc2 Nf4 30. N3xd4 cxd4 31. Rh8+ Kxh8 32. g7+ Kg8 33. gxf8=Q+ Kxf8 34. Nxd4 Nd5 35. Nb5 Rc8 36. Rg4 a5 37. Nc7 Nxc7 38. Rc4 Ke8 39. dxc7 black resigned.


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