Anand goes down to Grischuk in blindfold, draws rapid

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Monaco, Mar 24 (UNI) Viswanathan Anand's title defence hit a snag after the Indian lost his blindfold game to Alexander Grischuk before splitting point with the Russian Grandmaster in rapid in the fifth round of the 15th Amber Blindfold and Rapid Chess Tournament here.

Anand thus slipped from the joint lead in combine standing and is placed joint second with 5.5 points, while he stands a poor eighth, with two points, in blindfold. Known for his blistering speed, the Indian chess wizard, however, maintains his sole lead in rapid with 3.5 points.

The Indian is pitted against Hungarian Peter Leko in the sixth round.

Playing with black, Anand opted for a Berlin Defence in his blindfold game against Grischuk and though the 'Berlin Wall' is known to be a formidable protective ploy, the Indian erred in his line and the Russian gained grounds from where he could dictate.

Grischuk had a clear edge in the middle game and he gratefully translated it to record a win.

Playing after a rest day, Anand looked rather rusty than rejuvenated and he could have avenged the blindfold defeat in rapid but for what is known as chess player's 'blindness'.

Both the players looked erratic even though Anand had the upper hand. Adding to his woes, Grischuk was down to two minutes while Anand had 12.

But Anand showed rare laxity, playing on his time to spoil the advantage. It went to such extent that the black seemed like winning at some point. But hard pressed for time, Grischuk could not convert it and agreed for a draw.

Standing after Round V: Combine: 1. Peter Leko, Alexander Morozevich (6) 3. Viswanathan Anand, Francisco, Vallejo (5.5) 5. Levon Aronian, Alexander Grischuk, Peter Heine Nielsen, Veselin Topalov (5) 9. Boris Gelfand, Vassily Ivanchuk, Loek Van Wely (4.5) 12. Peter Svidler (3.5) Blindfold: 1. Alexander Morozevich (4); 2. Peter Leko (3.5); 3. Veselin Topalov; 4. Levon Aronian, Alexander Grischuk, Vassily Ivanchuk, Francisco Vallejo (2.5); 8. Viswanathan Anand, Boris Gelfand, Peter Heine Nielsen, Peter Svidler (2) 12. Loek Van Wely (1.5) Rapid: 1. Viswanathan Anand (3.5); 2. Peter Heine Nielsen, Francisco Vallejo, Loek Van Wely (3); 5. Levon Aronian, Boris Gelfand, Alexander Grischuk, Peter Leko (2.5) 9. Vassily Ivanchuk, Alexander Morozevich, Veselin Topalov (2) 12. Peter Svidler (1.5) Roud VI Pairing: Peter Svidler - Loek van Wely; Viswanathan Anand - Peter Leko; Boris Gelfand - Vassily Ivanchuk; Alexander Grischuk - Veselin Topalov; Alexander Morozevich - Peter Heine Nielsen; Francisco Vallejo - Levon Aronian.

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