Anand Joins Lead

By Arvind Aaron

Although draws dominated, Viswanathan Anand gave a dazzling display, first he played brilliantly with black in the rapid game to sac a piece and try and checkmate Gelfand. Best play yielded a draw. In the next, he waited for his chance to exchange major pieces and use his pawn structure in the minor piece ending to win the blindfold.

Another impressive result of the day was Vladimir Kramnik's 2-0 sweep over rival Alexei Shirov. The blindfold game was a 14-move gift by Shirov when he blundered his queen in a well-known position. Anand and Kramnik joined jolted leader Topalov in the lead on 5.5 points after four rounds. Peter Leko ended Ljubo's winning spree in the blindfold to joint the lead as well. Piket played well and deserved more but Topalov played well to draw the blindfold game and save himself from a rout.

Ivanchuk drew Karpov twice, first with a brilliant stalemate and next with a bishop sacrifice getting perpetual checks. Seven games of the 12 were drawn but many of them were exciting.

The results:
Rapid                                  Blindfold
Almasi-Van Wely        Draw            Van Wely-Almasi          Draw
Topalov-Piket          0-1             Piket-Topalov            Draw
Shirov-Kramnik         0-1             Kramnik-Shirov           1-0
Ljubojevic-Leko        Draw            Leko-Ljubojevic          1-0
Gelfand-Anand          Draw            Anand-Gelfand            1-0
Ivanchuk-Karpov        Draw            Karpov-Ivanchuk          Draw

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