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Rediff.com  » Sports » Anand crowned World chess champion

Anand crowned World chess champion

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Last updated on: September 30, 2007 18:16 IST

Viswanathan Anand crowned himself as the new World chess champion with a short 20-move draw against Peter Leko of Hungary in the 14th and final round of the Championships in Mexico City on Saturday night.

Mexico proved special for Anand, as six months ago he took over as World No 1 in Elo ratings, soon after winning the Morelia-Linares tournament.

His game with Leko was a Ruy Lopez Marshall. Anand (white) opted for a solid draw to ensure a clear title triumph.

The 37-year-old Anand's first words were, "You can imagine how I feel. This is something very special for me."

He added, "Mexico for its hospitality, not in so many places you can find as many chess fans as here. I always feel great in Mexico."

Among the first to congratulate Anand was NIIT chairman Rajendra Pawar, who called him up in Mexico.

Anand, who is one of the only four players in history to have gone past the 2,800-Elo ratings barrier, took home a cheque of US $390,000.

The Indian ace, who is also the NIIT Brand Ambassador, totaled nine points out of 14 and finished a full point ahead of Kramnik and Gelfand.

Kramnik beat Lev Aronian in the final round, while Gelfand drew with Alexander Morozevich.

Anand went into the Marshall attack. In the past he introduced a couple of novelties which led to the hope that he might bring out more. On the 14th, he offered a pawn back in exchange for faster development. Then on the 18th move, he introduced a novelty, but got a good reply from Leko, leading to White needing to give away his pair of bishops. By the 20th move, the position was completely equal and the players agreed to a draw, crowning Anand the new World champion.

It is the second time Anand won the World title. In 2000 he emerged champion in the official FIDE World Championships, played in India and Iran, but at that time world chess was split and some top stars, including Kramnik, did not play in it.

Boris Gelfand, who in the early stages of the tournament shared the lead with Anand, drew his final round game with Alexander Morozevich, but Kramnik beat Aronian to join him in tied second place.

After winning the final game Kramnik said he was pleased that he had come back into form, but regretted that he had not previously exploited his chances as well as Anand.

In another game, Peter Svidler finally found his first win of the tournament in the last game against Grischuk in an interesting line in the Sicilian.

Eight of the world's top chess stars played in the championships and Anand won four of his 14 games and drew 10 to emerge the only unbeaten player in the competition. He faced a defeat in the 13th round but did well to extricate himself and earn a draw against another Russian, Alexander Grischuk.

Results of Round 14: Anand drew with Leko; Kramnik beat Aronian; Svidler beat Grischuk;  Morozevich drew with Gelfand.

Final standings after Round 14: 1. Anand IND 9.0; 2. Kramnik RUS and Gelfand ISR 8.0; 4. Leko HUN 7.0; 5. Svidler RUS 6.5; 6. Morozevich RUS and Aronian ARM 6.0; 8. Grischuk RUS 5.5.

Anand v Leko

Round 14, World Chess Championships, Mexico 2007

1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3 d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Rxe5 c6 12. Re1 Bd6 13. d3 Bf5 14. Nd2 Nf4 15. Ne4 Nxd3 16. Bg5 Qd7 17. Nxd6 Qxd6 18. Bc2 Qg6 19. Bxd3 Bxd3 20. Be3 1/2-1/2.

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