Pursuits: Chess

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AS EXPECTED, the Fontys tournament in Tilburg, in the southern Netherlands, ended on Wednesday in victory for Viswanathan Anand. Clear leader from the very first round, when he defeated Joel Lautier while all the other five games were drawn, Anand remained ahead for the duration, increasing his lead to a whole point for several rounds and slipping back slightly only in the penultimate round when he drew with Matthew Sadler, while his lone pursuer Peter Leko defeated Michael Adams to reduce the gap to just half a point.

In the last round on Wednesday, both pursuer and pursued were Black: Anand against Svidler and Leko against Van Wely. Both played theoretical lines and drew easily - though Anand finished first, so he had to bite his nails as Leko gained quite a pleasant position - but not one good enough to risk playing for a win and so imperil the clear second place that a draw guaranteed.

The final scores were: Anand 71/2; Leko 7; Kramnik, Sadler and Zvjagintsev 6; Adams and Piket 51/2; Svidler and Van Wely 5; Lautier and Topalov 41/2; Victor Korchnoi last by himself on just 31/2.

One interesting consequence of Anand's splendid performance is that he has gained 4 rating points to move him up to 2,799. At any time hitherto this would have been rounded up to 2,800 (a barrier breached only by Gary Kasparov). But at the recent Fide Congress during the Olympiad in Elista it was decided to publish the list with increments of 1 rather than 5 points, as previously; so which side of the line he ends up on it will depend on the exact rounding.

Anand's strategy in Tilburg was remarkably one-sided with regard to colour: as White he scored 5/6, and as Black, five draws. This interesting game shows him defending himself against Vadim Zvjagintsev in round 9.

In this potentially very sharp line, Anand tried to prove total equality with his eighth to tenth moves. By bringing his queen to h4, Zvjagintsev set up a most dangerous attack, but in the post-mortem the players felt that instead of 16 d4, 16 e4 was even more dangerous, eg Nd7 17 Bxh6 gxh6 18 Rac1 Qd8 19 Qxh6 Qf6 20 Qxf6 Nxf6 21 e5, regaining the piece with advantage. Anand defended excellently, and in the final position Zvjagintsev had to take the perpetual check - if 21 Nd2 Ke8! the king slips away to safety.

White: Vadim Zvjagintsev

Black: Viswanathan Anand

Queen's gambit semi-Slav

1 Nf3 Nf6

2 c4 e6

3 Nc3 d5

4 d4 c6

5 e3 Nbd7

6 Qc2 Bd6

7 Bd3 0-0

8 0-0 dxc4

9 Bxc4 a6

10 a4 c5

11 Rd1 Qc7

12 Ne4 Nxe4

13 Qxe4 Nf6

14 Qh4 cxd4

15 Bd3 h6 (see diagram)

16 exd4 Nd5

17 Bd2 Qe7

18 Bg5 f6

19 Qe4 fxg5

20 Qh7+ Kf7

21 Qg6+ 1/2-1/2