Viswanathan Anand has slowed down a little since his early tournaments, four or five years ago, when he would race through all his games at lightning speed. The confidence of it all had a powerfully intimidating effect on his opponents, quite apart from throwing them out of their usual thinking rhythm by denying them the time to have a little rest between moves.

As the other top grandmasters learnt to cope with the pace, Anand himself began to realise that it was possible to spend a good deal of time thinking about his moves without necessarily getting bored. Nowadays, he is still probably the fastest man in town, but the games where his opponent's clock laps his twice in the first three hours are not as common as they used to be.

In the Melody Amber tournament in Monte Carlo, however, where all the games are quickplay and half of them are blindfold too, Anand is in his element. Here is a typical example of his direct and forceful style.

White sets up his strategic plan with 11.Qd5! and 13.Nf6+! (not 13.Nxc7 Ra7, when the knight is trapped). Anand had correctly judged the cramping effect of the white pawn on f6.

After 20...Ne8, Black had everything protected and the position looked in danger of becoming blocked, but Anand knew that the minor piece endgame would give him excellent chance to win; Black can never get his king and knight out of their K-side tomb.

The finish is delightful, as Black totally runs out of moves. White`s total thinking time: 5 min 22 sec.

White: Viswanathan Anand

Black: Loek van Wely

Melody Amber Quickplay 1997

1 e4 d6 22 Rd1 Bd5

2 d4 g6 23 a4 bxa4

3 Nc3 Bg7 24 Rd4 Ra8

4 Nf3 Nf6 25 Rxa4 Bb7

5 Be2 0-0 26 f4 h5

6 0-0 a6 27 g4 hxg4

7 Re1 b5 28 hxg4 a5

8 e5 dxe5 29 Kf2 Bc6

9 dxe5 Ng4 30 Bf3 Bxa4

10 h3 Nh6 31 Bxa8 c6

11 Qd5 Qxd5 32 g5 Bb5

12 Nxd5 e6 33 Bb7 Kf8

13 Nf6+ Bxf6 34 Bc8 Kg8

14 exf6 Nf5 35 Bd7 Kf8

15 Ne5 Bb7 36 Ke3 Ba4

16 Bf4 Rd8 37 Kd4 Bb5

17 Rad1 Nd6 38 Kc3 Ba4

18 c4 Nc6 39 b3 Bb5

19 c5 Nxe5 40 Kb2 a4

20 Bxe5 Ne8 41 b4 resigns

21 Rxd8 Rxd8