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The Indian grandmaster Viswanathan Anand has broken the deadlock in his PCA world-title candidates' final match against Gata Kamsky. After five consecutive draws, he won the ninth game in excellent style to take a 5-4 lead with three games to play.

With Kamsky playing White in two more games, the contest is far from over. Their Fide qualifier last year, which Kamsky won after being two down with three to play, will surely be nagging at the forefront of Anand's memory. Nevertheless, the Indian must now be favourite to meet Kasparov for the PCA final in September.

Anand's win was a superb display of controlled aggression. Until move 15, play followed three earlier games in the same match, but this time Kamsky tried 15...Qd7 in place of 15...g6 (game 1) and 15...c5 (games 5 and 7). White kept an advantage from the opening, and found a fine manoeuvre in 26.Nd1! and 27.Nc3! to emphasise it. Once Black's pawn was lured to b4, his Q-side majority became ineffective, leaving White free to exploit his own advantage in the centre.

Anand prepared it beautifully. 32.Qh6 and 33.Qg5 forced Black's queen offside, then Ra7 and Ba6 tied his Q-side pieces up, so that 36.e5! came with maximal effect.

For the rest of the game, Black could only play to survive move to move. The finish was elegant with Kamsky facing a forced mate when he resigned: 50...Kg7 (50...Kf8 51.Ne6+ is no better) 51.f8(Q)+ Qxf8 52.Ne6+ Kh7 53.Qxf8 Rc1+ 54.Kh2 and it's all over.

White: V. Anand

Black: G. Kamsky

1 e4 e5 26 Nd1 Na6

2 Nf3 Nc6 27 Nc3 b4

3 Bb5 a6 28 Nb5 Nc7

4 Ba4 Nf6 29 Bd3 Nxb5

5 0-0 Be7 30 Bxb5 Red8

6 Re1 b5 31 Bc4 Nf6

7 Bb3 d6 32 Qh6 Qf8

8 c3 0-0 33 Qg5 Qg7

9 h3 Bb7 34 Ra7 Rc7

10 d4 Re8 35 Ba6 Rb8

11 Nbd2 Bf8 36 e5 Ne8

12 a4 h6 37 Rxb7 Rxb7

13 Bc2 exd4 38 Bxb7 Rxb7

14 cxd4 Nb4 39 Qd8 Qf8

15 Bb1 Qd7 40 Ra1 Nc7

16 b3 g6 41 Qd7 Qb8

17 Bb2 Bg7 42 Qxd6 c4

18 Qc1 Rac8 43 bxc4 b3

19 Bc3 c5 44 Rb1 b2

20 d5 Qe7 45 Qc5 Rb3

21 Nf1 Nh7 46 Qd4 Qb4

22 Bxg7 Kxg7 47 Ng5 Rc3

23 Ne3 h5 48 Qf4 f5

24 Qd2 Kg8 49 exf6 Nxd5

25 axb5 axb5 50 f7+ resigns