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Anand edges past Matlakov in Tata Steel opener

Press Trust of India 

Viswanathan Anand survived a few anxious moments, including a checkmate attempt by his rival, before prevailing over in the first round of Masters tournament here. Coming into the event after his title-win at the World Rapid Championship, Anand came up with some fine manoeuvres before dodging the checkmate attempt by the Russian. The Indian ace is playing in this 80th edition after a gap of four years but proved once again that it remains his favourite hunting ground. A winner here five times, a record that he with World Champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway, Anand went for complications right from the beginning when he allowed Matlakov to break through on the side in a closed Ruy Lopez. The Russian managed to weaken whites side and threatened a beautiful checkmate vide sacrifice at one point. Anand came out of that but not without an error that could have left him a pawn less. However, Matlakov missed his chance and then was subjected to a lesson in a major piece endgame.

Anands and rook dominated the proceedings once the Indian won a pawn and though the technicalities remained, it was all over in 53 moves. "I was not able to breakthroughs," said Anand in the post-game chat adding that it would have been a huge technical task to convert if his opponent had not blundered. When asked about his possible sixth title victory here Anand said, "If I win now, I'm winning after 12 years, so it's not like I've been blazing but, well, I'll try for sure." Grandmaster B Adhiban, the other Indian in the 14-player 13-round field, started off with a draw against of In the last edition, Adhiban had caused a sensation here when he finished third ahead of many stalwarts. Besides Anand, of and local hero were the other winners in the opening round. Kramnik grinded down of while Giri scored against highest-ranked woman of Carlsen was held to a draw by Fabiano Caruana of United States. It was a usually long game arising out of a Petroff defense that the world champion could not break. In the Challengers section, top seed Vidit Gujrathi was held to a draw by World Junior champion of It was a where Gujrathi played black and sacrificed his rook to force perpetual checks. D Harika played out a creditable draw with of Complete Results round 1 Masters: (Ned) beat (Chn); (Rus) beat (Chn); (Rus) drew with B Adhiban (Ind); Magnus Carlsen (Nor) drew with Fabiano Caruana (Usa); (Eng) drew with Sergey Karjakin (Rus); V Anand (Ind) beat (Rus); (Usa) drew with (Aze). Challengers: (Usa) drew with Benjamin Bok (Ned); beat Matthias Bluebaum (Ger); (Rus) lost to (Rus); beat Lucas Van Foreest (Ned); (Nor) drew with Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi (Ind); drew with Erwin L'Ami (Ned); Amin Bassem (Egy) drew with D Harika (Ind).

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, January 14 2018. 12:10 IST
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