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Kasparov escapes with a draw

NEW DELHI, FEB. 28. Garry Kasparov lived dangerously against Alexei Shirov before forcing a draw through perpetual checks in the eighth round of the Linares chess tournament on Friday.

After the previous round had witnessed decisive battles, it's back to the all-draw pattern. Peter Leko maintained his half-point lead after a 27-move draw with Teimour Radjabov in Sicilian Sveshnikov. Vladimir Kramnik, playing white, did not press too hard for victory against Francisco Vallejo and settled for a draw in 20 moves of Sicilian Najdorf.

But the match of the day was clearly the one between Kasparov and Shirov. In the closed variation of Ruy Lopez, Shirov launched an offensive on the white's castled king and won a pawn on the king-rook file on the 24th move. Kasparov, on the defensive for the better part of the match, won back the pawn on the 47th move and three moves later, forced a draw through repeated checks Any other choice of continuation from Kasparov would have seen Shirov regaining the extra pawn.

The results:

Eighth round: Peter Leko (4.5/7) drew with Teimour Radjabov (2.5/7); Vladimir Kramnik (4/7) drew with Francisco Vallejo (3/7); Garry Kasparov (4/7) drew with Alexei Shirov (3.5/7); Veselin Topalov (2.5/6) bye.

Ninth round pairings: Radjabov-Kasparov; Shirov-Kramnik; Vallejo-Topalov; Leko bye.

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