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Anand outwits Smeets

NEW DELHI: World champion Viswanathan Anand emerged as the leader with a well-crafted victory over Dutchman Jan Smeets in the fifth round of the Tata Steel chess tournament at Wijk aan Zee, near Amsterdam, on Thursday.

When the action resumed after a day of rest, Anand, top seed Magnus Carlsen and China's Wang Hao posted victories while the other four games ended in draws.

Anand, playing black, won the Ruy Lopez game in 65 moves after Smeets had held the position in balance for the better part.

Anand broke through with a smart sacrifice of a rook for a knight and then kept up the pressure. Smeets faltered decisively on the 57th turn with a pawn-move on the kingside and gave up soon.

The triumph took Anand's tally to four points, half a point more than fellow overnight leader USA's Hikaru Nakamura who battled an inferior position to force a draw against Ukraine's Ruslan Ponomariov.

In Group ‘B', Surya Shekhar Ganguly (two points) suffered yet another loss, this time with white pieces to the young Filipino Wesley So in 30 moves.

In Group ‘C', playing with black pieces, Tania Sachdev (2.5) earned her first draw of the competition after proving equal to Dutch International Master Robin van Kempen in 26 moves.

The results (fifth round):

Group ‘A': Jan Smeets (Ned, 2) lost to Viswanathan Anand (4); Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 3.5) drew with Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukr, 2.5); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 3) drew with Anish Giri (Ned, 3).

Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 2.5) bt Erwin L'Ami (Ned, 2); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 2.5) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 3); Wang Hao (Chn, 2) bt Alexander Grischuk (Rus, 1.5); Ian Nepomniachtichi (Rus, 2.5) drew with Alexei Shirov (Esp, 1).

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