Anand draws first blood, beats Leko in second game
Miskolc (PTI): World Champion Viswanathan Anand drew the first blood by defeating Hungarian Peter Leko in the second game to take an early lead in the eight-game rapid chess match here.
After drawing the first game, Anand had his sights trained to get ahead sooner than later and the Indian ace converted his first white game in the match into a full point, giving a fine display of positional chess.
Anand leads 1.5-0.5 with six games still remaining in the match played under FIDE's rapid chess rules.
It was a Grunfeld Indian defense that trapped Leko in both the games.
Anand employed the same opening playing black in the first game and drew rather comfortably after even enjoying what seemed an optical advantage. Later when Leko used the same opening as his weapon, Anand simply outplayed him in all department of the games.
The eight-game rapid match which is organised in Leko's home country is a permanent fixture in recent years as Leko plays a match with a world class player.
Anand is by far regarded as the best rapid player in the world today and it came as no surprise when the Indian found the best plan to equalise after Leko came up with an opening novelty in the first game.
Subsequent exchanges led to a balanced middle game and even though some experts were smelling a small advantage for Anand, the world champion was left with just a half minute against Leko's two and a half when the peace treaty was signed.
In the second game, Anand was at his devastating best with his new found love in the queen pawn opening. Leko fell under pressure early in the game when Anand lanched an assault on the king side and slowly but surely white kept on increasing the advantage.
Leko lost a pawn while trying to combat the menacing white pieces and entered an endgame that offered little hopes.
Anand clinched the issue in 46 moves.
Leko has not had much success in the format apart from in 2006 when he defeated an aging Anatoly Karpov in a closely contested match.
In 2007 and 2008, Leko lost to Russian Vladimir Kramnik and Norwegian Magnus Carlsen respectively.
This year too, its going to be a tough challenge for Leko if the beginning is any indication.