Viswanathan Anand clinches Leon Masters Title for the 10th time

The tournament featured four players, with Anand’s compatriot Arjun Erigaise, the world number four, as the fourth seed and Bulgarian Veselin Topalov being the other two players.
Indian Chess Grand Master Viswanathan Anand
Indian Chess Grand Master Viswanathan Anand (Photo | PTI)

LEON: Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand proved his mettle once again by defeating Spaniard Jaime Santos Latasa 3-1 in the finals to win the Leon Masters for the 10th time.

The 54-year-old Anand, who lived in Spain for many years before shifting his base back to Chennai, demonstrated once again that this is one of his favourite hunting grounds.

Anand won his first title here in 1996, 28 years ago.

The tournament featured four players, with Anand’s compatriot Arjun Erigaise, the world number four, as the fourth seed and Bulgarian Veselin Topalov being the other two players.

Each round comprised four games of 20 minutes each, with a 10-second increment after every move.

Arjun lost to Santos Latasa in the second semifinal by a score of 1.5-2.5, a sensational victory for the latter given the vast difference in their ratings.

Earlier in the first semifinal, the legendary duel between Topalov and Anand ended in favour of the Indian, who won the third game before drawing the remaining three.

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Though the scoreline suggests otherwise, Anand conceded that it was not easy.

Santos Latasa pushed hard in the first game, and in the second, he had an extra pawn in a complicated game that ended in a draw.

Anand won the third game with black pieces out of an Italian opening.

In a balanced middle game, Anand was pleasantly surprised as the Spaniard went for a wrong trade that cost him two pieces for a rook and a couple of pawns.

Anand’s technical genius soon came into play as he continued to create problems that became increasingly difficult for his opponent to solve. The game lasted 45 moves.

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Santos Latasa faced the unpleasant task of winning on-demand as black in the final game.

This is something that even the best in the world would not feel comfortable with, and Anand gained a fine position after trading the Queens early out of a Rossolimo opening.

Latasa kept looking for complications, but Anand was determined, and it was all over in 37 moves.

Results: Semifinals: V Anand beat Veselin Topalov 2.5-1.5; Arjun Erigaise lost to Jaime Santos Latasa 1.5-2.5.

Final: V Anand beat Jaime Santos Latasa 3-1.

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