Anand slips to last spot in Final Masters

Bilbao (Spain): World Champion Viswanathan Anand was shocked by Levon Aronian of Armenia in the ninth and penultimate round of the fourth Final Masters as he slipped to the last spot with just one round to go in the category-22 super tournament.

World number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway completed his second victory in as many games against tournament leader Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine to emerge as the joint leader on 14 points in the soccer-like scoring system being used here.

Ivanchuk, who enjoyed a three-point lead coming into this round, ran in to a determined Carlsen who came with some imaginative manoeuvres to jump to joint lead after being wayward in the first half of the tournament played at Sao Paulo in Brazil.

The shocker of the day came from none other than lowest ranked Francisco Vallejo Pons of Spain who proved yet again that he is no-mug when it comes to handing "big boys" of the game.

Pons, who had earlier beaten Carlsen and Ivanchuk in the tournament, perplexed Hikaru Nakamura of United States, who was declared lost on time on move 40 in a position, which was quite defendable.

With just one round to go, Ivanchuk has the better chance of annexing this tournament as he plays Aronian with white in the final round game.

Carlsen will have to tackle Nakamura with black, while Anand has white in his last game against Nakamura.

Bureau Report

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