Anand defeats Bruzón in León semi

6/10/2006 – The 19th Ciudad de León rapid chess tournament, which is taking place from June 9th to 11th 2006 and can be watched live on Playchess.com, started with a tough victory by Vishy Anand of India over Lázaro Bruzón of Cuba. On Saturday the second semifinal between Topalov and Vallejo will be played. Report.

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XIX Ciudad de León

The 19th (XIX) Ciudad de León chess tournament is taking place at the Junta de Castilla y León building in León, Spain. It lasts from June 9th to 11th 2006 and includes four players: Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria), Viswanathan Anand (India), Francisco Vallejo (Spain) and Lázaro Bruzón (Cuba). They play in two groups, four games each, with the winners of the semifinals meeting in the finals on Sunday. The rate of play is 20 minutes for the game plus an increment of 10 seconds for each move. In case of a drawn match there are blitz tie-break games (5 minutes for all moves).


The players: Lázaro Bruzón, Veselin Topalov, Vishy Anand, Francisco Vallejo

Before the start of the event FIDE world champion Vesselin Topalov gave a press conference where he explained the motives he has to support the re-elected president of FIDE Kirsan Iljumzhinov. The reasons, Topalov said, were basically economical. He thought that chess could not afford to lose such an important sponsor, an opinion he said that was not shared by most of his colleagues.

Topalov said he liked the knock-out system, which is equally fair with a round robin to decide the winner. León is one of the few strong tournaments where it is still maintained. He has pleasant memories of León because it was his first top tournament in 1993 after playing only opens during all 1992, when he greatly raised his Elo rating. He also remembers his duel with Kasparov in 1998, played in the Advanced Chess format, in spite of his loss, which only occurred after the tiebreak.

Anand vs Bruzón

In their first game on day one Anand pressed with Black against Bruzón, giving his queen for rook, biship and three pawns. But the Cuban defended well and the game ended in a 59-move draw. In the second rapid chess game Anand was again on the offensive, but let Bruzón go in a 42-move draw.


The start of the first match

The second pair of games also ended in draws, with first Bruzón and then Anand winning, each with the white pieces. The first blitz tiebreak game was a draw, and then Anand scored the decider in the following position:

Anand,V (2803) - Bruzon,L (2652) [C97]
XIX Ciudad Leon ESP (1.8), 09.06.2006

Position after 43.Bf5-b1

43...Kf6?? (43...Ra3 was required) 44.Ra5 Rxa5 45.bxa5 1-0.


A match with the sponsors prominently on display

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