Bringing on his best play, Boris Gelfand pulled off a stunning 4-2 victory over Viswanathan Anand by claiming the final two blitz games to win the 35th Leon Masters active chess tournament title in Leon on Sunday.
In the best of four 20-minute rapid games, nine-time winner Anand took the lead but Gelfand hit back to win the next two. Anand won the must-win fourth game to force the tie-breaking blitz games.
Gelfand took the first blitz game to again push Anand into the corner. The second one headed for a draw but Anand made a desperate bid to fox his senior rival and ended up on the losing side. Incredibly, all six games between these two seasoned players, in their 50s, produced decisive verdicts.
In the four-man tournament, Anand advanced to the final by beating J. Latasa Santos 2.5-1.5 after losing the opening game. Gelfand went past 20-year old Andrey Esipenko by drawing the Armageddon game with black pieces.
Arjun stuns Aronian, Radjabov
Meanwhile, on the opening day of the FTX Road to Miami online chess tournament, part of the cash-rich Champions Chess Tour, rising teen-star Arjun Erigaisi stunned Levon Aronian and Teimour Radjabov to share the sixth place with 7/12 points after four rounds of the preliminary stage.
Arjun, aiming to be among the top eight players to qualify for the quarterfinals from this formidable field, started with a draw against USA’s Samuel Sevian, then defeated Aronian and Radjabov, but lost the fourth to Richard Rapport.
In the 16-player round robin league, USA’s Jeffery Xiong began his streak of three wins by stunning Anish Giri but lost the day’s last round to Sevian to lead with nine points. As per the tournament rules, a win earns three points and a draw is worth one point.