Monaco: World Champion Viswanathan Anand defeated his nearest rival Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the blindfold game to go one up in the ninth-round mini-match of the Amber Blindfold and Rapid Chess Tournament at Monaco.
Trailing heavily before the start of this round, Anand came up with some absorbing maneuvers to get an early lead against Carlsen, the youngest ever world number one according to FIDE charts.
The victory in blindfold meant a lot to Anand as he could now be in a chance to be nearer to Armenian Levon Aronian who held a three point lead against the Indian ace with just three rounds to come in the unique event that features one blindfold and one rapid game in each round.
Aronian defeated Vladimir Kramnik of Russia to let the status quo remain as far as the distance in lead with Anand is concerned.
Aronian remained in sole lead in combined standings on 12.5 following his victory against Kramnik. After losing to Anand, Carlsen fell behind Aronian.
As things stand with just five games remaining, Aronian is 1.5 points clear of Carlsen and two points ahead of Anand in the combined standings, something that might be enough for the Armenian to win the title here. Carlsen, though, had his revenge with surprising ease in the rapid game. After the opening, a closed Ruy Lopez with, he was slightly worse, but then, to quote Carlsen, Anand `began to drift`.
Black took over after he could create threats on the king side. In fact white`s position disintegrated at surprising speed and after 43 moves the World Champion had had enough.
Aronian won the blindfold showing his aggressive intentions right from the word `go` against Kramnik who has been terribly off-form here.
After the queen exchange the Armenian believed that Black was lost.
The return rapid game was a draw out of a Grunfeld leaving Aronian in excellent position in the tournament.