Nanjing (China) : World Champion Viswanathan Anand put up a superlative display to outplay former world champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in the third round of Pearl Spring Chess tournament here.
Anand, who had beaten Topalov in last World Championship in the homeground of the latter, was at his best in finding resources with black pieces and then capitalised on his initiative to cruise home for his first victory in the event.
Magnus Carlsen of Norway, meanwhile, remained atop the table with a crushing victory over local hopeful Wang Yue.
Backed by his second victory in the tournament, Carlsen took his tally to 2.5 points in all out of a possible three.
Anand took the second spot solely now on two points while Etienne Bacrot of France is occupying the third position with 1.5 points in his kitty. In the other game of the third round of this six-player double round-robin event, Bacrot defeated Vugar Gashimov of Azerbaijan.
With seven rounds still remaining, Topalov, Gashimov and Wang Yue are tied for the fourth spot with one point each, having drawn two and lost one game apiece.
The ghosts of the last World Championship, where Topalov lost with white in the 12th and final game of the match, came back to haunt the Bulgarian as Anand psychologically went for the same Lasker defence that had helped him get the title.
A victory with black is usually always special at top level chess. Especially so, when it comes the way Anand won.
The Indian came up with a new move on the 16th turn which was apparently the fruition of the homework he had done for the match against Topalov.
In the ensuing middle game, Anand was saddled with a backward pawn on the queen side but his piece-activity compensated for that a great deal as Topalov could not find time to take his king away from the dangers lying ahead.
With clinical precision, Anand exchanged all the minor pieces and a set of rooks to launch his final assault against which Topalov was helpless. Dragging the white king out to the fourth rank, Anand won in just 33 moves.
If Anand was at his technical best, Carlsen was in a killing mood against Wang. The Norwegian has been off-form for the last two events he played but here he is again at his very best.
Wang Yue employed the usually solid Petroff defence but his strategy of playing a less played variation did not come good. Carlsen was able to dismantle black`s castling rights
early in the opening and after that Wang went for an illusionary attack, a double piece sacrifice for a rook that did not materialise.
All that was required was precise technique and Carlsen showed once again why he has been world number one since the beginning of the year. The game lasted 38 moves and under two and half hour and Carlsen, unbelievably, had used just 36 minutes on his clock to complete the ritual.
The game between Gashimov and Bacrot was also quite exciting. Gashimov went for the English opening with his white pieces but could not get much out of the opening.
The Azerbaijani later went for a pawn sacrifice to reach a difficult endgame. Bacrot pushed hard for a victory in the resulting endgame but Gashimov remained on his guard for the major course.
It was towards the end of the first time control that Gashimov fumbled decisively and had to call it a day after 42 moves.
Results of round III: Veselin Topalov (Bul, 1) lost to V Anand (Ind, 2); Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 2.5) beat Wang Yue (Chn, 1); Vugar Gashimov (Aze, 1) lost to Etienne Bacrot (Fra, 1.5).
The moves: Veselin Topalov v/s V Anand (white resigned)
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 O-O 7. e3 Ne4 8. Bxe7 Qxe7 9. cxd5 Nxc3 10. bxc3 exd5 11. Qb3 Rd8 12. c4 Be6 13. c5 b6 14. Rc1 bxc5 15. Qa3 Nd7 16. Bb5 Bg4 17. Bxd7 Rxd7 18. Qxc5 Qe4 19. Rg1 Re8 20. Qb5 Rdd8 21. Qe2 Rb8
22. h3 Bxf3 23. gxf3 Qf5 24. f4 Rb1 25. Rxb1 Qxb1+ 26. Qd1 Rb8 27. Ke2 Qf5 28. Rh1 Rb2+ 29. Kf3 h5 30. a4 Qe4+ 31. Kg3 h4+ 32. Kxh4 Rxf2 33. Qg4 Rg2.