World champion Viswanathan Anand coasted to his third victory with black and jumped into sole lead after defeating Peter Leko of Hungary in the fifth round of the Morelia-Linares Chess tournament, in Morelia, Mexico, on Thursday.
It was a display of immaculate technique that paced the way for Anand to reach the top of the table.
The Indian ace is yet to win a game with white pieces in the tournament but with the inferior colour in the game standing firmly behind him, the defending champion looks set for another triumph in the tournament.
On a dramatic day in the category-21 double round-robin tournament, Norwegian sensation Magnus Carlsen also coasted to victory over former world champion Veselin Toaplov of Bulgaria, employing the extremely rare Alekhine defense.
For Carlsen, this was the first victory in the event too and coming with black, it served as a big booster for the wily teenager.
In other games of the day, Levon Aronian of Armenia played out an uneventful draw with Alexei Shirov of Spain while Vassily Ivachuk of Ukraine signed peace with Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan.
With nine rounds still remaining in the tournament, Anand is now in sole lead on 3.5 points and following a half point behind is Aronian.
Topalov, Shirov and Carlsen are now in joint-third spot on 2.5 points apiece while the remaining three contestants Ivanchuk, Leko and Aronian share the fifth spot with 2 points each.
Anand was once again superb in handling the black side of a Sicilian Najdorf, an opening that fetched him a win against Shirov also in the first round of the event.
Leko went for a safe line in the English attack and exchanged queens early in the middle game but that did not deter Anand even as most off the pieces were off the board in quick time.
The players arrived at a rook and minor piece endgame where Leko had optically better chances but Anand had judged the position better.
Taking his king to the center, there was no stopping Anand's pawns once the march began. Leko's pieces were a mere spectator as Anand penetrated his rook in the final stages of the game to deliver the knockout punch. The game lasted 45 moves.
Topalov was subdued in one of the rarest openings in top level chess. For almost a decade, the elite class of players have resisted playing 'Nf6' on the first move when white moves his king pawn forward, but Carlsen uncorked it against Toaplov and got a reasonable middle game.
The Bulgarian erred while going for exchanges and handed the initiative to Carlsen who showed maturity in handling the resulting endgame.
Having already won a pawn, Topalov knew he was fighting a lost cause and like Leko, threw the towel in after 45 moves. The game between Aronian and Shirov lasted just 18 moves of an English opening before the players shook hands but Radjabov tried a long time against Ivanchuk before signing peace vide perpetual checks.
Results round 5: Peter Leko (Hun, 2) lost to V Anand (Ind, 3.5); Veselin Topalov (Bul, 2.5) lost to Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 2.5); Levon Aronian (Arm, 3) drew with Alexei Shirov (Esp, 2.5); Teiour Radjabov (Aze, 2) drew with Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr, 2).
The moves: Peter Leko v/s V Anand
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. Qd2 Nbd7 9. f3 b5 10. O-O-O Be7 11. Nd5 Bxd5 12. exd5 Nb6 13. Bxb6 Qxb6 14. Na5 Rc8 15. Nc6 Nxd5 16. Nxe7 Nxe7 17. Qxd6 Qxd6 18. Rxd6 Nc6 19. c3 Ke7 20. Rd1 f5 21. Bd3 g6 22. Rhe1 Rhd8 23. Bf1 Rxd1+ 24. Rxd1 Na5 25. a4 Nc4 26. axb5 axb5 27. Rd5 Kf6 28. Rxb5 Ne3 29. Rb6+ Kg5 30. Ba6 Rd8 31. b4 Kf4 32. Rc6 Nxg2 33. b5 Ra8 34. Bb7 Rb8 35. Rc7 Ne1 36. Rxh7 Nxf3 37. c4 e4 38. Kc2 e3 39. Kd3 g5 40. Ke2 Nd4+ 41. Ke1 Rd8 42. Re7 Nc2+ 43. Kf1 Rd1+ 44. Ke2 Rd2+ 45. Kf1 Nd4 white. Resigned.