World champion Viswanathan Anand suffered 0.5-1.5 defeat at the hands of leader Levon Aronian of Armenia in the eighth round of the Amber Blindfold and Rapid chess tournament in Nice, France.
Anand drew his rapid game but ended up conceding a point in the blindfold, which cost the Indian dear as he slipped to joint fourth spot in the overall standings.
Defeat in the direct encounter against Aronian means the distance between Anand and the tournament leader has widened.
With just three rounds remaining, Aronian is now on 10.5 points, a full point ahead of Magnus Carlsen of Norway, who scored a resounding 2-0 victory over Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan.
Peter Leko of Hungary accounted for Loek Van Wely of Holland by a 1.5-0.5 margin to jump to the third spot with nine points while Anand, Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Alexander Morozevich of Russia are now joint-fourth with 8.5 points each.
After the loss, Anand's blindfold standing was worst hit after a smart recovery in previous rounds. The Indian ace now shares the seventh spot in this section with four points.
Morozevich is the leader in this section with 5.5 points.
Anand, however, remained on joint-second spot with 4.5 points in the rapid section. Aronian has a healthy 1.5 points lead in this section as he has garnered six points so far.
Reuslts round 8 blindfold: Levon Aronian (Arm) beat Viswanathan Anand (Ind); Magnus Carlsen (Nor) beat Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze); Sergey Karjakin (Ukr) drew with Veselin Topalov (Bul); Loek Van Wely (Ned) lost to Peter Leko (Hun); Boris Gelfand (Isr) drew with Alexander Morozevich (Rus); Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr) drew with Vladimir Kramnik (Rus).
Rapid results: Anand drew with Aronian; Mamedyarov lost to Carlsen; Topalov beat Karjakin; Leko drew with Van Wely; Morozevich beat Gelfand; Kramnik drew with Ivanchuk.
Blindfold Standings: 1. Morozevich 5.5; 2. Carlsen 5; 3-6. Kramnik, Topalov, Aronian, Leko 4.5 each; 7-8. Anand, Ivanchuk 4 each; 9. Karjakin 3.5; 10. Van Wely 3; 11-12. Gelfand, Mamedyarov 2.5 each.
Rapid Standings: 1. Aronian 6; 2-4. Anand, Carlsen, Leko 4.5 each; 5-7. Kramnik, Ivanchuk, Topalov 4 each; 8-10. Gelfand, Mamedyarov, Karjakin 3.5 each; 11-12. Van Wely, Morozevich 3 each.
Combined Standings after Round 8: 1. Aronian, 10.5; 2. Carlsen 9.5; 3. Leko 9; 4-7. Topalov, Anand, Kramnik, Morozevich 8.5 each; 8. Ivanchuk 8; 9. Karjakin 7; 10-12. Gelfand, Mamedyarov, Van Wely 6 each.
Blindfold: Levon Aronian v/s V Anand
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Bg5 h6 5. Bxf6 Qxf6 6. Nbd2 Nd7 7. Rc1 c6 8. a3 g5 9. h3 h5 10. cxd5 exd5 11. e4 g4 12. e5 Qg7 13. Nh4 Qg5 14. g3 f6 15. e6 Nb6 16. Rc3 Bxe6 17. Re3 Kd7 18. Bd3 Re8 19. Ng6 Rg8 20. Nf4 Bh6 21. Bh7 Rgf8 22. Nb3 Bf7 23. Nc5 Kc8 24. Nce6 Bxe6 25. Nxe6 Rxe6 26. Rxe6 Nc4 27. hxg4 hxg4 28. Rh4 Nxb2 29. Qc2 Nc4 30. Bf5 Kb8 31. Rxg4 Qc1 32. Qxc1 Bxc1 33. a4 Bb2 34. Ke2 a5 35. Bc2 Na3 36. Bb3 f5 37. Rh4 Rf7 38. Kd3 Bc1 39. Rh1 Bg5 40. Ra1 Nc4 41. Bxc4 dxc4 42. Kxc4 f4 43. g4 f3 44. Re5 Bh4 45. Rh1 Bxf2 46. Rf5 Rd7 47. Rxf3 Bxd4 48. Rd3 c5 49. g5 Rg7 50. Rg3 black resigned.
Rapid: Anand v/s Aronian
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3 d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Rxe5 c6 12. d3 Bd6 13. Re1 Bf5 14. Qf3 Qh4 15. g3 Qh3 16. Bxd5 cxd5 17. Be3 Bxd3 18. Qxd5 Rad8 19. Qf3 Bc4 20. Nd2 Be6 21. Bd4 Bb8 22. Qg2 Qh5 23. f3 Qg6 24. a3 h5 25. Re2 Rd5 26. Rae1 Rfd8 27. Ne4 Bd6 28. Qf2 Rf5 29. Nxd6 game drawn.