World Champion Viswanathan Anand outclassed Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan 2-0 in the sixth round of the Amber Blindfold and Rapid Chess tournament in Nice, France on Saturday.
The victory helped the Indian ace to elevate himself to the joint second spot, along with his world championship challenger Vladimir Kramnik of Russia on 7.5 points, in the combined standings after a rather sedate start.
Anand slipped a bit in the blindfold game after attaining a winning position, but soon regained form during his return rapid game.
The blindfold game between Anand and Radjabov could have been a very fine victory for the world champion if the former had not marred his efforts by squandering a winning position and complicating the task.
White played the opening in exemplary manner, fully exploiting a number of black inaccuracies.
"Radjabov must have misplayed it somewhere. I got too many good things at the same time," said Anand.
At first sight it looked that he went astray on the 37th move but in fact his next move was the real mistake. Anand was still winning, but things could have been so much easier.
Immediately after the game he ordered a big glass of water to quench his thirst and sighed. "But in the end I got there anyway."
Anand also won the rapid game.
In a Panov Variation of the Caro Kann, Radjabov was perhaps a bit too optimistic. Anand called his opponent's castling on queen side 'completely uncalled for' and obtained good chances. Anand wasn't quite sure if his endgame technique had been perfect, but in any case it was good enough to score an important second point and move up in combined standings.
Meanwhile, Levon Aronian of Armenia won the rapid game against Ukrainian Sergey Karjakin to surge ahead in sole lead on 8 points.
Anand and Kramnik are now a full point ahead of Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Alexander Morozevich of Russia.
The sixth spot is jointly shared by Gata Kamsky of United States, Peter Leko of Hungary and former world champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, who all have six points each while Teimour Radjabov is next in line having five points.
With five rounds still to come in the unique event, Karjakin and Wang Yue of China share the 10th spot on 4.5 points and Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine is at the bottom of the tables on 4 points.
In the blindfold standings Carlsen and Kramnik share the lead on 4.5 points each, a half point ahead of Leko while Anand shares the fourth spot on 3.5 points along with Aronian and Morozevich.
In the rapid section, Aronian is in sole lead on 4.5 points from six games and Anand is sharing the second spot on 4 points along with Kamsky.
In other important matches of the day, Aronian scored a vital full point against Karjakin after the blindfold game had ended in a draw. Kramnik played out two draws with Kamsky including a 129 mover while Carlsen scored over Morozevich in the blindfold game to register a 1.5-0.5 victory.
Results of round six:
Blindfold: Magnus Carlsen (Nor) beat Alexander Morozevich (Rus); Peter Leko (Hun) beat Veselin Topalov (Bul); V Anand (Ind) beat Teimour Radjabov (Aze); Levon Aronian (Arm) drew with Sergey Karjakin (Ukr); Gata Kamsky (USA) drew with Vladimir Kramnik, Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr) lost to Wang Yue (Chn).
Rapid: Kramnik drew with Kamsky; Karjakin lost to Aronian; Topalov drew with Leko; Morozevich drew with Carlsen; Radjabov lost to Anand; Yue drew with Ivanchuk.
Combined Standings after round 6: 1. Aronian 8; 2-3. Anand, Kramnik 7.5 each; 4-5. Carlsen, Morozevich 6.5 each; 6-8. Kamsky, Leko, Topalov 6 each; 9. Radjabov 5; 10-11. Karjakin, Wang Yue 4.5 each; 12. Ivanchuk 4.
Blindfold standings: 1-2. Carlsen, Kramnik 4.5 each; 3. Leko 4; 4-6. Anand, Aronian, Morozevich 3.5 each; 7. Topalov 3; 8. Radjabov 2.5; 9-10. Kamsky, Yue 2 each; 11-12. Ivanchuk, Karjakin 1.5 each.
Rapid Standings: 1. Aronian 4.5; 2-3. Anand, Kamsky 4 each; 4-7. Kramnik, Karjakin, Topalov, Morozevich 3 each; 8-10. Radjabov, Yue, Ivanchuk 2.5 each; 11-12. Leko, Carlsen 2 each.