World champion Viswanathan Anand [ Images ] beat Magnus Carlsen [ Images ] of Norway in the blindfold game but lost the rapid one as the mini-match ended 1-1, in the ninth round of Amber blindfold and rapid chess tournament in Monaco.
Anand came up with some fine manoeuvres to get an early lead against Carlsen, the youngest ever world No 1 according to the FIDE charts, but could not keep the momentum ticking in the return rapid game as the Norwegian struck back with black to level scores.
With just two rounds and four more games to go in this 227000 Euros prize-money tournament, Aronian has a massive 13 points in his kitty while Carlsen has 12 -- a huge 2.5 points ahead of Anand, Alexander Grischuk of Russia and Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine, who all share the third spot.
Anand's best results have come in the blindfold but here too winning the title seems nearly impossible in the last edition of this unique event as he has 5.5 points in his bag from nine games in this section, which is still 1.5 points behind Aronian.
In the rapid, Carlsen remains at the helm on 7.5 points, which is 1.5 points clear of Aronian. Anand shares the seventh place in this section with just four points.
Carlsen surprisingly went for the Grand Prix [ Images ] attack against the Sicilian defense and according to Anand made a mistake as early as on move 8 giving the World champion an easy game and something he could build on.
The Indian ace enjoyed a better position in the middle game and could have won but for an inaccuracy on the 36th turn.
Carlsen stormed into the hospitality lounge after he lost the blindfold game and showed on a chess board that he had completely unnecessarily lost the ending, proving his point with variations.
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.
Results round 9 blindfold: Magnus Carlsen (Nor) lost to V Anand (Ind); Vugar Gashimov (Aze) beat Boris Gelfand (Isr); Anish Giri (Ned) drew with Alexander Grischuk (Rus); Levon Aronian (Arm) beat Vladimir Kramnik (Rus); Hikaru Nakamura (Usa) beat Veselin Topalov [ Images ] (Bul); Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr) drew with Sergey Karjakin (Rus).
Rapid: Anand lost to Carlsen; Gelfand beat Gashimov; Grischuk beat Giri; Topalov beat Nakamura; Kramnik drew with Aronian; Karjakin drew with Ivanchuk.
Combined Standings after round 9: 1. Aronian 13; 2. Carlsen 12; 3-5. Anand, Grischuk, Ivanchuk 9.5 each; 6. Gashimov 9; 7-8. Nakamura, Topalov 8.5 each; 9-10. Gelfand, Karjakin 8 each; 11. Giri 6.5; 12. Kramnik 6.