Viswanathan Anand registered his second victory on the trot, crushing former World champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine, to inch closer to the leaders after the sixth round in the Corus Chess tournament.
Anand, who had a forgettable start in the tournament, now has to 3.5 points from six games and is now just a half point behind four leaders -- Britain's Michael Adams, Hungarian Peter Leko, Bulgarian Veselin Topalov and Cuban Lazaro Bruzon, who is turning out to be the biggest surprise of the event.
While all the leaders have four points apiece, Russians Vladimir Kramnik and Alexander Grischuk are next in line on 3.5 along with Anand, who is looking for hat-trick of titles in the event.
The next spot is jointly held by Ponomariov, Judit Polgar of Hungary and local challenger Loek Van Wely, who all have three points each in their kitty with seven rounds still to go in this category-19 event, being played under Classical time control.
It turned out be another exciting game for Anand, with white, after Ponomariov opted for the Sicilian Nazdorf and tackled the English attack in a rather off beat fashion right from the opening.
Anand, an exponent of the system, routinely deployed his forces on best squares and unleashed an attack on the king side that proved decisive. Winning a pawn amidst positional complexities, Anand quickly converted it to a won endgame wherein only the technicalities remained. The game lasted 62 moves.
"I was relieved just to play some natural moves instead of just repeating opening theories. So we got in to some original positions and I was not unhappy," Anand said after the game.
"I felt like in an 'Alekhine' instructive endgame (in the final stages)," he added.
Topalov got himself in to the leading group after beating Commonwealth champion Nigel Short of England, who played the white side of a Sveshnikov Sicilian.
Topalov got a solid position right after the opening as Short employed a harmless setup and the pieces got exchanged very quickly. Topalov, in the bargain, successfully weakened white's pawn structure on the king side and played the rook and pawns endgame in spectacular fashion to force victory in 55 moves.
Another big winner of the day was Braingames match winner Kramnik, who got the better of Peter Svidler in a one-sided affair. Playing against the Sicilian Paulsen as white, Kramnik lured Svidler into an apparently harmless pawn capture and, thereafter, simply outclassed his opponent in all departments of the game.
In the final position Kramnik had an extra piece when Svidler called it a day on the 28th move. Bruzon continued to surprise albeit with a little assistance from lady luck as tailender Russian Alexander Morozevich's fortunes hit a new low today.
Up against the Petroff defence with white pieces, Morozevich had everything under control for a change in this encounter when suddenly misfortune struck him in a winning endgame. Missing out on a tactical sortie, Morozevich was forced to part with a piece and went down after 69 moves.
Playing one of the oft-repeated endgames in the Nimzo Indian defence, Dutchman Wely got nowhere with his white pieces against Leko as the later neutralised white's initiative almost nonchalantly.
After a series of exchanges, the players arrived at an opposite coloured Bishop endgame where the peace was signed after 38 moves. Michael Adams also could not press for advantage as white against local star Ivan Sokolov and signed peace in 31 moves.
In the 'C' group being played simultaneously, Parimarjan Negi's IM-norm prospects suffered a setback as he went down to lower rated B Muhren of the Netherlands. Parimarjan remained on 2 points after the loss.
Available results round 6: Viswanathan Anand (Ind, 3.5) beat Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukr, 3); Michael Adams (Eng, 4) drew with Ivan Sokolov (Ned, 2); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 3.5) beat Peter Svidler (Rus, 1.5): Alexander Grischuk (Rus, 3.5) drew with Judit Polgar (Hun, 2.5); Loek Van Wely (Ned, 3) drew with Peter Leko (Hun, 4); Nigel Short (Eng, 2.5) lost to Veselin Topalov (Bul, 4); Alexander Morozevich (Rus, 0.5) lost to Lazaro Bruzon (Cub, 4).
Viswanathan Anand v/s Ruslan Ponomariov
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f3 Qb6 7. Nb3 e6 8. Bf4 Nbd7 9. g4 Be7 10. Qe2 h6 11. h4 Qc7 12. O-O-O b5 13. a3 Rb8 14. Qg2 Nc5 15. g5 Nh5 16. Be3 Na4 17. Rd3 g6 18. Kb1 Bb7 19. Be2 e5 20. Qf2 Bc6 21. gxh6 Nb6 22. f4 Nf6 23. fxe5 dxe5 24. Rf1 O-O 25. Nc5 Bb7 26. Ne6 fxe6 27. Bxb6 Qc6 28. Qg1 Kh7 29. Rdf3 Qe8 30. Bc5 Bxc5 31. Qxc5 Nd7 32. Qe3 Qe7 33. Qg5 Qxg5 34. Rf7+ Rxf7 35. Rxf7+ Kh8 36. hxg5 Bc6 37. b4 Nf8 38. Rf6 Kg8 39. Bg4 Bd7 40. Kb2 Re8 41. Nd1 Re7 42. Nf2 Be8 43. Rf3 Rf7 44. Rxf7 Kxf7 45. Kc3 Nh7 46. Nh3 Bc6 47. Kd3 Ke7 48. Ke3 Kd6 49. Be2 Ke7 50. Bd3 Kd6 51. Kf3 Ke7 52. Kg4 Nf8 53. Ng1 Nh7 54. Nf3 Kd6 55. Kg3 Be8 56. Kf2 Bc6 57. Ke3 Bd7 58. c4 bxc4 59. Bxc4 Bc8 60. a4 Bb7 61. a5 Bc8 62. Bd3 black resigned.