A rare queen blunder against Russian Alexander Morozevich cost World champion Viswanathan Anand dearly as he went down in the blindfold game and lost the lead in the 10th and penultimate round of Amber Blindfold and Rapid chess tournament in Nice.
It was a roughly balanced middle game position in the blindfold game wherein Anand went for a long calculation and mistakenly played a queen move which was suppose to be the second move in his calculation.
The Indian ace drew the return rapid game and remained in contention for top honours even as Levon Aronian of Armenia jumped in to sole lead at the expense of Chinese Wang Yue by a 1.5-0.5 margin.
The shocker of the day was registered by Vladimir Kramnik of Russia who defeated overnight joint leader Magnus Carlsen of Norway 1.5-0.5 winning the blindfold game in just 20 moves with black pieces.
As things stand with just one round to come, Aronian has 13 points in his kitty while Anand and Carlsen are now joint second in the combined standings a full point behind the Armenian.
Kramnik is sole fourth on 11.5 points while Hungarian Peter Leko is a distant fifth with 10 points. Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine, shares the 6th spot along with Gata Kamksy of United States, Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Morozevich and this group is a half point clear of Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine.
Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan is 11th in the 12-players tournament on 8 points while Wang Yue was at the bottom with 7 points in his bag.
Despite losing the blindfold game against Kramnik, Carlsen remained in sole lead in this section on 7 points. Aronian came close on 6.5 while Anand slipped to joint third spot on 6 points along with Kramnik.
In the rapid section, Aronian shares the lead with Kamsky on 6.5 points and Anand is joint third on 6 points.
The blindfold game between Anand and Morozevich ended dramatically when the World champion dropped his queen due to a classical error. In the position after Black's 24th move arising out of a Phillidor defense Anand started his calculations with the knight capture with knight and in his mind he went many moves deeper.
But when he finally had taken his decision he assumed that he had already executed the first move of his plan and moved his queen to d5. When Morozevich captured the queen Anand resigned. Making matters worse was the fact that Anand had played white in this game.
In the return rapid game, Anand employed the Nimzo Indian defense and equalised fairly quickly. The result was a draw after 28 moves.
Results -- Round 10:
(Blindfold): Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr) beat Teimour Radjabov (Aze); Peter Leko (Hun) lost to Sergey Karjakin (Ukr); Magnus Carlsen (Nor) lost to Vladimir Kramnik (Rus); Gata Kamsky (USA) lost to Veselin Topalov (Bul); V Anand (Ind) lost Alexander Morozevich (Rus); Levon Aronian (Arm) beat Wang Yue (Chn).
(Rapid): Radjabov drew with Ivanchuk; Karjakin drew with Leko; Kramnik drew with Carlsen; Topalov lost to Kamsky; Morozevich drew with Anand; Wang Yue drew with Aronian.
Combined standings after Round 10: 1. Aronian 13; 2-3. Anand, Carlsen 12 each; 4. Kramnik 11.5; 5. Leko 10; 6-9. Ivanchuk, Kamsky, Morozevich, Topalov 9.5 each; 10. Karjakin 8.5; 11. Radjabov 8; 12. Wang Yue 7.
Blindfold standings: 1. Carlsen 7; 2. Aronian 6.5; 3-4. Anand, Kramnik 6 each; 5-6. Leko, Morozevich 5.5 each; 7-8. Ivanchuk, Topalov 5 each; 9. Radjabov 4; 10. Karjakin 3.5; 11-12. Kamsky, Wang Yue 3 each;
Rapid standings: 1-2. Aronian, Kamksy 6.5 each; 3. Anand 6; 4. Kramnik 5.5; 5-6. Carlsen, Karjakin 5 each; 7-9. Ivanchuk, Leko, Topalov 4.5 each; 10-12. Morozevich, Radjabov, Wang Yue 4 each.