World champion Viswanathan Anand frittered away a superior position as he went down to Armenian Grandmaster Levon Aronian and slipped to the joint third spot after the second round of the 22nd Magistral Ciudad de Linares chess tournament in Linares.
Having started with a brilliant victory against Teimour Radjabov in the opener, Anand had a big advantage before he suddenly missed some simple tactics and lost without much resistance.
Aronian emerged as the new leader along with Grandmaster Alexander Grischuk of Russia, who tamed Wang Yue of China. The other two games of the second round were drawn.
Anand shares the third spot with Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine, Magnus Carlson of Norway and Lenier Dominguez of Cuba.
Radjabov and Wang Yue are now at the bottom of the tables with a half point each. Twelve rounds still remain in the traditional tournament which is being played on a double round robin basis between eight players.
Anand showcased his preparation against the Semi Slav defense and went for a razor-sharp pawn sacrifice that had been played before. Aronian accepted the pawn offer but came under tremendous pressure on the king side.
It was a practical decision by Aronian to sacrifice a piece for a few pawns that kept him in the game. The optical problems resulted in Anand losing his control and his desire to exchange queens to simplify the position proved disastrous.
Aronian clinched the issue after 53 moves.
Wang Yue played the Slav defense against Grischuk but could not find the equaliser after the latter went for complications with a pawn sacrifice in the center.
The Chinese player found some solace after giving the pawn back and reached a slightly worse endgame wherein Grischuk showed immaculate technique and romped home after 57 moves.
In Carlsen-Dominguez the Cuban Grandmaster demonstrated a great preparation in the English opening and introducing a novelty in a very sharp and relatively new theoretical variation.
After some thought, the Norwegian took a healthy practical decision to play safely and repeat the position instead of playing wild complications analysed by his opponent at home.
Ivanchuk came up with an opening surprise against Radjabov by opting for the King's Indian defense which is largely considered to the forte of the Azerbaijani. Radjabov tried a novelty, but Ivanchuk reacted strongly and soon Black achieved a comfortable equality. A draw was predictable long before it was agreed.