World champion Viswanathan Anand scored a clinical victory over Alexei Shirov of Spain in the eighth round of the Morelia-Linares International chess tournament.
Starting the second-half of the category-21 event with a half point lead, Anand extended it to a full point with a finely crafted victory in the eight-player double round-robin tournament.
The 17-year-old Magnus Carlsen was brilliance personified as he cruised past former World championship challenger Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine and jumped in to joint-second along with Levon Aronian of Armenia, who defeated Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in a technical masterpiece.
The other game of the day between Teimour Radjabov of Azerbiajan and Peter Leko of Hungary ended in a draw.
With six rounds still to go, Anand, on 5.5 points, is followed by Carlsen and Aronian, a full point behind.
Topalov and Shirov are joint-fourth with four points each while Teimour Radjabov stands sole sixth on 3.5 points.
Sharing the seventh spot are Leko and Ivanchuk and the chances of a revival in their fortunes look bleak.
Anand gave a positional and technical lesson to Shirov in the return game. In the first round of the event, played in Morelia, Mexico, the Indian ace won with black pieces and in the second, the favourable colour in the game bode well for Anand for the first time in this event that is split two.
"Some things never change in this world; Vishy always beats me," was Shirov's comment when he was ousted by Anand in the quarter-finals of the World championship in 2001 at Moscow. Yet again, the Spaniard's fears came true.
It was a Sicilian Sveshnikov, where Anand went for a topical variation and was always in command after a few pieces changed hands.
As is typical of the opening, the pawn structure is cause for concern for the black player in case an endgame is reached and Anand effortlessly used this to his advantage knocking down one black pawn to reach a winning endgame. The game lasted 57 moves.
Carlsen yet again played imaginative and fearless chess to beat Ivanchuk who was not himself in one of the side variations of the Berlin defense.
Carlsen gave a rook for two minor pieces and picked up important queenside pawns to cause the damage. It took just 39 moves for Carlsen to force resignation.
Aronian defeated Topalov from an English opening game. Playing white the Armenian uncorked a fine exchange sacrifice in the endgame to win a couple of pawns as compensation and thereafter the technicalities were handled in perfect fashion.
It was another spectacular battle between Radjabov and Leko that came to an abrupt end. The Queen's Indian defense by Leko yielded a wild position that Radjabov did not mind and the game was quite interestingly poised when the peace was signed after 39 moves.
Results round 8: V Anand (Ind, 5.5) beat Alexei Shirov (Esp, 4); Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr, 3) lost to Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 4.5); Levon Aronian (Arm, 4.5) beat Veselin Topalov (Bul, 4); Teimour Radjabov (Aze, 3.5) drew with Peter Leko (Hun, 3).
The moves: V Anand v/s Alexei Shirov
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5 9. Nd5 Be7 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. c3 Bg5 12. Nc2 O-O 13. a4 bxa4 14. Rxa4 a5 15. Bc4 Rb8 16. b3 Kh8 17. Nce3 g6 18. Qe2 f5 19. h4 Bxe3 20. Qxe3 fxe4 21. h5 g5 22. Qxe4 Bb7 23. Qe3 e4 24. O-O Ne5 25. Rfa1 Qe8 26. Rxa5 Qxh5 27. Qxe4 Rbe8 28. Be2 Qh4 29. Qxh4 gxh4 30. Ne3 h3 31. gxh3 Nf3+ 32. Bxf3 Rxf3 33. Rh5 Rg8+ 34. Kf1 Rgf8 35. Nd1 Rd3 36. Rh4 Bf3 37. Rd4 Rxd4 38. cxd4 Rf4 39. Ne3 Rxd4 40. Ra4 Rd3 41. Rf4 Bh5 42. b4 d5 43. Kg2 Bg6 44. Nf5 Kg8 45. Ne7+ Kg7 46. Nxg6 Kxg6 47. Rf3 Rd1 48. Rb3 d4 49. Kf3 d3 50. Ke3 Rh1 51. b5 Rxh3+ 52. f3 Rh1 53. b6 Re1+ 54. Kxd3 Re8 55. b7 Rb8 56. Ke4 h5 57. Kf4 black resigned.