World champion Viswanathan Anand thumped Shakhriayar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan to register his second straight rapid game victory in the second round of the Amber Blindfold and Rapid Chess tournament in Nice.
Anand continued excellent results with black pieces in the traditional yet unique event that has one blindfold and one rapid game in each round.
With nine rounds still to go, Anand is now sitting pretty at the top in rapid along with Levon Aronian of Armenia on two points each after two wins with black pieces. They are followed by Magnus Carlsen of Norway, Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Ukrainian Vassily Ivanchuk on 1.5 points each.
Anand shares the lead in combined standings with Aronian and Ivanchuk. While all the three leaders have three points apiece, Topalov and Carlsen are not too far behind on 2.5 points each.
In the blindfold, the lead is jointly held by Russian Alexander Morozevich, Ivanchuk and his compatriot Sergey Karjakin who all have 1.5 points each. Anand shares the fourth spot in this section on one point along with Mamedyarov, Aronian, Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, Topalov and Carlsen.
Anand was not too impressed with Mamedyarov's choice of opening in the rapid game and even as the latter showed some aggression in the middle game, it was clear from the start that Anand was in fine fettle.
The Indian won a far advanced pawn in the center showing fine technique but still the task was not easy. It was only after the 31st move that Anand won a second pawn with a tactical shot and the rest was child's play.
Anand, however, struggled in the blindfold game against Mamedyarov after getting to a fine position in the opening. At one point Mamedyarov took over the initiative and it looked as if Anand was treading on thin ice except for the ticking clock. The game was eventually drawn after 46 moves.
In the other games, the biggest winner was young Carlsen who grinded Loek Van Wely of Holland in both variants.
Ivanchuk was clinical in his approach when it came to deliver in the rapid game against Boris Gelfand after drawing the blindfold and the result was a fine victory for the Ukrainian.
Aronian yet again displayed his penchant for rapid chess with a neat victory over Karjakin.
Round 2 Results:
(Blindfold) Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr) drew Boris Gelfand (Isr); Loek Van Wely (Ned) lost to Magnus Carlsen (Nor); Sergey Karjakin (Ukr) drew Levon Aronian (Arm); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus) drew Peter Leko (Hun); Alexander Morozevich (Rus) beat Veselin Topalov (Bul); Viswanathan Anand (Ind) drew Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze).
(Rapid) Gelfand lost to Ivanchuk; Carlsen beat Van Wely; Aronian beat Karjakin; Leko lost to Kramnik; Topalov beat Morozevich; Mamedyarov lost to Anand.
Blindfold standings after Round 2: 1-3: Morozevich, Ivanchuk, Karjakin 1.5; 4-9: Mamedyarov, Anand, Aronian, Kramnik, Topalov, Carlsen 1.0; 10-12: Gelfand, Van Wely, Leko 0.5.
Rapid Standings after Round 2: 1-2: Anand, Aronian 2.0; 3-5: Ivanchuk, Carlsen, Topalov, 1.5; 6. Kramnik 1; 7-11: Leko, Gelfand, Karjakin, Mamedyarov, Morozevich 0.5; 12: Van Wely 0.
Combined Standings after Round 2: 1-3: Anand, Ivanchuk, Aronian 3.0; 4-5: Topalov, Carlsen 2.5; 6-8: Morozevich, Karjakin, Kramnik 2.0; 9: Mamedyarov 1.5; 10-11: Gelfand, Leko 1.0; 12: Van Wely 0.5.
The moves: Blindfold (Viswanathan Anand v S. Mamedyarov)
1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. Nf3 dxe5 5. Nxe5 c6 6. Be2 Nd7 7. Nf3 Qc7 8. O-O e6 9. c4 Nf4 10. Nc3 Be7 11. Re1 Nxe2+ 12. Qxe2 O-O 13. Bg5 Bxg5 14. Nxg5 h6 15. Nf3 b6 16. Qe3 Ba6 17. b3 Rad8 18. Ne4 c5 19. d5 exd5 20. cxd5 Rfe8 21. d6 Qc6 22. Qf4 Re6 23. Rad1 Rde8 24. Ng3 Be2 25. Nxe2 Rxe2 26. Rxe2 Rxe2 27. Qh4 Re8 28. h3 a5 29. Qg4 Re4 30. Qg3 Qb5 31. Nh4 Qe2 32. Rd5 Qxa2 33. Nf5 Qa1+ 34. Kh2 Qf6 35. Qf3 Re5 36. Ne7+ Kf8 37. Qxf6 gxf6 38. Rd3 b5 39. Nc6 Re2 40. Nxa5 Rxf2 41. Nb7 Re2 42. Rc3 Re5 43. Kg3 b4 44. Rc1 Re3+ 45. Kf4 Rxb3 46. Nxc5 game drawn
The moves: Rapid (Viswanathan Anand v S. Mamedyarov)
1. e4 c5 2. b3 Nc6 3. Bb2 d6 4. Bb5 Bd7 5. f4 Nf6 6. Qe2 e6 7. Nf3 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. d3 d5 10. Bxc6 Bxc6 11. Ne5 c4 12. Nxc6 bxc6 13. Nd2 cxd3 14. cxd3 a5 15. f5 exf5 16. Rxf5 a4 17. e5 Ne8 18. e6 f6 19. Rff1 Nc7 20. Nf3 Re8 21. Kh1 axb3 22. axb3 Rxa1 23. Rxa1 Bf8 24. Qc2 c5 25. d4 Nxe6 26. dxc5 Nxc5 27. Rd1 Ne4 28. Bd4 Qc8 29. Qa2 Qb7 30. Qc2 Rc8 31. Qd3 Rc3 32. Qf1 Rxb3 33. Ra1 Qc6 34. Qe1 Rb8 35. Rc1 Qb5 36. Qe3 Re8 37. Qf4 Qd7 38. Rc7 Qd6 39. Qc1 Qe6 40. Ra7 Rc8 41. Qb1 Qc6 42. Ra1 Bc5 white resigned.