Nice (France):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 here.
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 joint 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.