Monaco:Viswanathan Anand climbed to the top in rapid standings after a convincing victory over Russian Peter Svidler in the seventh round of Amber Blindfold and Rapid Chess Tournament in Monaco.
After playing out a disappointing draw in the blindfold, Anand went for the kill in the return game and caught Svidler unawares to register an emphatic victory.
Anand's victory over Svidler also helped him improve his combined standing and the Indian ace now has 8.5 points for a sole third spot.
The Super GM is half a point clear of Armenian Levon Aronian who went down to Alexander Morozevich of Russia in the seventh round.
With just four rounds to come, the race for the title has narrowed down to Kramnik, Ivanchuk and Anand.
Svidler followed a path he had chosen against Aronian in Corus tournament, but Anand was well prepared and produced a new idea on the 18th turn in the closed Ruy Lopez as black.
In the bargain, Anand lost a pawn but had adequate compensation in form of piece-play and Svidler decided against taking any risk.
The draw was agreed to vide repetition of moves in the middle game itself.
The rapid game turned out to be one of the best efforts by Anand here as he outplayed Svidler in all departments of the game.
Playing the white side of a Sicilian Najdorf, Anand got a tangible advantage out of the opening and Svidler failed to find the best resource. The Indian pocketed a pawn and then went for an exchanging spree in almost machine-like fashion to net a winning endgame after 42 moves.