Former world champion Viswanathan Anand continued with his winning ways and scored a second victory against Luke McShane of England to secure a commanding lead in the preliminary round of the London Chess Classic in progress here at the Olympia.
On what turned out to be another fine day, Anand came up with some brilliant planning to score two back-to-back victories after earlier crushing Andrei Istratescu of France in the third round game and sealed his place in the knockout stage of the Classic this year reserved for the top two finishers.
With two games still to come in the preliminaries, the Indian ace is sitting pretty on ten points in the 'A' group, two ahead of Michael Adams under the Soccer-like scoring system in place here. McShane on four points is a distant third while Istratescu is yet to open his account.
Anand showed his class to beat McShane out of an Irregular Queen pawn opening. The middle game appeared even till Anand launched a king side attack and followed it up with a knight sacrifice that left McShane gasping. A few moves later, McShane had to part with his queen and it was all over in 38 moves.
Earlier in the third round, Anand crushed Istratescu from the black side of a Sicilian Alapin. Anand controlled the centre and came up with a well judged exchange sacrifice to march his way to victory after 50 moves.
Meanwhile in the 'B' group, Russian Vladimir Kramnik was joined by compatriot Peter Svidler on seven points after a tough day for the former.
Drawing with Sadler in round three, Kramnik lost to Svidler who is scripting a fine comeback after getting just one point from the first two games. The group is closely matched with Matthew Sadler in third place on five points and Jonathan Rowson not too far behind on four.
Boris Gelfand of Israel was joined by Hikaru Nakamura of United States in the lead in 'C' group on eight points and these two seem poised to make it to the knockout stage from here.
World's strongest woman player ever, Judit Polgar of Hungary, won her first game in the event defeating Gawain Jones of England but that took her to only four points for a joint third spot.
What Anand is doing in the 'A' group, Fabiano Caruana seems to be replicating in the 'D' group. The Italian made sure of his qualification in the next stage taking his tally to 10 points and he is now followed by highly regarded and former world championship challenger Nigel Short of England who is on seven points.
English David Howell still has some catching up to do here on five points while Emil Sutovsky is at the bottom having lost all four games so far.
Complete results round 3:
Group A: Andrei Istratescu (Fra) lost to V Anand (Ind); Michael Adams (Eng) drew with Luke McShane (Eng).
Group B: Jonathan Rowson (Eng) lost to Peter Svidler (Rus); Matthew Sadler (Eng) drew with Vladimir Kramnik (Rus).
Group C: Gawain Jones (Eng) lost to Judit Polgar (Hun); Hikaru Nakamura (Usa) drew with Boris Gelfand (Isr)
Group D: Fabiano Caruana (Ita) drew with David Howell (Eng); Emil Sutovsky (Isr) lost to Nigel Short (Eng).
Group A: Anand beat McShane; Adams beat Istratescu.
Group B: Svidler beat Kramnik; Sadler beat Rowson
Group C: Polgar drew with Gelfand; Nakamura beat Jones
Group D: Howell lost to Short; Sutovsky lost to Caruana
Standings after four rounds:
Group A: 1. Anand (10); 2. Adams (8); 3. McShane (4); 4. Istratescu (0).
Group B: 1-2. Kramnik, Svidler (7 each); 3. Sadler (5); 4. Rowson (4).
Group C: 1-2. Gelfand, Nakamura (8 each); 3. Polgar (4); 4. Jones (1).
Group D: 1. Caruana (10); 2. Short (7); 3. Howell (5); 4. Sutovsky (0).