Monaco: World Champion Viswanathan Anand suffered another setback, losing to Levon Aronian of Armenia 0.5-1.5 in the eighth round of 20th Amber blindfold and rapid chess tournament on Monday.
For, Anand the loss against one of the direct rivals proved very expensive as the World Champion fell way behind the tournament leader.
The loss came in the rapid game after Anand had drawn the blindfold.
Magnus Carlsen of Norway continued with his winning ways and toppled former World Champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria to keep himself in contention for top honours in this last edition of Amber tournament.
While Aronian has an enviable 11.5 points, the Norwegian is within striking distance just a half point behind in the combined standings.
Anand continued to shares the third spot along with Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine. Although joint third, the practical chances of being in with a chance of catching up are very difficult for Anand as he is a huge three points behind Aronian with just three rounds or six games to go in this 227000 Euros prize money event.
Aronian also leads the blindfold section on 6 points, one and half point ahead of Anand, Carlsen and Russian Alexander Grischuk while in the rapid Carlsen is at the helm on 6.5 points.
Anand shares the fourth spot in rapid on 4 points. It was another dull day in the blindfold and a 'white day' in the rapids. All the blindfold games ended in draws and all playing white in the rapid games won giving six decisive results in the end.
The blindfold had the best hopes for Anand as he played white.
However, in a closed Ruy Lopez, the Indian ace faced a new maneouvre and called his 13th move a bad one. As it happened Aronian had a draw in just 17 moves.
In the rapid, Aronian won in impressive fashion. It was a Queen pawn opening in which Aronian used an idea he had employed ten years ago.
Getting a slightly better position, Aronian did well to nurture it for some time and after his 28th turn there was no looking back. The result was never in doubt in the minds of kibitzing pundits and Aronian wrapped the issue showing his technical acumen.
Results round 8 blindfold: Viswanathan Anand (Ind) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm); Veselin Topalov (Bul) drew with Magnus Carlsen (Nor); Alexander Grischuk (Rus) drew with Hikaru Nakamura (Usa); Boris Gelfand (Isr) drew with Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus) drew with Vugar Gashimov (Aze); Sergey Karjakin (Rus) drew with Anish Giri (Ned).
Rapid: Aronian beat Anand; Carlsen beat Topalov; Nakamura beat Grischuk; Giri beat Karjakin; Gashimov beat Kramnik; Ivanchuk beat Gelfand.
Combined Standings after round 8: 1. Aronian 11.5; 2. Carlsen 11; 3-4. Anand, Ivanchuk 8.5 each; 5-6. Gashimov, Grischuk 8 each; 7-8. Nakamura, Topalov 7.5 each; 9-10. Gelfand, Karjakin 7 each; 11. Giri 6; 12. Kramnik 5.5.