Monaco:Francisco Vallejo Pons gave a tough fight but Viswanathan Anand managed to blank the Spaniard 2-0 in the eighth round to be placed second in the Amber Blindfold and Rapid Chess tournament underway in Monaco.
After a rather subdued start, the victory against Vallejo enabled Anand to narrow the gap between him and sole leader Vladimir Kramnik of Russia by 1.5 points.
The Indian ace, however, stretched his lead to a full point in the rapid section over nearest rival Levon Aronian of Armenia.
Kramnik continued his domination in the blindfold section and this time his friend Boris Gelfand of Israel was on the receiving end against the wrath of the Russian in this variant of the game where only the last move played is visible to the players on an empty chess board.
The seventh victory in eight games in blindfold victory took Kramnik to 7.5 points in this section and it seems there is little chance of catching up with him here. In the rapid section Kramnik has 4.5 points out of a possible eight that makes his overall tally 12 points.
While Anand is on 10.5 points with three rounds or six more games in the unique annual event, Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine, who suffered a jolt at the hands of Magnus Carlsen of Norway, is now in sole third spot a half point behind the Indian in overall standings.
Another half point behind is Aronian and Russian Peter Svidler who defeated Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan in both games.