Moscow: Viswanathan Anand proved his true mettle yet again as he outclassed Levon Aronian of Armenia in a long-drawn game in the ninth round of the Candidates Chess tournament here yesterday.
Looking for a victory desperately with white pieces, Anand's plan came good as the opening, middle game and eventually the endgame panned out well for his third victory of the event wherein he was written off as a favourite.
With 5.5 points in his kitty from nine games now in what was conceived as the biggest challenge of the year, Anand is now sharing the lead with overnight joint leader Sergey Karjakin of Russia.
The Indian ace is now in excellent position to play a third match with Magnus Carlsen of Norway for the World Championship. While Anand's detractors did not give him a chance, the 'Tiger from Madras' was in his technical elements against Aronian against whom he has had a good score off late.
The opening was less of a surprise but more of a game-going as Anand started off with the Italian opening and as the middle game approached it was just a level position with chances for both sides.
The black pieces gave a psychological disadvantage in chess and this was a critical case as Aronian went in to a shell letting Anand do what he wants in what appeared to be a seemingly impregnable position. It was not to be as Anand proved consistently and in the end his third victory in the event brought cheers to the fans worldwide.
Sergey Karjakin played out a draw with Hikaru Nakamura of America with black pieces wherein the Russian had to defend for the major part of the game. Peter Svidler of Russia was under pressure but drew with Bulgarian Veslin Topalov. Results Round 9: Veselin Topalov (Bul, 3) drew with Peter Svidler (Rus, 4); V Anand (Ind, 5.5) beat Levon Aronian (Arm, 5); Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 3.5) drew with Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 5.5).