World champion Viswanathan Anand scored an emphatic victory over world No. 2 Levon Aronian of Armenia to jump to joint lead with two others after the fourth round of the Tata Steel chess tournament, here.

Having gone through a rough patch in the past seven months since winning the world championship last May, this is a big recovery for Anand in the early stages of the first super tournament of the year and the way it came left all chess buffs awestruck.

World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Russian Sergey Karjakin now share the lead with Anand on three points with the former extending his winning streak at the expense of P. Harikrishna while the latter was lucky to escape with a draw against American Hikaru Nakamura.

With nine rounds to go in the category-20 super tournament between 14 players, the three leaders enjoy a full point lead over Leko, Wang Hao, Nakamura, Harikrishna, Caruana and van Wely who all have two points each.

Anand went for the Slav defence and caught Aronian unawares in one of the deeply analysed variation.

“I had prepared this variation for Boris (Gelfand) for the match but I had to remember a lot of variations,” Anand said after the game.

As it happened, Aronian could not quite recover after Anand came up with a spectacular sacrifice on move 15 and another spectacle followed on the next move when Anand put his knight en prise.

Aronian won Anand’s rook but by then it was over. With effortless display, Anand took his queen to king side to deliver the knock-out punch.

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