World champion Viswanathan Anand came up with a sterling effort to beat German Grandmaster Arkadij Naiditsch in the fifth round of the Grenke Chess Classic here.
After misplaying some fine positions, the Indian ace was finally at his best and Naiditsch was outdone in the middle game itself. The first victory in the tournament took Anand to three points out of a possible five and at the halfway stage he stands a clear second.
Italian Fabiano Caruana continued to top the ranking after settling for a draw with Daniel Fridman of Germany while Michael Adams had a close shave before he could restore parity with lowest ranked local hopeful Georg Meier.
With five rounds still to come in the category-19 super tournament between six players, Caruana stays ahead on 3.5 points and is followed by Anand half-a-point behind.
Naiditsch and Fridman are joint third on 2.5 points apiece while Adams is fifth on two points.
Meier with 1.5 points is at the bottom of the table.
It was a day when nothing could go wrong for Anand. Up against the Berlin defence, the Indian went for the closed Ruy Lopez and asserted his superiority in the middle game.
Naiditsch’s pieces were tied up on the queenside where the German sought solace and Anand was quick to spot that his lone knight on the kingside was under terminal danger.
Caruana was held by Fridman out of a topical Petroff defence.
In the FIDE open being held simultaneously with the main event, Indian GM Parimarjan Negi remained in joint lead on four points from five rounds.
The results: Fifth round: V. Anand (Ind, 3) bt Arkadij Naiditsch (Ger, 2.5); Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 3.5) drew with Daniel Fridman (Ger, 2.5); Georg Meier (Ger, 1.5) drew with Michael Adams (Eng, 2).