World champion Viswanathan Anand outplayed Daniel Fridman of Germany and jumped to joint lead after the 10th and penultimate round of Grenke Chess Classic here.
Having missed out on a few promising positions, the Indian ace ensured a fine victory and took his tally to 5.5 points.
Anand’s path to lead was aided by overnight leader Fabiano Caruana’s will to fight in a level position against Michael Adams of England.
While Adams turned out victorious after a gruelling battle, Caruana found himself sharing the lead with Anand who finally caught up.
With just one game to come, Adams and Georg Meier of Germany share the third spot with 4.5 points apiece while Arkaditsch Naiditsch, who lost to Meier, is now on the fifth spot with four points.
Daniel Fridman is at the bottom on three points in the six-player double round-robin tournament.
In the final round now, Caruana has black pieces against Fridman while Anand will also play as black against Naiditsch, who has had seven decisive games out of a possible nine thus far.
If both Anand and Caruana tie for the top spot, a tiebreaker will be played to determine the winner.
It turned out to be a good day in the office for Anand.
Up against the Petroff defense, he came up with an improvement and had a brilliant follow-up up his sleeves that caught Fridman completely off-guard.
Though the world champion gave little away in the press conference, many pundits believed the entire idea was home-cooked.
As it happened in the game, Anand won a rook for a minor piece with some deft manoeuvres and the ensuing endgame offered little hopes for Fridman.
The game could have ended sooner than 47 moves but Anand mentioned that he wanted to “just sit and hold it tight“.
Caruana had been fishing in troubled waters for many days now and for once his opponent did not mess up the position.
The Italian was offered a repetition on move 12 that he refused and fought for an advantage that did not come his way.
Adams was quick to spot a strategic error that left some weaknesses in white’s position and worked his way to find some fine tactical tricks in the end. The game lasted 54 moves.
Arkadij Naiditsch was tamed by compatriot Meier out of a Bogo Indian defense.
A calm opening gave Meier a minuscule advantage that he nurtured well. Naiditsch walked in to problems in the endgame and lost a rook for knight.
The remaining technicalities were no problem for Meier who clinched the issue in 47 moves.
Results round 9: V Anand (Ind, 5.5) beat Daniel Fridman (Ger, 3); Georg Meier (Ger, 4.5) beat Arkadij Naiditsch (Ger, 4); Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 5.5) lost to Michael Adams (Eng, 4.5).
The moves: V Anand — D Fridman 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d4 d5 6. Bd3 Nc6 7. O—O Be7 8. c4 Nb4 9. Be2 O—O 10. Nc3 Bf5 11. a3 Nxc3 12. bxc3 Nc6 13. Re1 Re8 14. cxd5 Qxd5 15. Bf4 Rac8 16. h3 h6 17. Nd2 Na5 18. Bf3 Qd7 19. Ne4 Rcd8 20. Ra2 b6 21. Rae2 Bxa3 22. Bg4 Rf8 23. Bxf5 Qxf5 24. Bxc7 Rd7 25. Be5 f6 26. Ng3 Qe6 27. Qa4 Nc4 28. Bd6 b5 29. Rxe6 bxa4 30. Bxf8 Kxf8 31. Ra1 Bb2 32. Rxa4 Nb6 33. Ra6 Bxc3 34. Nf5 Bb4 35. Re2 Kf7 36. Rea2 Nc8 37. g4 g6 38. Nxh6+ Kg7 39. g5 fxg5 40. Ng4 Rxd4 41. Rc2 Ne7 42. Rxa7 Bd6 43. Kg2 Kf7 44. Re2 Bb4 45. Re5 Bd6 46. Rxg5 Ke6 47.
Ra6 black resigned.