Riding high on confidence, world champion Viswanathan Anand outsmarted Jon Ludvig Hammer of Norway to jump to the joint second spot in the Norway chess 2013 super tournament, here.
The penultimate round victory turned out to be an important one for Anand as it brought him within striking distance of winning the super tournament for which the Indian ace will need a victory against Wnag Hao of China in the last round.
Trailing the leader Sergey Karjakin of Russia by one and half points and second placed world number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway by a full point with two rounds to go, Anand comes to the party as both Karjakin and Magnus lost to Peter Svidler of Russia and Wang Hao of China respectively in the penultimate round.
Once again it was proved that the atmosphere is not suited to sole leaders this season. After the end of the fourth round, Sergey Karjakin of Russian seemed to be running away with everything but with one round to go the Russian has to fight it out for the title.
Losing to compatriot Peter Svidler, Karjakin remained lucky to be still in sole lead as Calrsen also lost but the tide has now shifted in favour of the Indian ace with two wins on the trot.
In the other games of the day Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria drew with Levon Aronian of Armenia while American Hikaru Nakamura made some amends at the expense of Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan.
With just one round to come the battle royale has reached a real high in the first super tournament on Norwegian soil. Karjakin still enjoys a half point cushion on 5.5 points, ahead of Anand and Calrsen while Nakamura, Aronian and Svidler share the fourth spot on 4.5 points apiece.
Topalov and Wang Hao are joint seventh on 3.5 points each, a full point clear of Teimour Radjabov who, in turn, is a full point ahead of last placed Hammer.
The day belonged to Anand as apart from his own victory he got the other results in his favour. With just one round remaining the world champion will be hoping for a victory against Wang Hao as both Karjakin and Carlsen have tough draws against Topalov and Aronian respectively.
Caution will play a pivotal role though as Anand had lost to Wang Hao in the last round of
Tata Steel chess tournament in January earlier this year.
Anand did many things right in his game against Hammer. Going for complications early the Indian sacrificed as many as three pawns for an attack against black king.
The analyzing computer suggested many defenses for the Norwegian but for the naked eye it was a near impossible situation to come to terms with such volatility on board. As it happened, Hammer lost a rook for a minor piece and walked in to a lost endgame in no time. Anand finished the formalities in copybook style.
Karjakin was outdone by Svidler out of a closed Ruy Lopez arising out of a Berlin defense. The pressure got on to Karjakin after losing two minor pieces for a rook and the Bishop pair proved worthy for Svidler who calculated precisely.
Wang Hao had things under control in what looked like a draw-able rook and pawns endgame for Calrsen despite being a pawn less. However the world number one took an inaccurate path that led to a forced victory for the Chinese.
Results round 8: V Anand (Ind, 5) beat Jon Ludvig Hammer (Nor, 1.5); Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 5) lost to Wang Hao (Chn, 3.5); Peter Svidler (Rus, 4.5) beat Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 5.5); Veselin Topalov (Bul, 3.5) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 4.5); Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 4.5) beat Teimour Radjabov (Aze, 2.5).