Indian chess star Viswanathan Anand suffered a shock loss to next World Championship challenger Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the fifth round and slipped to the joint seventh spot in the Tal Memorial Tournament.
Playing the last classical game against Carlsen ahead of the World Championship match scheduled in Chennai in November next, Anand could not find any suitable plan and was outplayed by the young Norwegian in what could be termed as a rude wake up call for the Indian world champion.
Boris Gelfand of Israel joined Hikaru Nakamura of United States in lead on 3.5 points after winning his second game in the tournament at the expense of Alexander Morozevich of Russia.
While Nakamura played his first draw in the tournament sharing point with Dmitry Andreikin of Russia the most striking thing known past the half way stage is the fact that the four Russian participants are yet to score a victory in the tournament.
With Gelfand and Nakamura in front, Carlsen and Mamedyarov are close behind on three points each. Andreikin and Fabiano Caruana of Italy share the fifth spot on 2.5 points while Anand and Karjakin are joint seventh now on two points each.
Lower down, the Russian duo of Morozevich and Vladimir Kramnik share the cellar with 1.5 points in their bag right now.
While the focus of the world stayed on the Carlsen-Anand game, Andreikin did well to keen Nakamura in check. The American had won three games in a row and was raring to go but was denied any leverage by the best performing Russian here.
In other games of the day, Mamedyarov remained focused and drew with Caruana while Kramnik played his third draw in five games here splitting the point with Karjakin.
The day belonged to Carlsen who was seen playing his lastgame against Anand before the world championship under the classical time control.
Explaining his opening choice by allowing the Nimzo Indian defense Carlsen said, "I thought I'd play a line that he hasn't faced in a long time and I thought that hopefully he wouldn't be too prepared for that."
Anand was pushed to the wall right from the early stages of the middle game and Carlsen demonstrated white's advantage in no time.
After the 25th move, the Norwegian had no doubt he was close to winning and wrapped up the game in quick time.
Speaking about the impact of this victory Carlsen was quite upbeat.
"I think it's good before the World Championship match to remind him that I can outplay him once in a while. Since obviously between us there have been a lot of draws, recently at least," he said.
"But I'm not going to go around and think that he's going to have such a bad day every day at the World Championship. I'll have to prepare for the worst, definitely.
"And to clarify, I don't mean to prepare for the worst, that I'm going to lose necessarily, but that he's going to be at his best and not give away anything (for) free like today," he said.
Results round 5: Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 3) beat V Anand (Ind, 2); Boris Gelfand (Isr, 2.5) beat Alexander Morozevich (Rus, 1.5); Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 3.5) drew with Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 2.5); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 3) drew with Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 2.5); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 1.5) drew with Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 2).