World champion Viswanathan Anand delivered the goods when it mattered the most, defeating leader Magnus Carlsen of Norway in a complicated 11th round game of the 'A' group in the Corus International Chess tournament.
Anand showed tremendous poise in handling a direct attack from Carlsen right from the beginning and the Indian himself conceded that "though I could not find a forced win for white, but I will be surprised if it isn't there."
Carlsen's loss was a big gain for Levon Aronian of Armenia who outplayed Loek Van Wely of Holland to emerge as the new sole leader in the category-20 super event.
The Armenian is now on 7 points, a half point clear of Anand, Carlsen and Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan who all have 6.5 points apiece.
With just two rounds to go, Anand's chances will depend largely on how he fares against van Wely in the next round again with black pieces.
In the final round, the Indian ace is slated to meet Kramnik with white and a victory over van Wely will definitely prompt the Indian to go for a 'bloody battle' against Kramnik and overtake Aronian who is set to meet Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine and Judit Polgar of Hungary in his last two games.
It was some good news for P Harikrishna in the 'B' group as he converted a better endgame in to a full point against Ivan Cheparinov of Bulgaria. The Indian was pretty happy with his effort.
"I have missed so many good positions in this event, so this was a welcome relief, I hope to be able to well in the remaining rounds and add some elo points", said Harikrishna.
The victory, however, did not help Harikrishna much as he could jump just one place up in the list of his group.
Overnight leader Sergei Movsesian of Slovakia played it safe against Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia to inch to 8 points while English Nigel Short and French Etienne Bacrot defeated Jan Smeets of Holland and Michal Krasenkow of Poland respectively to take their tally to 7.5 points.
Harikrishna is now sole fourth with 6.5 points to his credit. The other Indian in the fray -- Koneru Humpy -- drew with Daniel Stellwagen of Holland and is now on 5 points.
Parimarjan Negi signed peace with Dimitry Reinderman of Holland in the 'C' group to remain within striking distance of the Italian leader Caruana Fabiano who defeated Anna Ushenina of Ukraine.
With Fabiano on 8 points Negi, Reinderman and Friso Nijbhoer of Holland share the second spot jointly with 7 points each in this section.
Anand played the Sicilian defense and as if in a hurry, Carlsen threw everything at the Indian's King. A piece sacrifice in the middle game by Carlsen led to Anand's collapse in the king side but the Indian remained in contention with necessary saving moves.
Carlsen sacrificed another piece and had a draw in hand towards the final stages, but the overambitious-play caused the Norwegian dearly. Anand won in 42 moves.
"A slightly undeserved loss for Magnus but that's how it goes," Anand said.