After a rather sedate start, Viswanathan Anand struck back with two victories against Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan in the second round of Amber Blindfold and Rapid chess tournament in Monaco.
The Indian ace, who had lost to arch-rival Alexander Morozevich of Russia in the first round by 0.5-1.5 margin, displayed top form in outwitting Radjabov in the blindfold game and later won an intense rapid game to come back into reckoning for his sixth title in Monaco.
World champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and Levon Aronian of Armenia emerged as joint leaders in the overall standings on 3.5 points apiece and Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine is now following them a half point behind.
Anand is in joint fourth spot along with Morozevich on 2.5 points while Peter Svidler of Russia and Boris Gelfand of Israel are right behind these two another half a point adrift.
Eighteen games still remain in the event that has one rapid and one blindfold game in each round.
Anand jumped to joint sixth in the blindfold standings after a thorough whitewash of Radjabov in the Sicilian Sveshnikov game where the Indian played white. Radjabov made a positional error in the middle game that gave Anand a firm bind in the centre and slow but steady improvement of the position ensured Anand's victory after 46 moves.
In the return rapid game, Radjabov's bid for complication was foiled by Anand's ingenious play on the king side where he attacked relentlessly after employing the Nimzo Indian defense. Radjabov crumbled under pressure and went down after 53 moves. The victory propelled Anand to joint second in the rapid standings.