World champion Viswanathan Anand bounced back from the disappointing results of the past two rounds to defeat Russian Alexander Morozevich in a positional skirmish in the third round of the Tal Memorial chess tournament now in progress in Moscow.
After a loss against Fabiano Caruana of Italy in the opener and a tense draw in the second round against Russian champion Dmitry Andreikin, the world champion showed form against Morozevich and outplayed him when it mattered the most to move back to a 50% score in one of the strongest tournaments of recent times.
On what turned out to be another amazing round, Caruana backed his instincts to win a drawn endgame against world number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway while Hikaru Nakamura of United States scored his second win on the trot at the expense of Sergey Karjakin of Russia.
As a result Carlsen lost his joint lead and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan, Boris Gelfand of Israel Caruana and Nakamura emerged as new joint leaders on two points after the end of the third round.
Anand shares the fifth spot now along side Andreikin and Carlsen on 1.5 points apiece while Morozevich and Karjakin are next in standings having one point each.
Vladimir Kramnik of Russia continued to find himself in an unfamiliar last spot after his first draw in the tournament wherein he signed peace with Mamedyarov.
With six rounds remaining there is obviously a lot to come in one of the strongest super tournament of recent times.
However, with Carlsen losing against Caruana the talk of the Norwegian being invincible has suffered a considerable setback.
Anand was at his technical best against Morozevich out of a Ruy Lopez opening. Playing white, the Indian star got some play rolling in his favour post a pawn sacrifice by the Russian and clinging on the extra material proved decisive for Anand once Morozevich tried to make a foray in his ground.
The end result was not in doubt as Anand carried out the technicalities in perfect fashion.
Carlsen allowed Caruana to equalise easily with black and then tried to complicate matters in the middle game.
However, the Italian was quite up to the task and won a pawn in style. The technicalities were far from over as the resulting endgame was a theoretical draw but a further error from Carlsen led to a lost position by force.
Caruana smiled his way to victory and in current live ratings emerged as the new world number three.
Nakamura dominated from the beginning to end in a Gruenfeld defense by Karjakin. The American employed an unusual move order and Karjakin was clearly caught off guard.
The Russian's reaction was questionable in the opening and although he obtained a solid blockade on White's passed pawn in the centre, Nakamura developed his initiative through a series of clever bishop manoeuvres.
The technique of the American was good enough and he wrapped up the game without Karjakin ever having a real chance.
The battle will resume after the first rest day slated on Sunday.
Results round 3: V Anand (Ind, 1.5) beat Alexander Morozevich (Rus, 1); Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 2) beat Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 2); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 2) drew with Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 0.5); Magnus Carlsen (Rus, 1.5) lost to Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 2); Boris Gelfand (Isr, 2) drew with Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 1.5).