The hosts posted a seemingly under-par 134-6 after being put into bat by Kolkata but a combination of canny bowling and livewire fielding – from Dwayne Bravo (3-22 and two catches)??in particular – saw the visitors restricted to 132-9.
Chennai, who have now won six of their seven games this term and nine in a row at home, subsequently leapfrog Rajasthan Royals, who had edged to the summit on Sunday??with the point they gained from their washout at Kolkata.
Super Kings openers Brendon McCullum (19) and Dwayne Smith (25) put on a quick-fire 42 for the first wicket against the Knight Riders at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, mixing robust shots and streaky edges.
But McCullum sunk to spin, trapped lbw by Piyush Chawla in the fifth over, and Smith was run out by a sharp piece of work from Yusuf Pathan as he began to build a partnership with Suresh Raina.
Andre Russell (2-26) then claimed the huge scalps of Raina (17) and Chennai skipper MS Dhoni (3) ??? both batters feathering behind to gloveman Robin Uthappa ??? as the West Indian, Brad Hogg (1-18) and Chawla (2-26) stemmed the run rate.
Bravo???s (5) hit-out against Chawla meant the Super Kings had lost five wickets for 46 runs, though Faf du Plessis (29no) and Ravindra Jadeja (15) added to the total before the latter was castled by a jubilant Hogg, the Australian starring after replacing fellow twirler Sunil Narine.
Kolkata???s mood was soured in the first over of their reply, captain Gautam Gambhir (0) nicking off for a golden duck, but Uthappa (39 from 17) then took charge, blasting six fours and a maximum.
However, he plinked to midwicket before Bravo got on the end of two catches to dismiss Manish Pandey (15) and Suryakumar Yadav (16) ??? the latter an absolute beauty running in from long off ??? and then cleaned up the dangerous Pathan (13).
The Knight Riders also found spin trio Ravichandran Ashwin, Raina and Jadeja hard to score off and when the boundary-seeking Russell (4) was run out in single figures, the away team???s hopes were extinguished, despite the best efforts of Ryan ten Doeschate (38no from 28).
But Kolkata, who have seven points from as many games and sit in third spot, will have a chance to exact revenge on Chennai when the sides clash again at Eden Gardens on Thursday evening.