The Chiefs have dealt another blow to the Blues' Super Rugby title hopes with a deserved 16-11 victory in a typically hard-fought derby at Eden Park in Auckland.
A third successive defeat for the Blues drops them from second to third in the overall standings and left them just two points ahead of the Crusaders in the race for the top spot in the New Zealand conference.
The loss sets up a mouthwatering clash next week with the seven-times champion Crusaders, who have the bye this week, in Timaru in the penultimate round of the regular season next weekend.
The Chiefs, already well out of the playoff race, scored their only try through evergreen midfielder Tana Umaga in the first half and had marginally the better kicker in Stephen Donald, who made four of seven kicks for 11 points.
The Blues hit back in the second period with a try from Jared Payne but never had nearly enough possession to get their backs going as the Chiefs turned the screw at the set piece and ran back every loose kick.
Blues first-five Luke McAlister kicked two penalties in the first 10 minutes, the second a booming effort from five metres inside his own half, but then missed five successive kicks before being replaced 10 minutes from time.