Bilbao: World Champion Viswanathan Anand played his fourth draw on the trot, sharing the point with tournament leader Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine to slip to the fourth spot after the eighth round of the fourth Bilbao Final Masters chess tournament.
The draw as black came easy in the return game and Ivanchuk completed a 1.5-0.5 victory over Anand in the two games played here. It may be recalled that the Ukrainian had beaten Anand in the third round which was held at Sao Paulo in Brazil.
Meanwhile, World number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Hikaru Nakamura of United States closed in on the leader with fine victories in the eighth round games.
Magnus played determinedly to beat Francisco Vallejo Pons of Spain while Nakamura showcased his endgame skills to beat Levon Aronian of Armenia.
Ahead of the final rest day, Ivanchuk remained in sole lead on 14 points in the soccer-like scoring system while Nakamura and Carlsen are now two points behind the leader.
With just two rounds to come, Anand slipped to the fourth on nine points, a half point ahead of Aronian. Pons remains at the bottom of the tables on seven points.
Anand employed the Queen's Indian defense to counter Ivanchuk's queen pawn opening. The Ukrainian managed to get some complications on board in the middle game but after the center was opened Anand exchanged pieces at will to reach a level knights and pawns endgame.
In the end, both the players had two passed pawns and making progress was not possible. The game was drawn in 58 moves.
Carlsen faced the Slav defense against Pons who played black. The Spaniard equalised early in the opening but fell prey to some wily manoeuvres after the queens got traded. Carlsen won a piece for two pawns and the resulting endgame was child's play.
Nakamura was at his best in the Queen's gambit declined employed by Aronian. The American got a slightly better middle game and squeezed out black's defensive resources to reach a better endgame.
Aronian tried hard to make a match for it but an erroneous plan led to the demise of his minor piece in the endgame and Nakamura wrapped the match in 79 moves.
Results round 8: Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr, 14) drew with V Anand (Ind, 9); Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 11) beat Levon Aronian (Arm, 8); Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 11) beat Francisco Vallejo Pons (Esp, 7).