Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand remained in sole lead with a third straight draw, signing peace with Russian Sergey Karjakin in the sixth round of Candidates Chess tournament on Wednesday.
After scoring two victories in the first three rounds itself, Anand did not get many chances for the third day running even as Karjakin had to work hard for the half point.
It turned out to be another high-tension round in the candidates that will select the challenger to Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the next World championship match later this year.
Bulgarian Veselin Topalov reacted like a wounded tiger after losing the previous round to Peter Svidler and defeated second seed Vladimir Kramnik of Russia in a fine display while Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan put it across Peter Svidler of Russia to announce his arrival as a contender in the tournament.
If this was not enough, top seed Levon Aronian of Armenia spoiled all the hard work of the first few hours and mishandled a winning position to let Russian Dmitry Andreikin off the hook with a draw.
After the lopsided round, Anand took his tally to four points and remained a half point ahead of Aronian. While Kramnik and Svidler slipped to joint third spot along with Topalov and Mamedyarov who came back to a fifty percent score.
Karjakin moved to 2.5 points and is now on seventh spot, a half point clear of Andreikin who was simply lucky to survive today.
For the first time in Candidates, the main line of the Berlin defense came on board. Anand has not been able to crack it since the last world championship match and Wednesday was no different even though Karjakin had to find the right way to equalise.
After the usual trading of queens, Anand got the typical breakthrough on the king side but while that gave him a better control in the king side, Karjakin punctured the other flank by parting with his bishop. Even as Anand's king walked to the center, black's position remained impregnable and the draw was agreed to after 33 moves.
Kramnik was outplayed in a Queen's gambit declined. The closed nature of the position gave Topalov the upper hand with white and he showed tremendous application in winning a pawn with some wily manoeuvres. The technicalities remained but this Topalov made them look like child's play and secured his first victory in the tournament.
Mamedyarov continued with his catch-up act and scored a splendid victory against Svidler. It was a Leningrad Dutch by Svidler that did not turn out to be a good choice. Mamedyarov got the initiative in the middle game and his tactical acumen was simply too much to handle.
Aronian had a winning position in the middle game but the Armenian chose to reach a pawn up endgame against Andreikin that was not so easy to convert. As it happened, Andreikin defended with grit and determination to salvage an important half point.
Results round 6: V Anand (Ind, 4) drew with Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 2.5); Veselin Topalov (Bul, 3) beat Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 3); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 3) beat Peter Svidler (Rus, 3); Levon Aronian (Arm, 3.5) drew with Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 2).