Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand played out an easy draw as black against Anish Giri of Holland in the seventh round of Candidates Chess tournament here. (Click here for latest Chess stories)
The Indian ace has now acquired four points out of a possible seven at the half way stage and will hope for some good performance in the second half of his biggest challenge of the year.
The first half ended with Anand scoring two wins over Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Peter Svidler of Russia, one loss against Sergey Karjakin of Russia and four draws.
A plus score at the half way stage might help Anand to take control in the rounds to come but the Indian ace will have to tackle four games with black pieces.
It turned out to be a very easy game as black for Anand who went with his trusted move order in the Queen's gambit declined. Having used it once against Aronian here, one may have thought Giri had an antidote but as things panned out, it was another effortless half point for Anand.
The tone was set early in the opening when two minor pieces changed hands and Anand reached a symmetrical pawn structure. The Queen's got traded and the pieces flew off the board in quick succession. By move 20 there was no doubt in anyone's mind about the result and the players split the point on move 31.
The two overnight leaders Seregy Karjakin and Levon Aronian of Armenia were fighting an interesting battle while Topalov played an intuitive piece sacrifice against Nakamura.