Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand played out an easy draw as black against lowest ranked Dmitry Andreikin of Russia in the fifth round, but kept the lead at the Candidates chess tournament here.
It turned out to be a no-hassle day for Anand as the Indian was seen pressing for an advantage towards the end of the game. The draw took Anand to 3.5 points out of a possible five and he keeps his half point lead with the end of the first half now approaching near.
Anand chose the Berlin defense, an opening he has not been able to break himself as white for some time and Andreikin employed the closed set up that was on expected lines. The Russian got slightly favourable position in the middle game but was made to sweat hard for more by Anand who played at a good speed.
It was a mild time pressure for Andreikin that led him in to difficulties and Anand was fighting for an advantage towards the end of the first time control. The Russian, however, got his act together just in time to find the path to equality after trading the queens. The peace was signed in 42 moved.
"I was trying but I didn't see anything concrete, my hope was when his king came out but after the queen exchange its just a draw," said Anand in the post-game conference, adding, "I was very happy with my position in the middle game but it did not become more".
In other games of the day Peter Svidler of Russia defeated Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria while Sergey Karjakin of Russia played out a draw with Azeri Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.
Russian Vladimir Kramnik was close to winning against Levon Aronian of Armenia, but after a long struggle the latter was able to hold his fort together.
With Anand in front on 3.5 points, Svidler, Kramnik and Aronian follow him a half point behind. Topalov, Karjakin and Mamedyarov are on two points each from their five games while Andreikin remains at the bottom on one and a half points.
Svidler came out with a sterling performance to beat Topalov. From a Ruy Lopez Moller, Svidler opted for the variation he had popularised some years back and did not get any advantage.
Topalov's opening preparation may have worked in his favour, but the Bulgarian did not handle the intricacies as well as he wanted. Svidler got a small advantage first and then his wily manoeuvres ensured that white's advantage grew in the rook and opposite colour Bishops endgame.
As the position became more difficult, Topalov lost track and blundered in to a hopeless position.
Sergey Karjakin and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov played out a regulation draw. Karjakin did not get anything with his white pieces against the Sicilian defense and the pieces kept getting exchanged at regular intervals. In almost no time, the players reached a heavy pieces endgame where the final result was only a matter of time.
Vladimir Kramnik of Russia was involved in a heated battle against Levon Aronian. The Russian did everything right to attain a dangerous attack with his white pieces but could not force matters as Aronian came up with a stupendous Queen sacrifice.
The position remained better for Kramnik but the Aronian just found the right defense to equality. The longest game of the day lasted 60 moves.
Results round 5: Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 1.5) drew with V Anand (Ind, 3.5); Peter Svidler (Rus, 3) beat Veselin Topalov (Bul, 2); Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 2) drew with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 2); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 2.5) playing Levon Aronian (Arm, 2.5).