Former world champion Viswanathan Anand was held to a draw by Anish Giri of the Netherlands after a combative game in the third round of Shamkir Chess here on Sunday.
On what turned out to be a tough day for the Indian ace after easier games in the first two rounds, Anand had his chances but it was never easy as Giri was quite up to the task in defense.
The drawn result was not surprising but it dented Anand's chances in the strongest tournament of the year, which is being held in the memory of Vugar Gashimov.
World champion Magnus Carlsen registered his second straight victory in the super tournament against arch-rival Fabiano Caruana of Italy to move up the ladder in the 10-player double round-robin tournament with a 100000 Euros prize fund.
Wesley So of United States also matched Carlsen on points following a victory over Michael Adams of England. Carlsen and So share the lead on 2.5 points from three rounds having scored two victories early in the tournament. Anand on 1.5 points is decently poised to take on the leaders as the tournament progresses.
Kramnik holds the third spot with two points in his kitty having won the first game against Adams and drawing the remaining two. In this round, the Russian could not squeeze past local hopeful Rauf Mamedov who has impressed everyone with his three draws thus far from as many games here.
Anand is tied fourth with Mamedov and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France on 1.5 points and the Indian ace will look forward to getting some good results in the remaining six rounds.
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan, Caruana and Giri, share the sixth spot with one point apiece while Adams needs to better his score in the rounds that follow.
Anand faced the Caro Kann defense which Giri probably prepared just for this event. The Indian went for the most trusted advanced variation but could not find a fault with Giri's preparation as the Dutchman came up with the most prosaic retort.
Sacrificing an exchange in the middle game, Anand fancied his chances but as it turned out the exchanges were inevitable. Giri, on his part, came up with precise manoeuvres to force the draw. The game lasted 40 moves.
Carlsen yet again was at the top of his game with black pieces. From what looked like a dead equality the Norwegian yet again tormented his rival and squeezed out a victory in the rook and pawns endgame wherein the theory books might have reserved a draw as well.
Wesley So was in his best form as well as he gave no chance to Adams in a complicated struggle.
Results round 3: V Anand (Ind, 1.5) drew with Anish Giri (Ned, 1); Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 1) lost to Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 2.5); Wesley So (Usa, 2.5) beat Michael Adams (Eng, 0.5); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 2) drew with Rauf Mamedov (Aze, 1.5); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 1) drew with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 1.5).