Former world champion Viswanathan Anand played out a second straight draw by holding American Fabiano Caruana with ease in the fourth round of the Sinquefield Cup -- a part of the Grand Chess tour. Playing his third black in four games, Anand did not show any nervousness caused by losses with the slightly unfavourable colour in the game in round one and two.
After an easy draw with Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, this was a confident performance by the Indian who is hoping for a comeback in the USD 3,00,000 prize money tournament.
The number of decisive games remained on the decline since the first round that produced all decisive results in the 10-player round-robin event. While there were three and two respectively in the subsequent rounds in the fourth round it got reduced to just one.
However, the best game was the one played between Levon Aronian of Armenia who outclassed Wesely So of United States.
In the other games of the day, world champion Magnus Carlsen was held to a draw by Anish Giri of Holland, Alexander Grischuk signed peace with Topalov while Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France held Hikaru Nakamura.
With five rounds still remaining, Aronian joined Topalov at the top on three points from four games and these two are now followed by Giri and Carlsen on 2.5 points each.
It's a group of two in each point group as Nakamura and Vachier-Lagrave share the fifth spot on two points apiece while the duo of Wesley So and Grischuk are another half point adrift.
With just one point apiece so far, Anand and Caruana have hard work to do from the bottom of the tables.
Anand chose the Semi Slav defense giving indication of a fight with black and Caruana chose a principled setup to gain control of the centre.
However, an opening improvement by Anand changed the evolution quickly as the Indian ace got a dynamic balance. As the middle game arrived Anand had an isolated passed pawn in the centre and for the major part the game revolved around that. As pawns changed hands on the queen side, Anand parted with a rook for Bishop to force equality.
Aronian stole the honours with a power-packed performance with black pieces. Out of a Nimzo Indian Saemisch, the Armenian showcased some spectacular ideas through an early piece sacrifice to rip apart white's king side. Wesley So was a mere spectator as brilliancy followed. Aronian won in just 28 moves.
Anish Giri could get nothing with his white pieces against Carlsen's Sicilian Sveshnikov. The pieces flew off in quick time and soon it was another opposite coloured Bishops on the board. The draw was a just result.
Grischuk thought he was better but Topalov maintained the balance while Vachier-Lagrave produced some fireworks before settling for a half point with Nakamura.
Results round 4: Fabiano Caruana (USA, 1) drew with V Anand (Ind, 1); Alexander Grischuk (Rus, 1.5) drew with Veselin Topalov (Bul, 3); Wesley So (Usa, 1.5) lost to Levon Aronian (Arm, 3); Anish Giri (Ned, 2.5) drew with Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 2.5); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 2) drew with Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2).