Former world champion Viswanathan Anand came out unscathed with his first black game and got an easy draw against Levon Aronian of Armenia in the second round of the London Chess Classic, the final leg of the Grand Chess tour, here. (Viswanathan Anand Draws With Michael Adams in London Classic Chess Opener)
With his second draw in as many games, Anand took his tally to one point out of a possible two and still has four white games remaining out of the last seven rounds. The Indian ace will meet reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the third round.
It turned out to be a very quiet day in the Classic as all five games ended in draws. There was little action in the drawn encounter between Anish Giri of Holland and Michael Adams of England.
Carlsen tried for a long time but American Faiano Caruana maintained his calm through a difficult yet precise defence while Alexander Grischuk of Russia held his forte together against Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria.
In the most interesting game of the day, Frenchman Maxime-Vachier Lagrave did scare Hikaru Nakamura but could not really press home what looked like an optical advantage in the end.
The drawn melee meant that the status quo post the first round was retained in terms of tournament standings. Anish Giri, the lone winner in the tournament thus far at the expense of Topalov, remained in sole lead with 1.5 points and he is followed by everyone except Topalov on one point each. Bulgarian Topalov fills the last spot currently on half a point.
Aronian came up with a mild surprise in the queen's gambit declined but Anand was not so much impressed. The position that arose in the middle game was akin to the Ragozine defence that Anand has been playing for quite some time and white got nothing.
"I felt under pressure but I also did not see a clear way for him," said Anand after the game.
In the middle game, Aronian's attempt for a breakthrough on the queen side evaporated as Anand went for a timely trade of his light square Bishop and thereon it was easy play from both sides. The game was drawn through repetition on move 34.
Carlsen's idea to break the Berlin defence by keeping the queens for a long time did not materialise against Caruana. The players reached the heavy pieces endgame with an intimidating passed pawn for the Norwegian but Caruana's defence was impregnable.
Nakamura reached the standard Benoni opening against Vachier-Lagrave a move down with black pieces but did not mind that too much. However, typically of the middle games arising out of Benoni structures, there was some pressure that Nakamura had to face.
Asked about playing the most entertaining game of the day, Nakamura said, "I don't know about entertaining today. Today was not what I call entertaining from the position I had out of the opening. Maybe it was entertaining for the fans but I was not enjoying it at least."
Results of Round 2: Levon Aronian (Arm, 1) drew with V Anand (Ind, 1); Anish Giri (Ned, 1.5) drew with Michael Adams (Eng, 1); Veselin Topalov (Bul, 0.5) drew with Alexander Grischuk (Rus, 1); Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 1) drew with Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 1); Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 1) drew with Maxiem Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 1).