Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand easily drew as black against tournament leader Wesley So of America and the Indian ace remained joint second at the half way stage of the Bilbao Masters final chess tournament. (Read more in Chess)
With his third draw on the trot, Anand inched himself up to three points under the soccer-like scoring system in place here and the defending champion is now under some pressure to carve out a win in the next three rounds to stake his claim for the title he won last year.
The other game of the four-player double round-robin tournament between Dutch Anish Giri and Chinese Liren Ding also ended in a draw after being the longest game of an elite tournament recently. Giri tried for no less than 172 moves before he was forced to split the point.
With just three rounds to go, Wesley So remains in front with five points in his kitty from three games and Anand and Giri remained joint second on two points with three draws apiece. A victory here gives three points while a draw is worth just one which means Ding with two draws and a sole loss against Wesley So is on two points and at the bottom of the tables.
The tournament has not come off expectations so far producing just one decisive game out of six played so far. It was in round one when Wesley had beaten Ding in a spectacular game and since then all the games have ended in draws.
Anand with his first black in the tournament was at ease against Wesley who opened with the queen pawn. The game took shape in a Semi Slav defense wherein Anand equalised pretty comfortably.
What followed was a series of exchanges leading to a queen and pawns endgame wherein Wesley drew through perpetual checks after parting with a pawn. To sum it up, it was a very easy draw for Anand with black pieces.