World Champion Viswanathan Anand jumped to the joint second spot after signing peace with Sergey Karjakin of Russia in the fifth round of the 20th and final edition of Amber Blindfold and Rapid chess tournament in Monaco.
Anand, who had three victories in the first four rounds was stopped by a determined Karjakin and though the Indian ace had a promising position in the rapid game of the day, the Russian fought hard.
It is normally not the case but the two drawn games helped Anand to improve his tournament position even as Levon Aronian of Armenia broke away from the field with a handsome 2-0 victory over Vugar Gashimov of Azerbaijan.
With six rounds or 12 games still to come in the unique tournament with a 2,27,000 Euros prize pool, Aronian took his tally to an excellent eight points out of a possible 10 while Anand is now sole second on 6.5 points in the combined standings.
Overnight joint leader Magnus Carlsen of Norway fell behind to the third spot following a 0-2 drubbing at the hands of Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine and Russian Grischuk is now sole fourth with 5.5 points.
Aronian's triumph also helped him to gain sole lead both in the blindfold and rapid section on four points each while he is joint second in blindfold along with Boris Gelfand of Israel and Grischuk and shares the same spot in the rapid along with Carlsen.
Formerly from Ukraine, Karjakin now plays for Russia. Having started with a 0-2 loss in the opener Karjakin has fought his way back and in the blindfold game against Anand he just made a quick draw with black pieces.
It was a brief theoretical discussion that ended in a draw after a mere 23 moves. Anand faced a new idea in the Nimzo Indian on move 12. White won a pawn, but despite the activity he could not avoid giving it back as in the end the isolated c-pawn was bound to fall.
Anand misplayed a very promising position through his fingers in the return rapid game as black. From a Sicilian Najdorf as black, Anand had everything under control going in to a much superior endgame but for his 37th move that allowed a lot of freedom to Karjakin's forces.
In the final stages Anand had to watch out, but after 52 moves the draw was a fact.
Carlsen sensationally dropped a pawn early in the opening through a simple tactic against Ivanchuk in the blindfold. Trying through sacrificing his queen stead, the Norwegian only ended up extending his agony as Ivanchuk won anyways.
In the rapid game, Carlsen tried a rare variation as white but yet again Ivanchuk displayed top form.
Results round 5 blindfold: Sergey Karjakin (Rus) drew with V Anand (Ind); Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr) beat Magnus Carlsen (Nor); Vugar Gashimov (Aze) lost to Levon Aronian (Arm); Veselin Topalov (Bul) beat Alexander Grischuk (Rus); Anish Giri (Ned) beat Hikaru Nakamura (Usa); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus) lost to Boris Gelfand (Isr).
Rapid: Karjakin drew with Anand; Carlsen lost to Ivanchuk; Aronian beat Gashimov; Grischuk drew with Topalov; Nakamura drew with Giri; Gelfand lost to Kramnik.
Combined standings after round 5: 1. Aronian 8; 2. Anand 6.5; 3. Carlsen 6; 4. Grischuk 5.5; 5-6. Karjakin, Topalov 5 each; 7-8. Gelfand, Nakamura 4.5 each; 9-10. Gashimov, Ivanchuk 4 each; 11-12. Giri, Kramnik 3.5 each.