World Champion Viswanathan Anand played his second straight draw as he signed peace with top American Hikaru Nakamura in a complex second round game to slip to joint third in the fourth Bilbao Final Masters in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
After a first round draw with Magnus Carlsen of Norway as white, Anand kept his position intact with black pieces against Nakamura even as the latter had some visions of getting an advantage in the middle game.
The result pushed the Indian to joint third spot as Ukrainian Vassily Ivanchuk shot ahead of him defeating lowest ranked Francisco Vallejo Pons of Spain.
The other game of the day was an intense positional battle between Carlsen and Levon Aronian of Armenia, ending in a draw.
With eight rounds still remaining in the category-22 super tournament being played on a double round-robin basis, Ivanchuk now shares the lead with Aronian on four points while Anand, Carlsen and Nakamura stand joint third on two points each.
Vallejo Pons is yet to open his account in the soccer-like scoring system that gives three points for a win and one for a draw.
Anand is known to never to shy away from complexities and against Nakamura it was yet again evident. The American opened with the Queen pawn and faced the Semi-Slav defense which later shaped in to a Moscow variation which is known for its wild nature.
Nakamura stood his ground by attacking the black queenside right from the word go after a routine pawn sacrifice to facilitate better platform for his pieces.
Anand was firmly in control right through even as he had to find some deft manoeuvres and even had to sacrifice a piece to stay in the game. As it happened after the piece sacrifice, Anand's two commanding passed pawns ensured enough counter play. In the end Nakamura had to dispense with his extra material and force perpetual checks. The game lasted 38 moves.
Vassily Ivanchuk showed why is a feared opponent in an English opening game with white pieces. Vallejo Pons was put under pressure in the middle game once the center got opened and his pawn weakness had a telling effect. Ivanchuk conducted the game in masterly fashion and in the end trapped Vallejo's queen in just 37 moves.
The longest game of the day was played by Carlsen and Aronian in a closed Ruy Lopez where the former played white. Carlsen got a semblance of an advantage in the endgame with his better placed rooks but Aronian came up with a pawn sacrifice to secure his share of piece-play. The game boiled down to a pure rook and pawns ending in which the Armenian did not have many problems in neutralizing the balance. The peace was signed in 56 moves.
Results round 2: Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 2) drew with V Anand (Ind, 2); Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 2) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 4); Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr, 4) beat Francisco Vallejo Pons (Esp, 0).
The moves: Hikaru Nakamura v/s V Anand 1. c4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 dxc4 7. e4 g5 8. Bg3 b5 9. Ne5 Nbd7 10. Nxc6 Qb6 11. d5 Bb7 12. a4 a6 13. Be2 Bxc6 14. dxc6 Qxc6 15. axb5 axb5 16. Rxa8+ Qxa8 17. O-O Qc6 18. e5 Nd5 19. Nxd5 Qxd5 20. Qa1 Bg7 21. Rd1 Qc5 22. Qa8+ Ke7 23. Qb7 Rd8 24. Bf3 Bxe5 25. Bxe5 Qxe5 26. Bc6 Kf6 27. Bxd7 Qxb2 28. Rf1 c3 29. Qc7 Ra8 30. Bxe6 fxe6 31. f4 Ra1 32. fxg5+ Kxg5 33. Qg7+ Kh5 34. Qf7+ Kg5 35. Qf6+ Kh5 36. Qf7+ Kg5 37. Qg7+ Kh5 38. Qf7+ game drawn.