Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand played out an easy draw as black against Levon Aronian of Armenia in the second round of the Candidates Chess tournament in Moscow on Saturday.
After scoring a victory over Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, it was business as usual for Anand as he gave few chances to Aronian with his first black game in the 14-round tournament.
The Armenian defended a slightly worse position against Anish Giri of Holland for a long time in the first round and in the second game he was not able to push for anything great.
The day produced only one decisive game yet again and the winner was Sergey Karjakin of Russia who put it across pundit's favourite Hikaru Nakamura of United States. The other two games of the second round ended in draws as Anish Giri held his forte together against Fabiano Caruana of United States while Russian Peter Svidler gave nothing away as white to Topalov.
With 12 rounds still to come, Anand and Karjakin share the lead on 1.5 points out of a possible two and they are now followed by a group of four -- Giri, Aronian, Caruana and Svidler -- at the third spot on one point each while Nakamura and Topalov have a half point each for the shared seventh place.
Anand came up with a unique move in order to get the position he wanted against Aronian. The Armenian has troubled the Indian in the past but on this day everything was in order as Anand went for a recently popular set of manoeuvres in the Queen's gambit declined.
Aronian, though, did not concede much time earlier on taking his decisions and it appeared that white had a little edge to go by in the middle game.
However, Anand had things worked out quite well as it turned out. The change of pieces at regular intervals ensured parity for the Indian ace. The game was drawn in a mere 31 moves.
The day belonged to local hero Karjakin who was at his technical best against Nakamura. The American has not lost many games lately and this shocker is surely going to put him on the back foot.
It was a Queen's Indian defense wherein Karjakin got a small but lasting advantage but Nakamura apparently was out-calculated in the middle game after the American tried to complicate matters through a piece sacrifice. Karjakin was spot on and gave no chances thereafter.
Anish Giri faced some stiff pressure from Caruana but withstood it to eventually force a draw out a Ruy Lopez Berlin closed while Svidler got nothing as white against Topalov.
Results Round 2: Levon Aronian (Arm, 1) drew with V Anand (Ind, 1.5); Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 1.5) beat Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 0.5); Peter Svidler (Rus, 1) drew with Veselin Topalov (Bul, 0.5); Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 1) drew with Anish Giri (Ned, 1).
Image: Viswanathan Anand
Photograph: Patrik Stollarz/Getty Images