Former world champion Viswanathan Anand ended his campaign with a draw against Peter Svidler of Russia, while another Russian Sergey Karjakin emerged the new challenger for the next World Championship match after the conclusion of the Candidates chess tournament in Moscow.
On what turned out to be an easy day with black, Anand did not have to worry too much and a comfortable draw in the end ensured that the Indian tied for the second spot and finished third in the event.
Karjakin defeated Fabiano Caruana of United States to end on 8.5 points out of a possible 14 to win the Candidates solely by a full point margin.
It was a high-tension final round where Caruana, needing a victory with black, took his chances but a brilliant rook sacrifice by Karjakin sealed the victory.
In the next World Championship match, scheduled in United States in November this year, Karjakin will get his first attempt at the mega event against Carlsen, who had incidentally predicted Karjakin among favourites to win the Candidates title.
In the other games of the final round, Dutch Grandmaster Anish Giri maintained his all-draw record and signed peace with Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria while Levon Aronian and Hikaru Nakamura also played out a draw.
With Karjakin at the helm, Caruana and Anand scored 7.5 points apiece. Giri, Nakamura, Aronian and Svidler tied for the fourth spot on seven points each while Topalov ended a forgettable event on 4.5 points.
Karjakin had qualified for the Candidates, winning the world cup and ended here with four victories, one loss and eight draws in all.
Anand had the maximum number of decisive games, winning four, losing three and drawing the remaining seven.
"Bit of a roller-coaster, I had some very good moments. In the end, third is still a good result but I feel I spoiled some chances, it could have easily been a dream tournament," Anand said, reflecting on his performance.
Anand was the only one who could beat Karjakin in the tournament.
In the final game, Anand did not repeat the set-ups he had been employing earlier in the tournament and a more solid approach yielded a level position after the opening. As it happened, the pieces changed hands at regular intervals and the players reached a level rook and minor pieces endgame in quick time.
Karjakin had to find the rook sacrifice and his nerves held him in good stead in the final round. It was a Classical Sicilian wherein the Russian first sacrificed a pawn in the centre to open up the position and then launched a winning attack to win in 42 moves.
Results round 14: Peter Svidler (Rus, 7) drew with V Anand (Ind, 7.5); Anish Giri (Ned, 7) drew with Veselin Topalov (Bul, 4.5); Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 7) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 7); Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 8.5) beat Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 7.5).
Final Standings: 1. Karjakin 8.5; 2-3. Caruana, Anand 7.5 each; 4-7. Giri, Svidler, Aronian, Nakamura 7 each; 8. Topalov 4.5.
Image: Viswanathan Anand
Photograph: Patrik Stollarz/Getty Images