Five-time World champion Viswanathan Anand played out an easy draw with black against former World champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in the second round of the Candidates Chess tournament in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia, on Friday.
Not missing anything after his fantastic opening round victory against top seed Levonn Aronian of Armenia, Anand came up with another emphatic display of positional chess.
The Indian ace moved to 1.5 points out of a possible two, a tally now matched by the Russian duo of Vladimir Kramnik and Peter Svidler.
While the opening day saw only Anand winning and rest of the games ending in draws, the second round was in contrast, as only Anand drew. Vladimir Kramnik cut through the defences of compatriot Sergey Karjakin in great style while Peter Svidler made his 'wild card' look worthy with a crushing victory over Dmitry Andreikin.
Making sure he won't be far behind after the first round defeat, Levon Aronian struck back with vengeance as he made mince meat of Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan.
With Anand, Kramnik and Svidler in front, Aronian holds the fourth spot on one point along with Topalov and these two have Mamedyarov, Karjakin and Andreikin right behind them with a half point each.
On what turned out to be an easy day as black, Anand opted a set up akin to the Slav defense and had apparently done a lot of home-work in the variation. Topalov sank in to a long thought early in the opening while he went about capturing a pawn in the center and Anand was simply on top in preparation as he played much faster.
After winning the pawn, Topalov could not think of anything better than converting to a endgame with Rooks and Bishops still on board but Anand had worked out that this ploy will also lead to a draw only.
Further liquidations led to a drawn rook and pawns endgame and the peace was finally signed with only Kings left on the board. The game lasted 54 moves.
Kramnik showed he is in fine fettle with a brilliant attacking victory over Karjakin, known as the youngest ever Grandmaster in the world. The Queen's gambit accepted by Karjakin as black resulted in a lively position and Kramnik went about his execution with an exchange sacrifice. It was all over in just 39 moves.
If Aronian felt the pressure after losing to Anand, he did not show it and squeezed out a nice victory against Mamedyarov. It was a Ragozin variation wherein Aronian came up with a fine new idea and Mamedyarov's early blunder led to loss of his queen for two pieces. The rest was easy as Aronian won in 44 moves.
Peter Svidler came up with an inspired performance in an Sicilian accelerated Sveshnikov against Andreikin. Winning a pawn with precise technique, Svidler had little troubles in converting the ensuing rook endgame in to a full point.
Results, round 2: V Topalov (Bul, 1) drew with V Anand (Ind, 1.5); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 1.5) beat Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 0.5); Peter Svidler (Rus, 1.5) beat Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 0.5); Levon Aronian (Arm, 1) beat Shakhriayar Mamedyarov (Aze, 0.5).
Image: Viswanathan Anand