Enjoying the elevated status of an International Master, Parimarjan Negi held Grandmaster Milos Pavlovic of Serbia to an easy draw in the fifth round of the Masters section of Hastings International Chess Congress in Hastings.
The draw helped Negi retain his chances of a maiden Grandmaster norm, with the 12-year-old now needing 2.5 points from the next four rounds to achieve the feat.
In the next round, the Indian prodigy is pitted against second seed Valerij Neverov of Ukraine.
Despite the draw with Pavlovic, Negi remained in joint lead in this strong open competition, tallying 4 points out of a possible 5.
GM Vladimir Belov of Russia, GM Bogdan Lalic of Croatia, GM Mark Hebden of England, Pavlovic and three others are tied at the top of the tables with five rounds still to go.
Among other Indians in the fray, Gurpreet Pal Singh defeated Jessie Gilbert of England, while world under-10 champion Sahaj Grover was able to open his account with a draw against Mark Rich.
Negi again showed maturity in handling the experience of Pavlovic who played the black side of a Sicilian Scheveningen. Opting for the Keres Attack, Negi had things under control right from the beginning and was seen pressing for victory when Pavlovic lost a pawn in trying to simplify the position.
Negi was in command of the situation once the endgame started but the position demanded technical precision and was very difficult to convert.
Further exchanges led to an opposite colour Bishops endgame where the draw was a just result after 36 moves.
"It may have been better for me but I am not sure," Negi said after the game adding, "the opening and middle game looked good for me at the outset but he also had some play on the queen side."
Important and Indian Results (Round 5):
Bogdan Lalic (Cro, 4) drew with Vladimir Belov (Rus, 4); Simon Williams (Eng, 4) drew with Valerij Neverov (Ukr, 4); Parimarjan Negi (Ind, 4) drew with Milos Pavlovic (Scg, 4); Jack Rudd (Eng, 3.5) drew Piotr Bobras (Pol, 3.5); Mark Hebden (Eng, 4) beat Watu Kobese (Rsa, 3); Richard Pert (Eng, 3.5) drew with Simon Ansell (Eng, 3.5); Willy Hendricks (Eng, 4) beat Timothy Spanton (Eng, 3); Sergey Erenburg (Isr, 3.5) beat David Ledger (Eng, 2.5); Jessie Gilbert (Eng, 2) lost to G P Singh (Ind, 3); Sahaj Grover (Ind, 0.5) drew with Mark Rich (Eng, 0.5)