Five-time World champion Viswanathan Anand played out an easy draw with black against local star Anish Giri but slipped to joint second spot after the sixth round of Tata Steel Chess tournament, in Wijk Aan Zee, on Saturday.
Having won two of the first three games, this was Anand's third straight draw in the event and the Indian ace will look to heat things up in the next round when he plays with the slightly favourable colour in the game.
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan emerged as the sole leader when lady luck smiled on him from a nearly lost position against Grandmaster B Adhiban.
So far, Adhiban has struggled and is nowhere near the performance he showed in the previous edition when he finished third. However, the Indian missed a golden opportunity when he failed to convert what should have been his first victory.
With Mamedyarov in front on 4.5 points, Giri, Anand and Wesley So of United States share the second spot on four points apiece.
Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and top ranked Magnus Carlsen of Norway are joint fifth at the near half-way stage on 3.5 points with seven rounds still to come.
Anand had to do little with black pieces as Giri did not enter complexities. For the records, it was a Catalan by the Dutchman wherein Anand sacrificed a piece for piece-play and exchanged queens to retain subtle compensation. The peace was signed in a mere 20 moves.
Adhiban, let a winning chance slip on the 42nd turn when he had options to choose a win. Some more inaccuracies followed by the Indian and Mamedyarov was able to turn the tables after 86 moves.
Meanwhile, in the challengers' section, Anton Korobov of Ukraine stretched his lead to a full point after scoring over Aryan Tari of Norway. The Ukrainian moved to an impressive 5.5 points out of a possible six and is now a full point ahead of Indian hope Vidit Gujrathi.
Gujrathi played out a draw with Benjamin Bok of Holland while D Harika also split the points with Dmitry Gordievsky of Russia.
Results (Round 6)
Masters: Anish Giri (Ned, 4) drew with Viswanathan Anand (Ind, 4); B.Adhiban (Ind, 1) lost to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 4.5); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 3.5) drew with Gawain Jones (Eng, 3); Peter Svidler (Rus, 3) drew with Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 3.5); Fabiano Caruana (USA, 2) drew with Maxim Matlakov (Rus, 3); Wei Yi (Chn, 2.5) lost to Wesley So (USA, 4); Hou Yifan (Chn, 1) drew with Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 3).
Challengers: Benjamin Bok (Ned, 2.5) drew with Vidit Gujrathi (Ind, 4.5); Dmitry Gordievsky (Rus, 3) drew with D. Harika (Ind, 2.5); Anton Korobov (Ukr. 5.5) bt Aryan Tari (Nor, 2.5); Lucas van Foreest (Ned. 3.5) drew with Erwin L (Ned, 3); Matthias Bluebaum (Ger, 2.5) drew with Bassem Amin (Egy, 2.5); Jeffery Xiong (USA, 2.5) drew with Michal Krasenkow (Pol, 2.5); Olga Girya (Rus, 2.5) drew with Jordeen van Foreest (Ned, 2.5).