London: World Champion Viswanathan Anand was held to a draw by David Howell of England in the third round of London Chess Classic here on Tuesday.
For the records, this was Anand's 11th draw in a row following nine draws in the just concluded Tal Memorial at Moscow and his first round draw with English GM Michael Adams.
World number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway cruised past Hikaru Nakamura of United States and shot in to sole lead with seven points from three rounds in the soccer-like scoring system in use here.
Luke McShane of England emerged clear second in the Euros 1,60,000 prize money tournament following a fantastic victory over Adams. With his first victory in the event, McShane, one of the strongest amateur players in the world, shot up to five points.
On a fascinating day for chess buffs, Levon Aronian of Armenia also came in to reckoning after checkmating Nigel Short of England. The Armenian now shares the third spot along with Nakamura and Vladimir Kramnik on four points with six rounds still remaining in the 9-players round robin event.
Anand is currently on two point and is jointly on sixth spot with Adams and Howell. The luckless Nigel Short is now at the last spot, yet to open his account.
Anand got into some difficulties despite playing white against Howell. It is clear that the World Champion is not in his best form recently with mediocre results in Bilbao final Masters and the Tal memorial.
Howell went for the Slav defense and later transposed to an in-vogue Queen's gambit accepted structure. Anand sacrificed a pawn in the middle game but did not get the desired compensation and once Howell transposed to a queen pawn endgame, only black had chances.
Anand however, neutralised the initiative with precise technique to draw in 65 moves.
Carlsen agreed that Nakamura had an 'okay' position but also emphasised that it was 'easier to play as white'. Almost nonchalantly from an innocuous Italian opening, the Norwegian worked out tremendous tactics and his exchange sacrificed was hailed a lot in the commentary room.
Nakamura's king came under pressure and it was all over in 41 moves.
Short had drawing chances squandered against Aronian. It was a Queen pawn game wherein Short had things under control but Aronian went on the rampage in the ensuing endgame.
Winning a pawn, Aronian calculated excellently in the final stages to deliver checkmate on move 60.
McShane put up a fine technical display to outwit Adams.
Results round 3: V Anand (Ind, 2) drew with David Howell (Eng, 2); Michael Adams (Eng, 2) lost to Luke McShane (Eng, 5); Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 7) beat Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 4); Levon Aronian (Arm, 4) beat Nigel Short (Eng, 0).