WIJK AAN ZEE:World champion Viswanathan Anand tried hard but eventually split the point with Dutchman Loek van Wely in the 12th and penultimate round in group A of the Corus international chess tournament on Sunday.
Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi outplayed Efstratios Grivas of Greece to emerge as clear second in the group C. The Indian meets tournament leader Fabiano Caruana of Italy in the final round and a victory will propel him to a joint first finish.
Starting out with two losses, this has been an excellent recovery by Negi, who is the second youngest ever Grandmaster in the history of the game.
Meanwhile in the group A, Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen staked claim for the title again with a remarkable victory over former world champion and reigning world number one, Vladimir Kramnik of Russia.
Playing the black side of an English opening Carlsen capitalised on a calculation mistake by Kramnik and pulled the plug in the ensuing endgame.
Carlsen took his tally to 7.5 points and joined overnight leader Levon Aronian at the top of the tables after the latter played a quiet draw with Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine.
Anand is now a half point behind the two leaders along with Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan and a photo-finish seems well on cards in the first big tournament of the year.
In the 'B' group, being played simultaneously, Grandmaster P Harirkishna failed to break the ice against GM Michal Krasenkow of Poland and had to be satisfied with a draw.
Grandmaster Sergei Movsesian of Slovakia, meanwhile, almost assured himself of the top place with a clinical victory over Erwin L'Ami of Holland.
With just one round to come, Movsesian took his tally to an unassailable 9 points out of a possible 12 and he is now trailed by Nigel Short of England and Etienne Bacrot of France who both have 8 points each.
Harirkishna stands clear fourth on 7 points and meets Bacrot in the last game. The other Indian in the fray Koneru Humpy went down to tail-ender Wouter Spoelman and faces Movsesian in the final round.
Anand's game was a Queen's Indian defense against van Wely wherein the Indian ace had little troubles in maintaining the balance. The middle game saw heaps of exchanges leading to a level queen and minor piece ending where there were some jitters as Anand tried too hard at first.
The game was eventually drawn after 45 moves.
Negi played a fine attacking game to beat Grivas who played the black side of a French defense.
Following a passive opening by the Greek, Negi went for the King straight away and was duly rewarded as Grivas lost his queen for little compensation. The game lasted just 29 moves