Bilbao (Spain):World Champion Viswanathan Anand played out his third draw on the trot, signing peace with Levon Aronian of Armenia in the third round of Bilbao Grand Slam final here.
Anand slipped to the joint third spot on 3 points in the Soccer-like scoring system that gives 3 points for a win and 1 for a draw. The Indian ace is currently 2 points away from new tournament leader Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and 1 point behind Magnus Carlsen of Norway.
In the other two games of the 6-player double round robin event, Topaloov came crashing on Carlsen while Azerbaijani Teimour Radjabov played out a draw with Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine.
With seven rounds still to come in the 400000 Euros prize money tournament, Topalov with one win and draws has 5 points while Carlsen with a win, one loss and one draw has four. Anand shares the third spot with Ivanchuk and Radjabov on 3 points while Aronian is at the bottom of the standings with just 2 points earned through two draws thus far.
Playing his first black in the tournament, Anand gave a solid display against Aronian in a Slav defense game. After the opening the players reached a position akin to the Queen's gambit accepted and even as Aronian tried hard, Anand was always on guard.
The middle game saw the trading of queens on the 21st move and soon afterwards Aronian sacrificed a rook for Bishop to get a dangerous-looking outside passed pawn. Anand had to find some correct moves leading to liquidation of most of the pawns on the king side and the Indian ace sacrificed his extra material on the 42nd move to force matters.
Carlsen was out-of-sort for the first time in the event as he dropped a pawn against Topalov through a series of forced maneuvers. The Norwegian sensation, who is rapidly closing in on the number one slot in ELO rankings, started off slowly with white in the Queen's gambit declined and felt the heat after making an error on the 21st move.
Topalov pounced on the opportunity and got an extra pawn a few moves later. Further exchanges ensued and the players reached a minor piece endgame that offered little respite to Carlsen who threw the towel in after 56 moves.
Teimour Radjabov tried hard to complicate matters against in-form Vassily Ivanchuk but the later stuck to basics to get an easy half point as black in the end. For the records it was a Queen's gambit accepted wherein Radjabov went for early queen exchanges and put pressure on the king side. Ivanchuk thwarted white's attempt for an advantage with timely counter play and Radjabov had little choice but to repeat the moves.
The game lasted 35 moves.