World champion Viswanathan Anand drew with Peter Leko of Hungary to maintain his lead position after the 12th round of Morelia-Linares chess tournament in Linares.
Playing white against Leko, Anand tried to make a foray with his pet Ruy Lopez opening but the Hungarian, with his recently found form, kept Indian's forces at safe distance. The peace result helped Anand to reach 7.5 points out of a possible 12.
The game of the day was the triumph of Norwegian Magnus Carlsen against former world champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria. Carlsen had lost the previous round game against Leko and was in a devastating mood as he went all out for the blood and even though his method was questioned by many experts, the end result and a big smile on the face of the teenager registered a major impact on all.
The victory helped Carlsen bridge the lead gap between him and Anand.
With just two rounds remaining in the category-21 double round-robin tournament, Carlsen is just a half point adrift of the Indian ace and he has to play with Levon Aronian of Armenia and Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan in the remaining two rounds.
Anand on the other hand has long time rivals Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria as opponents and a close finish seems well on cards after another superlative effort by the Norwegian.
Anand obviously holds a strong edge over Carlsen given the half point lead, and the pressure is on the youngster as he is the one who has to catch up.
As things stand, Levon Aronian is the only one besides Anand and Carlsen with any realistic chance of winning the title. The Armenian played out a draw with Spaniard Alexei Shirov in a very eventful game that lasted 77 moves and moved to 6.5 points.
Anand played the Ruy Lopez and went for the oft-repeated closed set-up with his white pieces. After routine manoeuvres the pieces changed hands at regular intervals and the players arrived at a rook and minor pieces endgame.
Anand temporarily won a pawn but Leko had his share of compensation by means of active pieces and after 37 moves the point was split.
Carlsen played a typical attacking game to beat Topalov. Playing the white side of an English opening, Carlsen got a position akin to the Sicilian defense with colours reversed and Topalov had a decent position when caution was thrown to the winds.
It all started when Topalov exerted pressure on the queen side to win a pawn. Carlsen followed his loss of pawn with an exchange sacrifice that the Bulgarian declined, later another pawn sacrifice followed and Carlsen apparently ensured the draw when Topalov fell for a trap and found his king in a checkmating web. The game lasted 37 moves.
The other game of the day between Ivanchuk and Radjabov was drawn after a 58 move combat.
Results round 12: V Anand (Ind, 7.5) drew with Peter Leko (Hun, 5); Alexei Shirov (Esp, 5) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 6.5); Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 7) beat Veselin Topalov (Bul, 6); Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr, 5.5) drew with Teimour Radjabov (Aze, 5.5).
The moves: V Anand v/s Peter Leko: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. h3 Bb7 9. d3 Re8 10. Nc3 h6 11. a3 Bc5 12. Nd5 Nd4 13. Nxd4 Bxd4 14. c3 Bc5 15. Nxf6+ Qxf6 16. Be3 d6 17. Bxc5 dxc5 18. Re3 Re7 19. Qh5 Qg5 20. Qxg5 hxg5 21. c4 c6 22. Rg3 Rd8 23. Rc1 b4 24. axb4 cxb4 25. c5 a5 26. Ra1 Ba6 27. Rxa5 Bxd3 28. Rxg5 Kh7 29. Rg4 Be2 30. Rg3 Rd2 31. Ba4 Rc7 32. Rb3 Rd1+ 33. Kh2 Rd4 34. Re3 Rd2 35. b3 Ra2 36. Ra8 Bb5 37. Rb8 game drawn.