World champion Viswanathan Anand jumped to the sole lead after playing a couple of draws with former world champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in the third round of the Amber blindfold and rapid chess tournament in Nice.
Anand took his combined tally to four points and is now half a point ahead of nearest rivals Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine, Levon Aronian of Armenia, Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Topalov who all have 3.5 points apiece.
Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan are next in line a half point behind and the latter was a show-stealer on the third day with a sensational victory over Kramnik from the black side of a rarely played Budapest Gambit in the rapid game.
Anand also leads the rapid section solely on 2.5 points. A half point clear of Aronian and Topalov while the blindfold section is headed by Ivanchuk, Carlsen and Russian Alexander Morozevich who all have 2 points in their kitty.
Eight rounds are still remaining in the tournament, which features one blindfold and one rapid game in each round.
Topalov and Anand had a theoretical discussion in one of the main lines of the Catalan Opening where the Indian played black.
Topalov had a miniscule advantage in the middle game but that was all to it till the game lasted. Anand defended well and after 59 moves the draw was a just result.
In the rapid game Topalov employed the Caro Kann defense as black that came good. Anand did not get much out the opening as the Bulgarian seemed aptly prepared.
Topalov confided that at some point he thought he could have fought for more but yet again with the clock ticking away decided against it.
"I didn't want to blitz, especially not against Anand," Topalov said.
Twice world junior champion Mamedyarov stole the honours on the third day by beating Kramnik.
After the blindfold had ended in a draw the Budapest Gambit was the favoured choice by the Azerbaijani that brought many smiles on the faces of spectators.
Undeterred as he was, Mamedyarov got away with only a slightly worse position out of the opening and later used his pieces effectively to pull the coup after 39 moves.
In other interesting games of the day, Aronian found his nemesis in Israeli Boris Gelfand in the rapid game. After a complicated blindfold that ended in a draw, the Armenian was out of sort after a pawn sacrifice in a French defense game.
Gelfand proved that white did not have enough compensation after 55 moves.
Results -- Round 3
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov drew with Vladimir Kramnik (Rus).
Veselin Topalov (Bul) drew with V Anand (Ind).
Peter Leko (Hun) drew with Alexander Morozevich (Rus).
Levon Aronian (Arm) drew with Boris Gelfand (Isr).
Magnus Carlsen (Nor) beat Sergey Karjakin (Ukr).
Loek Van Wely (Ned) drew with Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr).
Kramnik lost to Mamedyarov.
Anand drew with Topalov.
Morozevich lost to Leko.
Gelfand beat Aronian; Karjakin beat Carlsen
Ivanchuk lost to Van Wely.
The moves: Veselin Topalov v/s Viswanathan Anand
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Be7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 7. Qc2 a6 8. Qxc4 b5 9. Qc2 Bb7 10. Bg5 Nbd7 11. Bxf6 Nxf6 12. Nbd2 Rc8 13. Nb3 c5 14. dxc5 Ne4 15. Rfd1 Qc7 16. c6 Qxc6 17. Qxc6 Bxc6 18. Ne5 Bd5 19. Nd7 Rfe8 20. Nb6 Rc2 21. Nxd5 exd5 22. Rxd5 Bf6 23. Rc1 Rxc1+ 24. Nxc1 Bxb2 25. Bxe4 Bxc1 26. Rd7 Kf8 27. Bc6 Re6 28. Rc7 Bb2 29. e4 g5 30. Kg2 Be5 31. Rc8+ Kg7 32. Bd5 Re7 33. Ra8 Rc7 34. Rxa6 Rc2 35. Ra3 Bd4 36. Rf3 f6 37. h4 h6 38. Rf5 b4 39. h5 Kf8 40. Kf1 Ke7 41. Bb3 Rc5 42. Rd5 Rxd5 43. exd5 f5 44. Ke2 Kd6 45. f3 Be5 46. g4 fxg4 47. fxg4 Ke7 48. Kd3 Bd6 49. Kc4 Kf6 50. Kb5 Ke5 51. Kc6 Bf8 52. Kd7 Bd6 53. Ke8 Kf6 54. Bc2 Bc5 55. Bf5 Bd6 56. Kd7 Ke5 57. Be6 Bc5 58. Bg8 Bd6 59. Be6 game drawn.
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. h4 h6 7. Nf3 Nd7 8. h5 Bh7 9. Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 e6 11. Bf4 Qa5+ 12. Bd2 Bb4 13. c3 Be7 14. c4 Qc7 15. O-O-O Ngf6 16. Qe2 O-O 17. Kb1 Rfe8 18. Ne4 Nxe4 19. Qxe4 c5 20. Bf4 Nf6 21. Qe3 Qb6 22. Be5 Qa6 23. Rc1 Rac8 24. dxc5 Ng4 25. Qd4 Nxe5 26. Nxe5 Bxc5 27. Qd7 Rf8 28. Rc2 Qd6 29. Qxd6 Bxd6 30. Nd3 Rfd8 31. b3 Ba3 32. Ne5 Rd6 33. Re2 Rcd8 34. Kc2 Bb4 35. Nf3 a5 36. Rh4 Rd1 37. Kb2 Be7 38. Rhe4 Rf1 39. Kc2 Ra1 40. Kb2 Rdd1 41. Re1 Rab1+ 42. Kc2 Rbc1+ 43. Kb2 Bc5 44. R4e2 Rb1+ 45. Kc2 Rbc1+ 46. Kb2 Rb1+ 47. Kc2 Rbc1 game drawn.