World champion Viswanathan Anand's form in rapid chess was found wanting again as he squandered a lead against Boris Gelfand of Israel and settled for a 1-1 draw in the 10th and penultimate round of the Amber blindfold and rapid chess tournament in Nice, France.
Anand showed depth in his preparation as he won the blindfold game, but slipped yet again in his favourite Rapid format, giving Gelfand a chance to equalise.
The Indian is joint-sixth in overall standings with just one round to go and has no chance of winning either of the titles in the tournament.
Levon Aronian of Armenia won the tournament with one round to spare after settling for two draws with Vladimir Kramnik of Russia.
The Armenian took his overall tally to 13.5 points, 2.5 points ahead of nearest rivals Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, Peter Leko of Hungary, Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Kramnik, who all have 11 points apiece.
Anand is joint-sixth in the overall standings with 10 points along with Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine and Alexander Morozevich of Russia.
In blindfold, Morozevich shares the lead with Aronian on 5.5 points while the rapid has also been won by Aronian with a round to spare as he has an unassailable 2 points lead in this section.
It was a slip of a mouse some time back that gave Anand a much-needed victory over Gelfand in the penultimate round of the blindfold. While preparing a fashionable variation of the Slav defense, the Indian had put the 21st move by mistake and found that it was indeed the best response.
Gelfand suffered for the remaining part of the game, losing eventually in 31 moves.
In the return game it was Gelfand's turn to deliver the goods as black. This time Anand was up against a Slav and blundered on the 16th move to land himself in difficulties. Gelfand won a pawn in quick time thereafter and it was smooth sailing for the top Israeli GM.
"The way I have played here, I might have spoiled this, but I didn't," Gelfand said after the game.
Levon Aronian didn't take any great risks in his blindfold game against Vladimir Kramnik, who played black side of a Catalan.
Aronian went for a variation, in which the only risk is that Black equalises.
White was indeed a bit better in the ensuing middle game but with the precise 19th move Kramnik prepared the exchange of rooks and forced the draw.
The rapid game was briefly interrupted when after three moves the computer system stopped recording the players' moves.
After a new board had been installed Kramnik and Aronian picked up the thread of their game again and discussed a fashionable line of the Queen's Indian.
Kramnik miscalculated on the 22nd move. Once he realized his mistake Kramnik was happy to find a continuation that sufficed for a draw.
In other important games of the day, Toplaov won his mini match against Loek Van Wely of Holland by winning the rapid game while Magnus Carlsen played out two draws with Peter Leko.
Results Blindfold Round 10:
Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr) lost to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze); Loek Van Wely (Ned) drew with Veselin Topalov (Bul); Boris Gelfand (Isr) lost to V Anand (Ind); Sergey Karjakin (Ukr) drew with Alexander Morozevich (Rus); Levon Aronian (Arm) drew with Vladimir Kramnik (Rus); Magnus Carlsen (Nor) drew with Peter Leko (Hun).
Mamedyarov drew with Ivanchuk; Topalov beat Van Wely; Anand lost to Gelfand; Morozevich beat Karjakin; Kramnik drew with Aronian; Leko drew with Carlsen.
1-3: Kramnik, Aronian, Morozevich 6 each.
4-7: Topalov, Leko, Anand, Carlsen 5.5 each.
8-10: Ivanchuk, Karjakin, Van Wely 4.5 each.
11: Mamedyarov 3.5. 12. Gelfand 3.
1: Aronian 7.5
2-5: Ivanchuk, Carlsen, Leko, Topalov 5.5 each.
6-7: Kramnik, Gelfand 5 each.
8-9: Mamedyarov, Anand 4.5 each.
10-11: Karjakin, Morozevich 4 each.
12. Van Wely 3.5.
Combined Standings after Round 10:
1. Aronian 13.5. 2-5. Kramnik, Topalov, Leko, Carlsen 11 each.
6-8. Anand, Ivanchuk, Morozevich 10 each. 9. Karjakin, 8.5.
10-11. Gelfand, Mamedyarov 8. 12. Van Wely 8.
Bindfold: Boris Gelfand vs V Anand
1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3 Bb7 9. a3 Bd6 10. O-O O-O 11. Qc2 a6 12. b4 a5 13. Rb1 axb4 14. axb4 Qe7 15. e4 e5 16. dxe5 Nxe5 17. Nxe5 Bxe5 18. Ne2 Qe6 19. f4 Ra2 20. Qd1 Ba1 21. e5 c5 22. exf6 Bd4 23. Rf2 Bxf2 24. Kxf2 Qd5 25. Bb2 Qxg2 26. Ke1 c4 27. Bc2 Bf3 28. fxg7 Re8 29. Be5 f6 30. Bxh7 Kxh7 31. g8=Q Kxg8 white resigned.
Rapid: V Anand vs Boris Gelfand
1. c4 Nf6 2. Nf3 c6 3. d4 d5 4. e3 Bg4 5. h3 Bxf3 6. Qxf3 e6 7. Nc3 Nbd7 8. Bd3 Bb4 9. O-O O-O 10. Rd1 Nb6 11. c5 Nbd7 12. a3 Ba5 13. b4 Bc7 14. Bf1 e5 15. b5 Re8 16. Na2 Ne4 17. Bd3 Nexc5 18. Bxh7+ Kxh7 19. dxc5 Kg8 20. e4 Nxc5 21. exd5 e4 22. Qg4 cxd5 23. Be3 Nd3 24. Nb4 Qd6 25. Qg3 Qd7 26. f4 d4 27. Nxd3 dxe3 28. Ne5 Qxb5 29. Ng4 Qg5 30. fxg5 Bxg3 31. Nxe3 Rad8 32. Nf5 Bf4 33. h4 Rxd1+ 34. Rxd1 e3 35. Re1 Re5 36. g4 g6 37. Nh6+ Kg7 38. Kg2 e2 39. Kf3 Bc1 40. a4 f6 41. gxf6+ Kxh6 42. g5+ Kh7 43. Rxe2 Rxe2 44. Kxe2 a6 45. Kd3 b5 46. axb5 axb5 47. Kc3 Ba3 48. Kd4 Kg8 49. Kd5 Kf7 white resigned.