Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand played out an easy draw against Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in the ninth and penultimate round of the Bilbao Grand Slam chess tournament to stay joint fifth.
With his seventh draw in nine games Anand, playing with white, took his points tally to seven points in the soccer-like scoring system with just one round to come in the super-category tournament.
It turned out to be a calm day before the final round as all the three games, in the six players double round-robin tournament, ended in draws.
Magnus Carlsen could do little against solid play of Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan who played white, while Levon Aronian survived a scare at the hands of Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine.
The standings remained unchanged and Topalov remained atop the tables on 14 points, a full point ahead of Aronian. Ivanchuk and Carlsen share the third spot on 12 points each while Anand and Radjabov are way behind on seven points.
Anand faced the Caro Kann defense by Topalov and it was already a big surprise. Going for a variation that has been discarded in favour of new variations and research, Anand did not get anything special in the middle game and Topalov equalised without much ado.
The pieces got exchanged at regular intervals and the players reached a drawn rook and pawns endgame in quick time. After 41 moves the peace was signed.
Anand's hunt for a victory continued with the draw and it looks he will go without a win from here as he plays with black against Carlsen in the final round.
The Ivanchuk-Aronian game was much more complicated. The Ruy Lopez exchange gave little to Aronian and Ivanchuk seized the initiative in the queen-less middle game typical of the opening but the famous time-pressure of the Ukrainian again came to haunt him.
Aronian wriggled out of his difficulties in the endgame through a thematic piece sacrifice to force matters. Ivanchuk was visibly upset after missing out on the victory.
Radjabov played it safe like Anand and it was almost a chanceless draw in another Caro Kann of the day. For the records, a rook and opposite coloured Bishops endgame was reached in this game.
Results round 9: V Anand (Ind, 7) drew with V Topalov (Bul, 14); Teimour Radjabov (Aze, 7) drew with Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 12); Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr, 12) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 13).
V Anand vs V Topalov
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. Nf3 Nd7 7. Bd3 Ngf6 8. O-O e6 9. b3 Be7 10. Bb2 Qa5 11. c4 O-O 12. Bxg6 hxg6 13. Qc2 Ba3 14. Rfd1 Bxb2 15. Qxb2 Rfe8 16. Qd2 Qxd2 17. Rxd2 e5 18. dxe5 Nxe5 19. Nxe5 Rxe5 20. f3 Kf8 21. Kf2 a5 22. Rad1 Ke7 23. Re2 Rxe2+ 24. Nxe2 Rh8 25. h3 Nd7 26. Nc3 Nc5 27. f4 Ne6 28. Ke3 g5 29. fxg5 Nxg5 30. Ne2 Ne6 31. Nd4 g6 32. Nxe6 Kxe6 33. Rd4 c5 34. Re4+ Kd6 35. Kf3 a4 36. Re3 axb3 37. axb3 Rh4 38. Rd3+ Ke7 39. Re3+ Kd6 40. Rd3+ Ke7 41. Re3+ draw.
T Radjabov vs M Carlsen
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. Nf3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 e6 6. Nd2 Nc6 7. N2f3 Nge7 8. Bd3 Bd7 9. O-O Ng6 10. Nxc6 bxc6 11. c4 Be7 12. Be3 Qb8 13. Bxg6 hxg6 14. Qc2 a5 15. Rfc1 O-O 16. Qe2 Rc8 17. Rc3 Qc7 18. Rac1 Qd8 19. a3 dxc4 20. Rd1 c5 21. Qxc4 Rab8 22. Rcd3 Rc7 23. R3d2 Qe8 24. Ng5 Ba4 25. Rc1 Bxg5 26. Bxg5 Qb5 27. Be3 Qxc4 28. Rxc4 Bb3 29. Rc3 a4 30. Bxc5 g5 31. f3 Kh7 32. Kf2 Rb5 33. Bd6 Rd7 34. Rcd3 Kg6 35. Rd4 f6 36. h3 Rd8 37. Kg3 Rd7 38. Kf2 Rd8 39. Re2 Rc8 40. Bb4 Rd5 41. Rxd5 Bxd5 42. Bc3 f5 43. Rd2 Rc4 44. Ke3 g4 45. hxg4 fxg4 46. Rd4 Rxd4 47. Bxd4 Kf5 48. Bc3 gxf3 49. gxf3 g5 50. Bd4 Bb3 51. Bc3 Bd5 52. Bd4 Bb3 53. Bc3 Bd5 draw.
V Ivanchuk vs L Aronian
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O Bg4 6. h3 h5 7. d3 Qf6 8. Nbd2 Ne7 9. Re1 Ng6 10. d4 Nf4 11. hxg4 hxg4 12. g3 gxf3 13. Qxf3 Ne6 14. dxe5 Qxe5 15. Qf5 Qb5 16. Nf3 g6 17. Qxb5 axb5 18. c3 b4 19. cxb4 Bxb4 20. Re2 O-O 21. Be3 Rfd8 22. Ng5 Nd4 23. Bxd4 Rxd4 24. Nf3 Rdd8 25. Kg2 Be7 26. b3 c5 27. Rc1 Ra6 28. Ne5 Re6 29. f4 Rd4 30. Kf3 b5 31. Rcc2 f5 32. exf5 gxf5 33. Re3 Kg7 34. Rh2 Bf6 35. Rh5 Rd2 36. Rxf5 Rxa2 37. g4 Ra3 38. g5 Be7 39. Kg4 c4 40. Nxc4 Rxe3 41. Nxe3 Rxb3 42. Re5 Bf8 43. Nf5+ Kf7 44. Nd4 Rb4 45. Nxb5 Rc4 46. Rd5 Ke6 47. Re5+ Kf7 48. Kf5 Kg8 49. Na7 Kf7 50. Re4 Rc1 51. Rd4 Rc5+ 52. Kg4 Ke6 53. Nc8 Ra5 54. Rd8 Ba3 55. Re8+ Kd7 56. Rh8 Bb2 57. Rf8 Ba3 58. Rg8 Ra4 59. g6 Bb2 60. Kg5 Ra1 61. Rf8 Rg1+ 62. Kf5 Bc1 63. Na7 Bxf4 64. Rf7+ Ke8 65. Kxf4 Rf1+ 66. Ke5 Rxf7 67. gxf7+ Kxf7 68. Kd5 c6+ 69. Kxc6 draw.