World Champion Viswanathan Anand played out a draw with Levon Aronian of Armenia and slipped to fifth spot in the ninth round of Magistral Ciudad De Linares Chess tournament in Linares, Spain.
Having lost to Aronian from a position of strength with white pieces, Anand could do little as black and the game petered out to a draw.
Grandmaster Alexander Grischuk remained a full point clear of nearest rivals after settling for a quick draw with Wang Yue of China.
The Russian took his tally to a very impressive six points out of a possible nine. The second spot is now shared by Magnus Carlsen of Norway, Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine and Aronian who all have 5 points each while Anand is a half point adrift of this lot.
Sharing the sixth spot now are the remaining three players, Lenier Dominguez of Cuba, Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan and Wang Yue.
Barring Grischuk's quick draw, it turned out to be a pretty exciting day as Carlsen bounced back in the event with a fine victory over Dominguez. In the other game of the day, Ivanchuk played out a draw with Radjabov.
For Anand, playing simple was the key as the Indian ace did not give many chances. Aronian stuck to his Catalan opening and it was routine theory wherein Anand sacrificed a pawn temporarily to maintain the balance.
The pieces got traded in a heap and all the queen side pawns had changed hands in quick time. The game lasted 30 moves.
Carlsen employed the Sicilian Dragon against Dominguez who played the standard Yugoslav attack. The Cuban tried to make an impact by going for tactical positions but Carlsen was quicker to launch his attack on the queen side where the white king had castled. It was overall a very tough game wherein Dominguez was gradually outplayed.
Carlsen netted one pawn on king side and one on the other flank to reach a winning position and did not give any chances thereafter in this 54-mover.
Playing the black side a Queen's gambit accepted Grischuk went for a less explored set up and equalised easily as Wang Yue was not adequately prepared. The game ended in a draw after just 17 moves.
Ivanchuk faced the Schielmann system from Radjabov in the Ruy Lopez and could not do much with his white pieces. The Ukrainian stood a little better in the middle game but his advantage was neutralised once Radjabov got the typical central breakthrough. The peace was signed in 30 moves.