World champion Viswanathan Anand played out draws with Levon Aronian of Armenia in the fourth round of Amber Blindfold and Rapid Chess tournament in Nice.
Anand could not do much against solid play by Aronian in both blindfold and rapid games and even though the games were fought hard, the Indian ace never got any real chances to look for victory.
The Indian stands joint seventh in blindfold and joint fifth in rapid.
Vladimir Kramnik of Russian dealt a double blow to the aspirations of debutant Wang Yue of China winning both the games with consummate ease.
The Russian emerged as the sole leader in the combined standings on 5.5 points out of a possible eight and is now a half point clear of Aronian and Alexander Morozevich of Russia who played out a 1-1 draw with Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria.
With seven rounds or 14 games still remaining in the unique event that features one blindfold and one rapid game in each round, Teimour Radjabov jumped to joint fourth spot along with Topalov and Magnus Carlsen of Norway after a 2-0 triumph over Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine.
Radjabov, Topalov and Carlsen have an identical 4.5 points and they are now a half point clear of the next group comprising Anand and Hungarian Peter Leko.
In the blindfold, Kramnik surged ahead with a fine 3.5 points from four games so far and is now followed by Carlsen on 3 points while in the rapid it's a four-way lead shared by Radjabov, Kamsky, Aronian and Morozevich on 2.5 points each.
Anand steered clear of Aronian's Marshall Gambit in their blindfold game and followed the anti-Marshall set-up that Cuban Leineir Dominguez tried against the Armenian in Linares earlier this month.
Aronian was the first to deviate from this game on the 12th move. This proved to be a good strategy as Anand could do little while black improved the position and got excellent play.
Aronian won a pawn, but his advantage never became sufficient for the win. Anand could even give up a second pawn, as in this case he saddled Black with a powerless doubled pawn. The peace was signed after 72 moves.
The rapid game also ended in a draw. At first sight there was not too much going on, but it was a type of position where Aronian has a small initiative with his white pieces and Anand had to look forward to neutralise.
After getting the chance Anand just held on to his own.