MOSCOW, March 20: Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand of India played out an easy draw against Anish Giri of Holland in the seventh round to occupy the sole third position at the Candidates Chess tournament here.
The Indian ace has moved his tally up to four points out of a possible seven at the half way stage and will now hope for some good performance in the second half of his biggest challenge of the year.
The first half ended with Anand scoring two wins over Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Peter Svidler of Russia, one loss against Sergey Karjakin of Russia and four draws.
The other games of the day were fought very hard and Fabiano Caruana of United States survived a scare against Russian Peter Svidler.
The two overnight leaders Sergey Karjakin of Russia and Levon Aronian of Armenia also played out a draw after an intense game, while American Hikaru Nakamura scored his first victory at the expense of Bulgaria�s Veselin Topalov.
Karjakin and Aronian continued at the top of the tables on 4.5 points apiece while Anand remained in the sole third spot. Giri and Caruana now share the fourth spot on 3.5 points, having drawn all their games and are a half point ahead of Nakamura and Svidler. Topalov on two points is now last in the standings.
It turned out to be a very easy game with black for Anand who went with his trusted move order in the Queen�s gambit declined. Having used it once against Aronian here, one may have thought Giri had an antidote but as things panned out, it was another effortless half point for the Indian.
The tone was set early in the opening when two minor pieces changed hands and Anand reached a symmetrical pawn structure. The Queen�s got traded and the pieces flew off the board in quick succession. By move 20 there was no doubt in anyone�s mind about the result and the players split the point on move 31.
Svidler played some exciting chess with white against Caruana and sacrificed a piece after an English opening for what looked like a dangerous attack. The Russian however faced some stiff challenge from Caruana who put up a stiff resistance.
Nakamura scored his first victory when Topalov went for a speculative piece sacrifice that did not yield the desired results in the end. The American came back in to reckoning but still needs to do a lot of hard work in the remaining rounds.
Aronian looked slightly better after an original handling of the King�s Indian attack with black. Karjakin later capitalised on his chances to neutralise black�s initiative and the game was drawn in 31 moves. � PTI