World champion Viswanathan Anand’s hunt for an elusive victory continued as he played out a draw with Levon Aronian of Armenia in the third round of Alekhien memorial chess tournament here.

With his second draw in three games besides the painful loss against Michael Adams of England in the opening game, Anand has secured one point out of a possible three. Anand remains at eighth spot in the 10-player super tournament.

Boris Gelfand of Israel put an end to the exploits of Adams by scoring a methodical victory in the lone decisive game of the day. Gelfand emerged as one of the co-leaders thanks to his superb effort and now shares the lead with Adams and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France.

In other games of the third round, Vladimir Kramnik of Russia was held to a draw by Vachier-Lagrave, another local star Laurent Fressinet got the same result against Ding Liren of China, while the all-Russian match between Peter Svidler and Nikita Vituigov ended peacefully through perpetual checks.

With six rounds still to go in the unique tournament split between France and Russia (where the last four rounds will be played), the three leaders are followed by a pack of four players who have 1.5 points apiece - Kramnik, Fressinet, Liren and Aronian. Svidler, Anand and Vituigov follow them half point adrift.

Anand played the fashionable Closed Ruy Lopez rejecting the Berlin defense by Aronian. The idea is increasingly popular these days and Aronian had little problems in maintaining the equilibrium.

The game took an easier turn in the endgame after both rooks got traded and a ‘just-level’ minor pieces endgame was reached. The game lasted till the 40th move but the result was anyone’s guess by the 25th move.

The results: Third round: Viswanathan Anand (Ind, 1) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 1.5); Ding Liren (Chn, 1.5) drew with Laurent Fressinet (Rus, 1.5); Peter Svidler (Rus, 1) drew with Nikita Vituigov (Rus, 1); Boris Gelfand (Isr, 2) bt Michael Adams (Eng, 2); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 1.5) drew with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 2).

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