World champion Viswanathan Anand put an end to two straight losses and settled for an easy draw with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan in the seventh round of Tal memorial chess tournament here.
After losing to Norwegian Magnus Carlsen in fifth and American Hikaru Nakamura in sixth round, Anand had an easy game as black giving nothing away and comfortably split the point.
Boris Gelfand of Israel continued with one of his best performances ever as he grind down tournament leader Nakamura quite convincingly with black pieces. The Israeli snatched the lead away and now leads solely on five points with just two rounds to go.
The upset galore continued and once again former world champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia was on the receiving end with white pieces against compatriot Dmitry Andreikin. Magnus Carlsen was held to a draw by Russian Alexander Morozevich and if thought he will have to tackle Nakamura. He has now to catch up with Gelfand who has emerged as the top contender for the top place.
With Gelfand in front, Nakamura slipped to the second spot on 4.5 points, a half point ahead of Andreikin, Mamedyarov and Carlsen.
The winner is going to emerge from this group only in the 100000 Euros prize money tournament. Anand inched up to 2.5 points.
Anand employed the Slav defense that has been serving him well for many years now. Mamedyarov tried to continue fighting in fashionable line that gives white a pawn advantage but Anand has already proved that the extra pawn isn’t worth a dime.
Looking for some advantage, Mamedyarov could not find anything better than exchanging pieces at regular intervals and pretty soon Anand recovered the lost material to reach a drawn rook and minor piece endgame. The players fought on till mandatory 40 moves before signing peace.