Viswanathan Anand drew comfortably in 54 moves against fellow ex-World champion Veselin Topalov in the second round of the World Candidates chess tournament at Khanty Mansiysk, Russia, on Friday.

Barring Anand’s board, the other three produced decisive battles. In the opening, Topalov's favourite Reti set up encountered Anand’s preferred Slav structure. Anand gave up a pawn early to complete the development of his pieces and appeared to be adequately compensated.

After the exchange of queens, Anand’s rooks targetted Topalov’s isolated pawn and following further simplification, the players were left with a rook each and kingside pawns. Topalov’s extra pawn held no terror and once the rooks were off the board, the players played on until only the kings were left.

The decisive battles of the day favoured the stronger contenders, playing white. Vladimir Kramnik's calculated queen-side assault, including trading a rook for a bishop, left Sergey Karjakin short of ideas and time. Karjakin gave up after 39 moves.

Levon Aronian trapped Shakriyar Mamedyarov's queen for a rook and knight and slowly tightened the noose in 44 moves in their battle in Queens’ Gambit Declined. Peter Svidler came up with a smart sequence of moves in the middle game that forced Dmitry Andreikin’s resignation in just 31 moves.

The results (second round): Veselin Topalov (Bul, 1) drew with Viswanathan Anand (1.5); Peter Svidler (Rus, 1.5) bt Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 0.5); Levon Aronian (Arm, 1) bt Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 0.5); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 1.5) bt Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 0.5).

Third round pairings: Mamedyarov-Anand; Svidler-Kramnik; Topalov-Aronian; Andreikin-Karjakin.

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