World champion Viswanathan Anand was held to a draw by tournament leader Fabiano Caruana of Italy in the seventh round of the Grenke Chess Classic here.

Caruana, with white, could do little other than pressing Anand for a little time in the middle game and this turned out to be Anand’s sixth draw in the tournament apart from a lone victory against Arkaditsch Naiditsch of Germany that came in round five.

The draw helped Caruana stay in the lead on 4.5 points out of a possible seven in this category-19 double round-robin tournament.

With just three rounds to go, Anand and Naiditsch share the second spot on four points and they are now followed by Georg Meier of Germany and Michael Adams of England on three points apiece. Daniel Fridman of Germany is at the bottom with 2.5 points in his kitty so far.

The day yet again produced some exciting chess that has been the hallmark of the tournament. Meier scored his first victory at the expense of Fridman, while Naiditsch and Adams drew a combative game in which fortunes fluctuated both ways.

Anand chose the Najdorf Sicilian.

Caruana went for a safe setup as white. Something that guarantees fighting for a long term advantage without much risk. The middle game arrived with Caruana fighting for an advantage and Anand was critical of his 24th move.

“The rook just gets in the way, it is already unpleasant for black, it may objectively be ok but not a fun position to play,” the Indian ace noted.

As it happened in the game, Caruana enjoyed the pull after trading the queens and towards the end of the game Anand had to find some accurate moves that he was pleased with. The game was drawn after 44 moves.

The results: Seventh round: Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 4.5) drew with V. Anand (Ind, 4); Michael Adams (Eng, 3) drew with Arkadij Naiditsch (Ger, 4); Georg Meier (Ger, 3) bt Daniel Fridman (Ger, 2.5). — PTI

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