Former world champion Viswanathan Anand remained on course for a rematch with Magnus Carlsen of Norway after securing an easy draw against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan in the 10th round of the Candidates Chess tournament here on Tuesday.
It turned out to be another good day for Anand as main contemporaries Levon Aronian of Armenia and Vladimir Kramnik of Russia failed to bridge the gap and the Indian ace continues to be in front with a full point lead.
Aronian could not use his white pieces to much use against Bulgarian Veselin Topalov and had to settle for a draw while Kramnik’s poor run continued when he failed to spot a tactical stroke that led to a quick loss against compatriot Peter Svidler. The other game of the day between Russians Dmitry Andreikin and Sergey Karjakin also ended in a draw.
With just four rounds to come, Anand is sitting pretty training his sights for the next world championship match on 6.5 points. Aronian remains the nearest contender on 5.5 points followed by Mamedyarov, Karjakin and Svidler who all have five points apiece.
Kramnik remained on 4.5 points and he has Andreikin as company while Topalov is at the last spot another half point adrift. Apart from the match for the next world championship, the winner here also takes home 135,000 euros.
Playing with white, Anand stuck to his guns and repeated the moves of his previous round game against Topalov.
The opening went off well for Anand but Mamedyarov was probably not impressed and came up with the equaliser in no time.
The Indian had to exchange the dark square Bishop early and then Mamedyarov followed suit with castling on the queen side leaving the position absolutely level.
Anand tried manoeuvring his pieces to correct squares and once that was done the players just decided to split the points. The game lasted 30 moves.
The shocker of the day came from Svidler when Kramnik simply missed a game changing tactical stroke. It was the Dutch defence as black by Svidler and Kramnik, trying to shy away from the usual, allowed his Russian team-mate to equalise easily.
It was in the middle game that Kramnik missed a simple check by the bishop. The result was huge deficit in the material as Svidler picked up a rook and a couple of pawns for his Bishop and romped home.
Aronian faced the Slav defense from Topalov and the latter had no difficulty in getting a playable position.
The pieces got exchanged at regular intervals and even though Aronian had something to hope for, the position was close to equal for major part of the game. The ensuing rook and minor piece endgame had little chance for either player and the peace was signed in 45 moves.
Results (after round 10): Vishwanathan Anand (Ind, 6.5) drew with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 5); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 4.5) lt to Peter Svidler (Rus, 5); Levon Aronian (Arm, 5.5) drew with Veselin Topalov (Bul, 4); Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 5) drew with Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 4.5).