World champion Viswanathan Anand played out two draws with Bulgarian world No 1 Veselin Topalov in the ninth round to surrender his sole lead in the Amber blindfold and rapid chess tournament. Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Levon Aronian of Armenia caught the Indian in lead with an identical 1.5-0.5 victories over Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine and Alexander Morozevich of Russia,respectively.
With just two rounds to go,the leaders have 11.5 points each and a 1.5 point lead over Russian,Vladimir Kramnik.
The encounter between Topalov and Anand was closely followed by everyone as they are not only top players in the world rankings but will also face each other in the World Championship match next year. The blindfold game was a sharp and interesting fight in the Caro Kann defense,but it was also far from flawless. In the opening Topalov mixed up moves with white pieces and ended in difficulties.
The rapid game was also a draw,but this time their moves caused little excitement. In a side variation of the Ruy Lopez,the pieces changed hands in a heap and after 17 moves,when there was little left to play for,the players shook hands.
1. V Anand (India),L Aronian (Armenia),M Carlsen (Norway) 11½ each; 4. V Kramnik (Russia) 10; 5. P Leko (Hungary) 9½; 6. G Kamsky (US),V Topalov (Bulgaria) 8½ each; 8. V Ivanchuk (Ukraine),A Morozevich (Russia) 8 each; 10. T Radjabov (Azerbaijan) 7½.