Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand played out his third draw on the trot, signing peace with reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen of
Norway in the third round of Sinquefield Cup, a part of the Grand Chess Tour.
Although he was never in any serious danger, Anand was pushed to defend an endgame. With three draws from as many games, Anand would need to post some victories if he intends to finish on the podium.
The opening was a Ruy Lopez and the Graz variation was a surprise for Anand. Carlsen has seldom employed the opening set up and Anand decided not to venture into a sharp tactical tussle.
The Norwegian equalised easily and then in his typical ways exerted pressure in the rook and minor piece endgame. Anand even lost a pawn on the 40th move but the game was always within the boundaries of a draw. The peace was signed after 66 moves.
The other matches also resulted in draws. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France had Russian Peter Svidler on the ropes but missed out on his chances, while Wesley So of United States could not force matters with his extra pawn against compatriot Hikaru Nakamura.
The other American, Fabiano Caruana, was under some pressure against Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia but then he decided not to press. In the other game of the day, Levon Aronian of Armenia and Sergey Karjakin of Russia decided to split a point a bit early.
As a result of this drawn melee, the overnight standings remained unchanged, and Carlsen, Vachier-Lagrave and Caruana continued to be ahead on two points from three games. Anand, Wesley So, Nakamura, Karjakin and Aronian share the fourth spot on 1.5 points, a half point ahead of Peter Svidler who, in turn, has a half point more than Nepomniachtchi.
With six rounds still to go in the 10-player round-robin tournament, the battle is only going to heat up from the next round when the spectators can hope for decisive games once again.
Results (Round 3): Viswanathan Anand (Ind, 1.5) drew with Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 2); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 2) drew with Peter Svidler (Rus, 1); Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 2) drew with Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus, 0.5); Wesley So (Usa, 1.5) drew with Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 1.5); Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 1.5) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 1.5).