Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand could not break the ice once more with his white pieces and had to split the point with Levon Aronian of Armenia in the seventh round of Sinquefiled Cup, a part of the Grand Chess tour.
Not much changed in the fortunes of the Sinquefield cup as all the five games yet again ended in draws. This was already the third time in seven days that not a single decisive game was played although some of them tried hard.
Anand went for the Italian opening and it was a symmetrical pawn structure in the middle game when the queens got traded. The Indian ace believed he had chances although Aronina had the Bishop pair in the queen-less middle game.
Anand got the bind he was looking for on the queen side but Aronian came up with an equalising shot on move 33. Post-game, Anand admitted that he had missed the move completely that led to a level rook and pawns endgame.
The draw took Anand to four points from seven games and he is now set to meet his former world championship challenger Veselin Topalov Bulgaria in the next round with white pieces. Given the tournament situation, this could well be a must-win game for Anand to catch up the leader Wesley So of United States.
Wesley drew the seventh round with Peter Svidler of Russia who employed the English opening. The American was well prepared and inched himself up to 4.5 points to retain his slender half point lead.
Topalov drew with Dutchman Anish Giri trying out something new in the English opening. Giri was comfortable right from the word go and got an easy draw with black in the end. Fabiano Caruana of United States tried hard but Chinese Ding Liren was spot on defense in the longest game of the day that lasted 95 moves while Hikaru Nakamura used the Berlin defense as black to hold top seed Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France.
With just two rounds remaining, Anand and Topalov follow Wesley So while Nakamura, Vachier-Lagrave, Caruana, Aronian and Ding Liren share the fourth spot on 3.5 points apiece. Anish Giri is right behind on three points while Svidler is on two points.
As part of the Grand Chess tour, the event carries a total prize pool of USD 300000 out of which USD 75000 is reserved for the winner. This being the third leg, the final event of the year will be the London Classic in December.
Results round 7: V Anand (Ind, 4) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 3.5); Peter Svidler (Rus, 2) drew with Wesley So (Usa, 4.5); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 3.5) drew with Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 3.5); Veselin Topalov (Bul, 4) drew with Anish Giri (Ned, 3); Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 3.5) drew with Ding Liren (Chn, 3.5).