World Champion Viswanathan Anand missed out on his chances and drew with Dutch champion Anish Giri, while P Harikrishna held higher-ranked Fabiano Caruana of Italy in the second round of 75th edition of Tata Steel Chess tournament in Wjik Aan Zee.
After a first round 'easy draw' as white, Anand was happy to get an uncompromising position against Giri and stood better but the Dutchman got off the hook finding some precise defense in the endgame.
The second round did not produce any decisive games even though all the games were hard-fought. As a result, the lead positions remained unchanged and Harikrishna continued to sit at the top along with Russian Sergey Karjakin on 1.5 points from two games.
Anand remained in the pack of ten players sharing the third spot on one point, while former world women's champion Yifan Hou of China and Giri remained at the bottom of the tables with a half point in this category-20 super tournament being played on a round-robin basis between 14-players.
The talking point in the round, however, was whether Anish Giri had a devastating attack against Anand. Out of a closed Ruy Lopez, Giri threw his pieces at Anand's King and the position looked dangerous but the judgement of world champion simply proved superior.
"This is exactly the point, the attack is simply nothing, my knight just defends everything and when he (Giri) got excited I thought I will have winning chances," Anand said after the game.
In the post game chat, Giri agreed his position was promising. "I have a lot of experience in winning these kind of positions, my opponents would simply collapse, but I guess this was a different opponent," said the smiling Dutch.
The Indian ace did get winning chances but they were not easy to convert. After Anand's 37th move, the result of the game was clear and the peace was signed after 46 moves.
Harikrishna came close to cause a big upset against Caruana. It was another closed Ruy Lopez in which the Indian played black and exerted pressure on the king side. Caruana was glued to his chair for a long time and his position improved only after Harikrishna's mistake on 34th move. The Italian was back in the game and subsequent exchanges led to a drawn rook and pawns endgame.
The much-awaited clash between Levon Aronian of Armenia and World number one Magnus Carlsen was one of the high points of the day as Aronian pressed hard for a win and Carlsen had to work hard to restore parity.
Ivan Sokolov of Holland came close to winning against Hikaru Nakamura of United States but blundered in the end to share the point. "If I don't kill myself today, I will leave a 100 years," Sokolov said after the game.
Yifan Hou too came close enough but fell for a 'bluff' by Loek van Wely of Holland in what was a completely winning position. In other games, local hope Erwin L'Ami held Karjakin while Wang Hao of China drew with Hungarian Peter Leko.
Results round 2: Anish Giri (Ned, 0.5) drew with V Anand (Ind, 1); Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 1) drew with P Harikrishna (Ind, 1.5); Erwin L’Ami (Ned, 1) drew with Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 1.5); Levon Aronian (Arm, 1) drew with Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 1); Wang Hao (Chn, 1) drew with Peter Leko (Hun, 1); Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 1) drew with Ivan Sokolov (Ned, 1); Loek van Wely (Ned, 1) drew with Yifan Hou (Chn, 0.5).