Former world champion Viswanathan Anand got some advantage against Peter Svidler of Russia but could not convert it into victory as Levon Aronian of Armenia joined him at the top of the standings after the seventh round of the FIDE Candidates Tournament 2014 at Khanty Mansiysk, Russia, on Friday.
Friday’s draw against Svidler took Anand’s tally to 4.5 points, allowing Aronian to grab a share of the lead after grounding out a comprehensive victory against Sergey Karjakin of Russia with black pieces.
As the event reached the halfway stage, Vladimir Kramnik of Russia moved into sole third spot with four points after capitalising on a blunder by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan.
Another former world champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria was outdone by young Dmitry Andreikin in the upset of the day.
Anand opted for Berlin Defence in Ruy Lopez once again and introduced a novelty by exchanging white’s central pawn and moving his knights to the king side for some initiative in the early stages of middle game.
Even as Svidler spent lot of time to find the correct moves, Anand also allowed his Russian opponent leeway by failing to capture a pawn. The Indian Grandmaster created some advantage for himself again with a positional queen sacrifice but Svidler exchanged pawns to negate the threat. With the position a bit "messy" the two players decided to sign peace.
"In fact his draw offer was useful (as) it helped me with my evaluation. Peter (Svidler) is not a devious guy, there are people who will offer a draw in a worse position," Anand said in the post-game conference.
The Indian ace conceded that he was not at his best today.
"I needed a lot of time and calm moves before I can threaten ‘f3’, I can’t do it," he said.