Former world champion Viswanathan Anand played out his third draw on the trot, signing peace with Hikaru Nakamura of United States in a keenly fought game of the third round of London Chess Classic.
Anand yet again showed fine preparation in the tournament but the victory continued to elude the Indian ace and he is now under pressure to catch up with just two rounds remaining in the six-player round-robin tournament.
The day produced some high quality chess but there was no decisive game.
Michael Adams of England came close to winning his second game in the tournament but let Russian Vladimir Kramnik off the hook in a rook and pawns endgame while Anish Giri of Holland split the point with Fabiano Caruana of Italy. As a result of the draw melee, Kramnik and Giri continued to share the lead under the soccer-like scoring system in place here. Both leaders have five points each coming from one victory and two draws thus far.
Adams holds the third spot on four points while Anand currently stands fourth with three points to his credit coming from all three draws. Caruana and Nakamura are currently at the bottom of the tables and will need a turnaround in fortunes.
The Ivans gambit enjoys a rare popularity amongst elite Grandmasters and Nakamura went for it to surprise Anand who played black. However, as Peter Svidler, who joined in through a skype call in the commentary room, pointed out, 'when you are playing someone as booked-up as Vishy, the surprise barely registers.'
Anand chose a solid line, not giving anything away in the opening and steered the game towards equality from the very early stages. Nakamura's attempt to complicate in the middle game were met with some deft manoeuvres and after the trade of queens, the result of the game was never in doubt.
Kramnik was lucky to survive in a proper Berlin defense where he mishandled an equal position and landed in lost endgame. Adams, missed the killer blow and returned the favour after which Kramnik held on to his position.
Caruana was mildly surprised by Giri'a new idea in another Berlin of the day and even though he had a minuscule advantage, it was never enough to put any serious pressure. Giri exchanged pieces at will after giving a pawn and drew quite comfortably.
Results round 3: Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 2) drew with V Anand (Ind, 3); Michael Adams (Eng, 4) drew with Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 5); Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 2) drew with Anish Giri (Ned, 5).