Victory continues to elude Viswanathan Anand in the Corus chess tournament. The World champion was forced to settle for yet another draw, this time against Dutch Sergei Tiviakov in Group 'A'.
However, Parimarjan Negi outwitted Dutchman Dmitri Reinderman in Group 'B' in the ninth round of match that concluded in Wijk Aan Zee.
Hard as he tried, Anand could not break the ice against Tiviakov, who played the white side of a Sicilian Alapin. While black got a semblance of advantage, Tiviakov remained on course for a draw with time exchanges. And when Anand built up pressure, he sacrificed a rook for Bishop to get a balanced position. Peace was signed after 63 moves.
With this ninth straight draw, Anand has 4.5 points.
In the live rating list, the Indian ace has slipped to fifth spot now, losing a little over eight points so far from the tournament.
Russian Vladimir Kramnik played what he described as the 'best game of my career' to beat Magnus Carlsen of Norway and joined Spaniard Alexei Shirov in lead on 6.5 points. The leading duo is a full point ahead of Carlsen and defending champion Sergey Karjakin, a former Ukrainian who is now playing under the Russian flag.
Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine, Hikaru Nakamura of United States and Leinier Dominguez of Cuba share the fifth spot on five points while Anand is joint-ninth along with Peter Leko of Hungary.
In the Group 'B', Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi came up with an excellent performance to beat Reinderman from a Sicilian Dragon game where the former played white.
Parimarjan showcased his deep preparation and picked a couple of pawns in the middle game after which the resulting position was child's play.
Anish Giri of Holland suffered a reversal at the hands of Anna Muzychk of Slovenia.
The Dutch GM remained in sole lead despite the loss but the margin was bridged by Ni Hua of China and Erwin l'Ami of Holland who both are now a half point behind the leader with six points apiece.
Wesley So of Philippines and German Arkadij Naiditsch share the fourth spot in this section on 5.5 points each while Parimarjan and P Harikrishna are now joint sixth with five points each in their kitty.
Former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta's quest for a victory in Group 'C' suffered a setback when he was beaten by local lad Robin van Kampen.
Playing the black side of a Ruy Lopez Moller, Abhijeet was outdone in the middle game when he failed to spot a tactical blow. Li Chao of China emerged as the new leader in this group after defeating arch-rival American Ray Robson.
Chao is now in front with 6.5 points and Robson is a half point behind along with Dutch Robin Swinkles and Italian Danielle Vocaturo.
Abhijeet slipped to fifth spot on 5.5 points along with Nils Grandelius of Sweden and still has a chance if he can finish well in the last four rounds.
The other Indian in the fray, Soumya Swaminathan played out a draw with Peng Zhaoqin of Holland and is in 13th spot.
Results round 9:
Group A: Sergey Tiviakov (Ned, 3) drew with V Anand (Ind, 4.5); Jan Smeets (Ned, 2.5) beat Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 3.5); Loek van Wely (Ned, 3) beat Peter Leko (Hun, 4.5); Nigel Short (Eng, 3) drew with Leinier Dominguez (Cub, 5); Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 5) lost to Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 5.5); Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 5.5) lost to Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 6.5); Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr, 5) drew with Alexei Shirov (Esp, 6.5);
Group B: David Howell (Eng, 4.5) lost to Erwin l'Ami (Ned, 6); Anna Muzychuk (Slo, 4) beat Anish Giri (Ned, 6.5); Arkadij Naiditsch (Ger, 5.5) beat Tomi Nyback (Fin, 3); Wesley So (Phi, 5) drew with Emil Sutovsky (Isr, 4); Varuzhan Akobian (Usa, 2) lost to Ni Hua (Chn, 6); Parimarjan Negi (Ind, 5) beat Dimitri Reinderman (Ned, 2.5); Pentala Harikrishna (Ind, 5) drew with Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu (Rom, 3.5).
Group C: Peng Zhaoqin (Ned, 5) drew with Soumya Swaminathan (Ind, 2); Benjamin Bok (Ned, 3.5) beat Stefan Kuipers (Ned, 3.5); Daniele Vocaturo (Ita, 6) beat Mariya Muzychuk (Ukr, 3); Sjoerd Plukkel (Ned, 1.5) lost to Robin Swinkels (Ned, 6); Li Chao (Chn, 6.5) beat Ray Robson (Usa, 6); Robin van Kampen (Ned, 5) beat Abhijeet Gupta (Ind, 5.5); Kjetil Lie (Nor, 4) lost to Nils Grandelius (Swe, 5.5).