World champion Viswanathan Anand [ Images ] missed out on his chances and had to settle for a draw with Alexei Shirov of Spain in the fourth round of the Bilbao Final Masters chess tournament in Bilbao, Spain, on Wednesday.
With just two rounds to go in the four-player double round-robin event, Kramnik remains at the top of the table with eight points in his kitty in the football-like scoring system that gives one point for a draw and three for winning a game.
Anand inched himself up to six points with one victory and three draws while Shirov took his tally to three points after his third draw in the category-22 tournament.
Carlsen is currently lying last with just two points, earned through two draws.
Anand could have joined Kramnik at the top had he spotted winning continuation in the middle game against Shirov.
Playing white, the Indian was pleasantly surprised to see Shirov go for the risky McCutcheon variation in the French defense and went for the kill right from the early stages of middle game.
The World champion rolled his pieces excellently for a major part of the game and got the breakthrough he was looking for on the king side that saw Shirov's king in mortal danger.
Though the nature of the position was tense, Anand came up with a fine 19th move to turn the tide in his favour. After the King manoeuvre, black suffered huge trouble and had problems in finding solutions.
However, luck was not on Anand's side as he missed a win twice, first on the 23rd move and later on the 28th when the he in fact ended up blowing his chances completely.
"Perhaps I should have played positionally," Anand said after the game, "but I was looking for forced lines too much. If you miss one move, you get punished."
The World champion referred to a moment where he could put his queen and knight on black squares and then push the rook pawn.
Asked about the game, Shirov said, "It was a game that suits my style, yes, but as long as I'm in good shape, which is not the case in this tournament."
Carlsen almost lost his third game in the tournament and Kramnik could have been far away from anyone's reach. The Russian faced the English opening as black and Carlsen's do-or-die approach did not come good. Kramnik won a pawn and reached a complicated endgame that should have been won but resolute play by Carlsen helped the Norwegian salvage a half point.
Results (Round 4): V Anand (Ind, 6) drew with Alexei Shirov (Esp, 3); Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 2) drew with Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 8).
V Anand vs Alexei Shirov
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Bb4 5. e5 h6 6. Bd2 Bxc3 7. bxc3 Ne4 8. Qg4 g6 9. Bd3 Nxd2 10. Kxd2 c5 11. h4 Qa5 12. Nf3 Nc6 13. Qf4 cxd4 14. h5 g5 15. Qf6 Rf8 16. Qxh6 g4 17. Ng5 Nxe5 18. Nh7 Rh8 19. Ke2 Nxd3 20. cxd3 Bd7 21. Nf6+ Ke7 22. Qg5 dxc3 23. Ne4+ Ke8 24. Nf6+ Ke7 25. Nxg4+ Kd6 26. Ne5 f6 27. Qxf6 Raf8 28. Qg7 Qa4 29. Nf7+ Rxf7 30. Qxf7 Qc2+ 31. Kf1 Qxd3+ 32. Kg1 Qd2 33. Qg7 c2 34. Qxh8 c1=Q+ 35. Rxc1 Qxc1+ 36. Kh2 Qf4+ 37. Kg1 Qc1+ 38. Kh2 game drawn.