World champion Viswanathan Anand salvaged a draw from a losing position against Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the seventh round to occupy joint-second spot in the Pearl Spring Chess tournament in Nanjing, China.
After a hard-earned victory over Wang Yue of China in the previous round, Anand survived by the skin of his teeth and managed a draw against Carlsen to move to four points out of a possible seven.
With just three rounds to come in the six-player double round-robin tournament, Carlsen is sitting pretty with a full point lead from his opponents, with five points to his credit from seven games.
The Norwegian is now followed by Anand and Frenchman Etienne Bacrot, who both have four points apiece, while Vugar Gashimov of Azerbaijan and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria are now tied fourth with three points each in their kitty.
Former World champion Topalov registered his first victory in the tournament at the expense of Bacrot while the other game of the seventh round between Gashimov and Wang Yue of China ended in a draw.
Wang Yue stands last with two points from four draws in the 250,000 Euro prize-money tournament.
Anand opted for the Berlin defense that had given him a victory against Carlsen in the previous event, played at Bilbao in Spain. The Indian did not find much trouble in reaching a balanced middle game when Carlsen shied away from main lines and concentrated on playing some original chess that has been the hallmark of his success in past few years.
The Indian ace started to feel the heat after a pair of rooks got traded and Carlsen nonchalantly started to build an attack on the king side with a pawn roll. Soon Anand was pushed to the wall and his pieces were saddled with the task of a long and tiring defense which is always difficult to manage.
Anand put up stiff resistance but Carlsen was persistent enough to get a study-like winning position which he could not convert on move 63.
Anand quickly regained his composure and Carlsen, realising that he has missed the opportunity, agreed for a draw vide perpetual checks after 68 moves.
Topalov ended Bacrot's dream run in the tournament with a fantastic display of positional chess. The Frenchman went for the Queen's Indian defense as black yet again as the opening has given him some fine results including a victory here earlier in the tournament against Wang Yue.
Bacrot apparently had things under control after Topalov went for a topical system involving sacrifice of a pawn early but used a lot of time in getting to this complex middle game that was evenly poised according to experts.
It was on the 29th move that Bacrot blundered and lost two pieces for a rook. Topalov methodically picked up the extra pawn a few moves later to force resignation on move 37.
Gashimov played out his sixth draw in the tournament. It was another hard fought game of the day wherein the Azerbaijani tried to make things happen but Wag Yue remained on guard. It was a Petroff wherein Gashimov played white and exerted pressure on both flanks before reaching a slightly better rook and pawns endgame.
At one point, Wang Yue needed to defend accurately and he did precisely that to steer the game to a draw after 67 moves.
Results of Round 7:
Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 5) drew with V Anand (Ind, 4); Veselin Topalov (Bul, 3) beat Etienne Bacrot (Fra, 4); Vugar Gashimov (Aze, 3) drew with Wang Yue (Chn, 2).
The moves: Carlsen vs Anand
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. Re1 Nd6 6. Nxe5 Be7 7. Bf1 Nf5 8. Nf3 O-O 9. d4 d5 10. c3 Bd6 11. Bd3 Nce7 12. Nbd2 c6 13. Nf1 Ng6 14. Qc2 Nfh4 15. Nxh4 Qxh4 16. g3 Qd8 17. Ne3 Re8 18. Bd2 Nf8 19. Nf5 Bc7 20. Rxe8 Qxe8 21. Re1 Be6 22. Qc1 f6 23. Qd1 Qd7 24. Qf3 Re8 25. h4 Bf7 26. Rf1 Bg6 27. h5 Bxf5 28. Bxf5 Qf7 29. Kg2 g6 30. Bd3 f5 31. Rh1 Ne6 32. hxg6 hxg6 33. g4 Bf4 34. Be3 fxg4 35. Qxg4 Kg7 36. Rh5 Bxe3 37. fxe3 Nf8 38. Rh3 Kg8 39. Rf3 Qe6 40. Qf4 Kg7 41. b3 Qe7 42. c4 Rd8 43. Rh3 Rd6 44. Qh6+ Kg8 45. cxd5 cxd5 46. e4 Qg7 47. Qe3 Qe7 48. e5 Rc6 49. Qh6 Qg7 50. Qh4 a6 51. Rf3 Qd7 52. b4 b5 53. a3 Qc7 54. Kg3 Kg7 55. Bb1 Nh7 56. Ba2 Qd7 57. Bb3 Rc1 58. Kh2 Rb1 59. Bc2 Rb2 60. Rc3 Qf7 61. Kg3 Nf8 62. Rf3 Qe6 63. Qd8 Nd7 64. Rf2 Ra2 65. Kh2 Qg4 66. Qe7+ Kh6 67. Qd8 Qh5+ 68. Kg2 Qg4+. Game drawn.