Paris: World champion Viswanathan Anand's hunt for an elusive victory continued as he played out a draw with Levon Aronian of Armenia in the third round of Alekhien memorial chess tournament now underway here.
With his second draw in three games besides the painful loss against Michael Adams of England in the opener, Anand took his tally to one point out of a possible three and his tournament situation did not change much as the Indian remained in joint eighth spot in the 10-player super tournament.
Boris Gelfand of Israel put an end to the exploits of Adams by scoring a methodical victory in the lone decisive game of the day. Gelfand emerged as one of the co-leaders thanks to his superb effort and he now shares the lead with Adams and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France.
In other games of the third round, Vladimir Kramnik of Russia was held to a draw by Vachier-Lagrave, another local star Laurent Fressinet got the same result against Ding Liren of China while the all-Russian affair between Peter Svidler and Nikita Vituigov ended peacefully through perpetual checks.
With six rounds still to go in the unique tournament split between France and Russia (where the last four rounds will be played), the three leaders are followed by a pack of four players who have 1.5 points apiece -- Kramnik, Fressinet, Liren and Aronian. Svidler, Anand and Vituigov follow them another half point adrift.
Anand played the fashionable Closed Ruy Lopez rejecting the Berlin defense by Aronian. The idea is increasingly popular these days and Aronian had little problems in maintaining the equilibrium he was hoping for as black pieces.
The game took an easier turn in the endgame after both rooks got traded and a 'just-level' minor pieces endgame was reached. The game lasted till the 40th move but the result was anyone's guess by the 25th move.
Gelfand faced the Queen's gambit declined as white and got a slightly better middle game. Adams had to defend precisely but the overnight leader erred and landed himself a pawn less endgame. Gelfand, known for his technical display, did not give any chances and squeezed out the full point after 77 moves.
Ding Liren went for the kill but found Fressinet quite up to the task in defense. Throwing caution to the winds, the Chinese sacrificed a rook to generate attack against an uncastled black king but only managed to get perpetual checks after a right defense.
Vituigov was in similar shoes as Liren as his attack in the French Winawer variation as black also ended in perpetual checks while Kramnik could not convert his extra pawn into a full point in the endgame against Vachier-Lagrave.
Results of Round 3: Viswanathan Anand (Ind, 1) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 1.5); Ding Liren (Chn, 1.5) drew with Laurent Fressinet (Rus, 1.5); Peter Svidler (Rus, 1) drew with Nikita Vituigov (Rus, 1); Boris Gelfand (Isr, 2) beat Michael Adams (Eng, 2); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 1.5) drew with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 2).
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