London: World champion Viswanathan Anand's hunt for an elusive victory continued as he was held by the former challenger Vladimir Kramnik of Russia for a draw in the fourth round of London Chess Classic here on Wednesday.
Another draw statistically mean that Anand hasn't won for 17 classical games in a row, including four matches in the last World Championship, the Final Masters tournament where he finished winless and three games in the Classic here.
Meanwhile, Magnus Carlsen of Norway zoomed ahead of the field with a sparkling victory over Gawain Jones of England. With his third win in four games, Carlsen shot in to sole lead with 10 points in the soccer-like scoring system.
The Norwegian is now followed by Kramnik, who is on eight points from four games and England's Michael Adams is not far behind on seven from his three games.
American Hikaru Nakamura on five holds the fourth spot, while following him closely is Levon Aronian of Armenia who coasted to a fine victory against local star Luke McShane. Anand has slipped to sixth spot with three points coming from his third draw here and the World Champion needs a few wins to be in with a chance in the tournament.
Gawain Zones on two points is on seventh spot, while the eighth place is now shared by McShane and Judit Polgar with one point apiece.
Anand went for a closed Ruy Lopez as white against Kramnik who started with the Berlin defense. The position never opened to white's advantage even though Anand maintained a slight advantage by way of space control for the major part of the game.
Just keeping his pieces together, Kramnik ensured the safety of his king when Anand tried to make way on King side and soon some exchanges of minor pieces led to an impregnable position for either side. The game was agreed drawn after 40 moves.
Carlsen came up with an opening surprise yet again and it seems the theory books have to incorporate some of the old and forgotten systems again. Gawain Jones got a decent position out of the opening and he stood slightly worse when he decided to part with queen for only two minor pieces. The decision was adventurous but not precise as things unfolded.
Carlsen defended his position for some time and his extra material had the final say. Aronian won an exciting game against Luke McShane in another Ruy Lopez of the day. McShane gave up his queen for rook and knight and things became quite unclear when he knocked down many pawns on the king side.
Keeping his poise, Aronian had to calculate very precisely in the ensuing endgame and he did precisely that to score his first victory. In the other game of the day, Nakamura played out a draw with Michael Adams.