Anand draws with Gelfand; finishes third

St. Petersburg (Russia): World champion Viswanathan Anand played out a draw with Boris Gelfand of Israel in the ninth and final round to finish third in the Alekhine memorial chess tournament here.

Playing the black side of a Semi-Slav, Anand got nothing to push for, even as Gelfand played quite solidly for one of his best performance ever. The Israeli ended as joint first along with Levon Aronian of Armenia, who defeated Maxime Vachier-Lagraev of France in his final game.

In other games of the day, Nikita Vituigov of Russia mishandled a promising position and drew with Ding Liren of China, while another Russian Peter Svidler shared the point with Laurent Fressinet of France.

World number three Vladimir Kramnik won against Michael Adams of England to deprive the English GM of a joint third place.

Both Gelfand and Aronian ended on 5.5 points and Anand stood sole third with five points in all.

After a shocking first round loss, this was a good comeback by Anand who started winning only in the fifth round of the tournament. For the records, the Indian ace won two, lost one and drew the remaining six games.

Kramnik tied for the fourth spot with Vachier-Lagraev, Adams, Frsssinet and Vituigov on 4.5 points each, while Ding Liren finished ninth on 3.5 points.

Luckless through the event, Svidler finished last scoring three points in all.

Anand went for a similar variation he had employed against Vachier-Lagraev in one of the earlier rounds and did not face any problems as Gelfand was also content with a peaceful result.

The Israel pressed for some time but could not make any progress with Anand going for piece trading in a heap. The players soon arrived at a drawn endgame where the draw was agreed to after 40 moves.

Vachier-Lagraev ran completely out of luck in the last round too. Having lost the penultimate game against Nikita Vituigov, the French Grandmaster has lost his lead and he ran into a spirited Aronian who handled the intricacies of a Grunfeld in masterly fashion.

It was a long theoretical duel wherein Aronian manoeuvred his forces well to reach a better endgame, calculated precisely and won an exchange after which the victory was imminent.

Results round 9: Boris Gelfand (Isr, 5.5) drew with V Anand (Ind, 5); Levon Aronian (Arm, 5.5) beat Maxime Vachier-Lagraev (Fra, 4.5); Peter Svidler (Rus, 3) drew with Laurent Fressinet (Fra, 4.5); Nikita Vituigov (Rus, 4.5) drew with Ding Liren (Chn, 3.5); Michael Adams (Eng, 4.5) playing Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 3.5).