Khanty Mansiysk (Russia): Taking a practical decision, Indian ace Viswanathan Anand let Russia`s Dmitry Andreikin off the hook as he settled for a draw to maintain his full-point lead in the Candidates Chess tournament here.
It turned out to be an exciting day for Anand who had things running for him once again. The five-time World Champion benefitted from results on other boards to maintain his lead with just two rounds to come in the tournament that decides the challenger for the next world championship match.
Armenian Levon Aronian failed to break the ice against Russian Vladimir Kramnik and drew while Azeri Shakhriyar Mamedyarov`s wild opening choice also ended up giving him just a half point against Sergey Karjakin of Russia.
The other game of the day ended decisively in favour of Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria who avenged his earlier loss in the tournament against Peter Svidler of Russia.
Anand on 7.5 points continued to be ahead of Levon Aronian who is on 6.5, a half point clear of Karjakin and Mamedyarov. The other four participants, Svidler, Topalov, Andreikin and Kramnik have 5.5 points each and are out of contention for first place finish.
Courage sometimes is a quiet voice that says I will come back and try again tomorrow. This was typically Anand`s game and the Indian ace showed tiredness for the first time in the tournament.
The Caro Kann defense met with a usual `Classical` treatment from Anand and after a big error by Andreikin on the 24th move, Anand was clearly on top. Not missing out on anything initially, Anand calculated deep and correct to win a piece by force.
However, after reaching the time control, the position had repeated twice and Anand took a practical decision to repeat instead of going for the victory that was there for the taking.
"I was already feeling very tired, the game had taken a lot of energy and I was not able to find the win and I decided not to tempt fate", said Anand in the post game conference.
When insisted if he should have carried on the Indian was quite candid, "I can count the points, a win today would have been much better for me in the tournament but I could not, I just took a practical decision."
For the records, the Indian needs to score one point in the last two games to win the tournament. In the next round after the fourth and final rest day, Anand has black pieces against Karjakin and then in the final round he will play with white against Svidler. Anand has never lost against both in Classical chess.
Topalov came back in the tournament by outplaying Svidler. The Bulgarian got a vice like grip in the middle game arising out of a Taimanov Sicilian and did not let it slip. Slowly and surely, Topalov tightened the noose and won a pawn by force when the players arrived at queen and minor piece endgame. Svidler resigned on the 35th move.
It was more of a shadow boxing between Kramnik and Aronian out of a Queen`s gambit declined. Both players castled on queen side and while the position was still ripe and complicated, they decided to repeat moves to earn a half point each.
Mamedyarov went for the sharp Saemisch variation in the Nimzo Indian defense against Karjakin and his plans boomeranged as the latter was well prepared to meet the intricacies. Karjakin enjoyed an extra pawn for a while in the middle game before Mamedyarov found a way to safety in the rook and pawns endgame. The peace was signed in 60 moves.
Results round 12:
V Anand (Ind, 7.5) drew with Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 5.5); Levon Aronian (Arm, 6.5) drew with Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 5.5): Veselin Topalov (Bul, 5.5) beat Peter Svidler (Rus, 5.5).