Zurich: Viswanathan Anand mantained his composure and played out an easy draw against reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the fifth and final round of classical section at the Zurich Chess challenge here.
Former world champion Anand finished the classical section on four points with one win, two draws and two losses and the Indian will have to do some recovery act in the rapid section that follows. Carlsen continued to lead the tables handsomely as his nearest rival Levon Aronian suffered a defeat at the hands of Fabiano Caruana of Italy.
Carlsen, on eight points, enjoys two points lead over Aronian who remained on six points. Carauana moved to sole third spot on five points under the unique scoring system in place here that gives two points for a win and one for a draw. Anand and Hikaru Nakamura of the United States share the fourth spot on four points each.
In the other game of the day, Boris Gelfand of Israel played out a draw against Nakamura to take his tally to three points in the six-player round-robin tournament. The rapid leg of the event will now begin with five games to be played with reverse colours on the final day. For each win here, however, only one point will be awarded and this makes Carlsen a huge favourite for the title.
Anand played it very safe against Carlsen. Up against the Berlin defense, the Indian went for a quite anti-system that led to exchange of pieces at regular intervals.
The pawn structure was symmetrical giving no hopes to either player and the exchanges led to a opposite colour Bishops endgame in fairly quick time. The game went on for 40 moves before the duo signed peace. Aronian was subdued by Caruana out of the Marshall Gambit. Caruana gave his extra pawn in the middle game to reach a slightly better ending and then forcibly won a pawn. The technicalities remained for a long time and Aronian crumbled under pressure in the end, making a blunder when he could have still posed resistance. The game lasted 66 moves.
Gelfand and Nakamura played a quite draw in a closed Sicilian. Nakamura with white did not get any complications favouring him and the two decided to repeat moves early in the middle game. The game was drawn in 21 moves and the two played a compensatory rapid game that was won by the Israeli.
In the five rapid games to follow, Anand will have the advantage of playing three whites and while, chasing Carlsen may be out of question, the Indian ace can surely back himself to be in top bracket of this highest category tournament.
I was down 2-1 in the third it was really tight and it was really tough.