Anand held by Aronian, is joint 5th

World Champion Viswanathan Anand failed to capitalise on chances and played out a draw with World No.2 Levon Aronian of Armenia in the third round of the London Chess Classic on Tuesday.

Hunting for his first victory in a classical chess game since the World Championship in May this year, Anand got a better position with an extra pawn against Aronian but his opponent split the points in the end. World No.1 Magnus Carlsen of Norway played out a draw with co-leader Vladimir Kramnik of Russia while Michael Adams coasted to his second victory in as many games at the expense of top woman player Judit Polgar of Hungary.

Debutant Englishman Gawain Jones shared the point with Hikaru Nakamura of United States. Carlsen and Kramnik stayed ahead of the field with seven points apiece from their three games under the soccer-like scoring system in place here. The two leaders are now followed solely by Adams who has scored six points from two games and has an extra game in hand, having received his bye in the nine-player-eight-games tournament.

Hikaru Nakamura slipped to the fourth spot on four points with one win, one draw and one loss and Anand and Jones are in joint fifth spot on two points apiece with a couple of draws. Polgar, Aronian and England's Luke McShane are in joint 7th spot with just one point.

After two back-to-back loses, Aronian was under tremendous pressure to score his first point. The Armenian is also under threat to lose his No.2 ranking as Kramnik is on the threshold of overtaking him.

This was probably the reason that Aronian was prompted to go in for the Exchange variation in the Slav defense that has the reputation for being extremely solid, safe and yet white can press for some advantage. The plan, however, backfired as Anand got the complications in his favour after crashing on the queen side. The world champion won a pawn for only a little compensation and looked in fine fettle till Aronian came up with a sterling effort to save the game.

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