Anand settles for draw with Topalov, remains static at fifth

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Bilbao, Spain, Sep 13 (UNI) Out of contention for the title spot, Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand settled for an easy draw against Bulgaria's Veselin Topalov and was at joint fifth place in the ninth and penultimate round of Bilbao Grand Slam chess tournament here.

With just one round to go in the super-category tournament, Anand, playing with whites, took his points tally to seven in the soccer-like scoring system and had to settle for his seventh draw in nine games.

The penultimate round saw all the three games, in the six players double round-robin tournament, ending in draws.

Magnus Carlsen failed to create problems for Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan who played white, while Levon Aronian just managed to hold Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine for a draw.

Tapolov still remained at the top with 14 points, a full point ahead of Aronian, as there was no change in the standings.

Ivanchuk and Carlsen share the third spot on 12 points each while Anand and Radjabov are way behind on seven points.

Anand faced the Caro Kann defense by Topalov and it was already a big surprise. Going for a variation that has been discarded in favour of new variations and research, Anand did not get anything special in the middle game and Topalov equalised without much ado.

The pieces got exchanged at regular intervals and the players reached a drawn rook and pawns endgame in quick time. Finally after 41 moves, both the players decided to settle for a draw.

In the final round, Anand plays with black against Carlsen and looks the Indian will have to go without a win from here.

The game between Ivanchuk and Aronian still produced some exciting moments. The Ruy Lopez exchange gave little to Aronian and Ivanchuk seized the initiative in the queen-less middle game typical of the opening but the famous time-pressure of the Ukrainian did not allow him that.

Aronian wriggled out of his difficulties in the endgame through a thematic piece sacrifice to force matters. Ivanchuk was visibly upset after missing out on the victory.

Meanwhile, Radjabov was in no mood to take chance and played it safe to finish the game with a draw in another caro Kann of the day.

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