Wijk Aan Zee (The Netherlands): World champion Viswanathan Anand played out an easy draw with Grandmaster Peter Leko of Hungary to remain second after the ninth round of the Tata Steel Chess tournament. (Agencies)
Playing the black side of a Sicilian Najdorf, the Indian ace had little difficulty in maintaining the balance in an age-old variation and drew rather easily to take his tally to six points out of a possible nine.
Norwegian world number one Magnus Carlsen defeated Yifan Hou of China to increase his lead by a full point lead over Anand.
The lead position remained unchanged as the only other decisive result came in the all-Dutch duel between Ivan Sokolov and Loek Van Wely wherein the latter attested his supremacy.
Levon Aronian of Armenia and Hikaru Nakamura remained in joint third spot on 5.5 points following draws with Dutchmen Erwin L'Ami and Anish Giri respectively.
Grandmaster P Harikrishna remained on course for his best performance ever after drawing with Sergey Karjakin of Russia and the Indian shares the fifth spot along with the Russian on five points.
Leko, Fabiano Caruana of Italy and Van Wely are jointly on sixth spot on five points, a half point ahead of Wang Hao.
Giri is 10th on 3.5 and L'Ami is on his toes with three points. With just four rounds to come, there seems little chance for recovery for Hou and Sokolov who both are tied last on 2.5 points apiece.
Anand and Leko battled it out in a variation that both have employed with for many years in the past. If Leko had an idea he did not get the opportunity to show it as Anand was well armed and blitzed out the opening moves in quick time.
When the middle game arrived Anand went for a thematic pawn sacrifice that was promptly declined and when Leko finally captured the pawn the position was just equal offering little chances to either player.
Wijk Aan Zee (The Netherlands): World champion Viswanathan Anand played out an easy draw with Grandmaster Peter Leko of Hungary to remain second after the ninth round of the Tata Steel Chess tournament.