Paris: World champion Viswanathan Anand played out his third draw on the trot, signing peace with joint-leader Maxime Vachier-Lagraev of France in the fourth round of Alekhine Memorial chess tournament.
It turned out to be an easy affair for Anand as he went for an age-old variation in the Semi Slav defense and drew without sweating much.
The day yet again provided just one decisive game and the beneficiary was Levon Aronian of Armenia who capitalized on a positional error by Russian Peter Svidler.
In other games of the day, Vladimir Kramnik of Russia split points with Ding Liren of China, Nikita Vituigov of Russia drew with Boris Gelfand of Israel while Frenchman Laurent Fressinet let English Michael Adams off the hook before taking the half point.
Aided by the victory, Aronian joined Adams, Vachier-Lagraev and Gelfand in lead on 2.5 points from four rounds and the quartet are now followed by Kramnik, Liren and Fressinet on two points apiece.
With five rounds still to go, Anand remains on joint eighth spot along with Vituigov while Svidler slipped to the bottom of the standings with one point in his bag.
Anand's Semi-Slav defense turned out to be rock solid against Vachier-Lagraev. Parting with a pawn typical of a popular variation, Anand went for quick exchanges and even though the local star pushed hard, the Indian was never in any trouble.
With fine technique, Anand converted to a rook and pawns endgame where white's extra pawn was inconsequential.
Peter Svidler employed his trusted Grunfeld but made an error in the middle game that cost him dearly. Aronian was quick to pounce on the chance offered and got a stable advantage thereafter. The Armenian reached a better Rook and minor piece endgame and Svidler had no chance once he dropped a pawn. It was all over in just 36 moves.
Fressinet had all the chances to score his first victory in the tournament. Adams was in deep trouble in the middle game and on move 39th, a simple blow would have been enough for the full point. However, Fressinet missed it and even though he stood still better, Adams was quite resourceful thereafter.
In other two games, Vituigov had a promising position before Gelfand successfully equalized while Liren-Kramnik turned out to be a tame draw.
Results of Round 4: Maxime Vachier-Lagraev (Fra, 2.5) drew with V Anand (Ind, 1.5); Ding Liren (Chn, 2) drew with Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 2); Levon Aronian (Arm, 2.5) beat Peter Svidler (Rus, 1); Laurent Fressinet (Fra, 2) drew with Michael Adams (Eng, 2); Nikita Vituigov (Rus, 1.5) drew with Boris Gelfand (Isr, 2.5).