Former World Champion Viswanathan Anand played out yet another draw with Alexander Grischuk of Russia to remain in joint sixth spot as the Sinquefield Cup chess tournament draws to a close here.

For the records, the seventh draw in as many games did not help Anand’s cause much even though the Indian ace remains within striking distance of the leader American Fabiano Caruana, who held Norwegian World Champion Magnus Carlsen to a draw after being down and out for some part of the game.

For Anand, it was an Italian opening that Grischuk probably expected and equalised without much ado.

The huge labyrinth of theory in the Ruy Lopez leading to nothing these days has been drawing top players to the Italian opening and Anand has been experimenting with it quite often these days.

As it turned out, Grischuk did not have a hole in his preparation and Anand yet again dwelled towards a draw in the ensuing queens and pawns endgame.

The Indian is now under pressure to win at least one game of the remaining two to stay within chances of a podium finish.

Caruana is not someone known for his defensive abilities but on this day the Italian-turned-American gave it all he had to defend a clearly worse endgame against Carlsen.

This probably was an indication of things to come in the next World Championship match between these two in November at London.

Caruana employed the Petroff defense and was under the scanner in the middle game after the queens got traded. Carlsen stood much better with all black forces confined to the defense but the Norwegian faltered in finding out the best way to continue.

The end result was a draw that kept Caruana in lead on 4.5 points out of a possible seven and the American seems poised to clinch another title ahead of the World Championship this year.

In other games of the day, Sergey Karjakin of Russia played out a draw with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France drew with Hikaru Nakamura of the United States while the other American Wesley So held his ground against Levon Aronian.

With Caruana in front, Carlsen, Mamedyarov, Grischuk and Aronian are a half point behind on four points apiece, a half point ahead of Anand and Vachier-Lagrave. The heat is likely to turn on in the last two rounds as Carlsen and Anand are likely to go all out.

Results after Round 7: Vishwanathan Anand (IND, 3.5) drew with Alexander Grischuk (RUS, 4); Magnus Carlsen (NOR, 4) drew with Fabiano Caruana (USA, 4.5); Sergey Karjakin (RUS, 2.5) drew with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE, 4); Levon Aronian (ARM, 4) drew with Wesley So (USA, 3); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA, 3.5) drew with Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2.5).