A day after Viswanathan Anand and Anish Giri lost their matches in three straight games, the duo was involved in a battle of equals over the first three games of the fourth round of chess24 Legends of Chess on Friday.

Even as joint overnight leader Magnus Carlsen brushed aside Boris Gelfand 3-0 after the veteran committed uncharacteristic blunders in the Game Two and Three, Anand and Giri raised visions of their first tie-breaking Armageddon game.

Peter Svidler, the other overnight leader, won the first game against last-man Ding Liren but the Chinese bounced right back to draw level, The third game was drawn.

Anand, who played black in the first and third games, wisely played the position instead of taking unnecessary chances to force the issue Anish Giri, often referred to, on the social media, as “Drawish Giri” for being involved in a very high number of drawn games, gave nothing away and kept pace with Anand.

In fact, following the third round, players on all on-going four boards were on 1.5 points in their matches. Much like the Giri-Anand clash, the one involving Vladimir Kramnik and Peter Leko also
witnessed three successive draws.

Kramnik, involved in a 119-move draw with Peter Leko in the third game, was very lucky not to lose. He took the game to an ending where Leko had a rook and knight against a rook of his own. But astute familiarity with the position helped Kramnik give nothing away and hold the position.