Monte Carlo, March 22 (PTI): Viswanathan Anand drew both his games against Russian Grandmaster Vladimir Kramnik but retained his top ranking to be joint overall leader after the sixth round of the 12th Amber Blindfold and Rapid chess meet.
Anand and Hungarian Peter Leko share the overall lead with eight points each from their 12 games with the Indian ace also being the joint leader in the Rapid category along with Russian Evgeny Bareev with 4.5 points each from six games.
The Indian Grandmaster, playing black, put up strong defences to upstage the top seeded Kramnik, who prior to this game had conceded just one draw in the Blindfold category.
In response to Anandís Sicilian Nazdorf opening, Kramnik went for the in-vogue English attack and met with a surprise rook lift by the Indian in the middle game that made the position level and a draw was agreed upon after just 26 moves.
In the Rapid variety, Anand, playing white, faced an early surprise in one of the closed Sicilian variations and Kramnik was seen pressing for some advantage after the trade of queens on the 14th move.
However the Russian decided not to take any risk and the game was drawn on the 40th move.
Leko defeated Ukrainian Vassily Ivanchuk in the Rapid game to win 1.5-0.5 after drawing the Blindfold, while Alexander Morozevich of Russia was surprised by Shirov who struck form with a 2-0 whitewash of the defending champion.
In the overall standings, Kramnik and Israeli GM Boris Gelfand are just half a point behind leaders Anand and Leko. Kramnik leads the Blindfold section with five points from six games and continues to struggle in the Rapid category with just 2.5 points. Half a point behind Kramnik is Gelfand, while Anand and Topalov are joint fourth.