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Anand draws with Ding; tied 2nd at Bilbao Masters

Defending champion Viswanathan Anand played split the point with Chinese Liren Ding in the second round of Bilbao Masters Final and remained on joint 2nd spot after an uneventful day.

With his second straight draw coming with white pieces, Anand is now under pressure to retain his crown as he has three black games remaining in the last four rounds. The draw against Liren Ding came after Anand did not convert a seemingly superior position against Dutch GM Anish Giri in the opening round. The other game in the four-players double round-robin tournament between American Wesley So and Giri also ended in a draw leaving the standings as they were after the first round. Wesley So took his tally to 4 points in all and remained 2 points ahead of Anand and Giri while Ding opened his account with 1 point under the soccer-like scoring system, that gives 3 points for a win and one for a draw. 

Playing the Ruy Lopez for the second day running, Anand chose a modern setup instead of the conventional main lines but found Ding well-prepared. The opening was a success for the Chinese who came out unscathed and even threatened to gain some advantage for a brief period. Anand quickly regained the control of the position in the middle game with a timely pawn advance on the queen side that gave him an extra pawn but black’s position was impregnable due to presence of Bishops of opposite colours. 

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