Confident Anand set to take the final step


: As he approaches the big game against Russia’s Sergey Karjakin, five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand would aim to carry forward his good form into the crucial 13th and penultimate round of the Candidates’ Chess tournament here on Saturday.

The oldest competitor in the fray, Anand has thus far outlasted everyone else. The Indian is well on track to win the Candidates and earn the right to challenge tormentor Magnus Carlsen. And Karjakin is one last hurdle that Anand faces with black pieces before he has a white game against Peter Svidler of Russia in the final round.
With 7.5 points in his bag from the first 12-rounds of this double round robin event, Anand has a full point lead over top seed Levon Aronian of Armenia who has 6.5 points.

Karjakin and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan are the other two in contention with six points each while the other four players -- Russian trio of Vladimir Kramnik, Dmitry Andreikin and Svidler and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria -- have an identical 5.5 points.

The one point lead for Anand is effectively 1.5 points lead as he beat Aronian 1.5-0.5 in their personal encounter. The tournament rules specify that in case of a tie for the top spot, the personal encounter between the tied players will be the first consideration to resolve the tie.

And since Anand beat Aronian, it is clear that the Armenian will have to score half a point more than Anand if he has to win the tournament. Matching Anand on points is not an option for Aronian.

In the scenario, one point from the remaining two games will be enough for Anand to secure the tournament victory even if Aronian wins the last two rounds. The Armenian has a black game against Dmitry Andreikin before he plays his last game against Karjakin.

The history here is in favour of Anand. The Indian ace has never lost to both Karjakin and Svidler in any Classical game.

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