Viswanathan Anand played out a quick draw with Russian Peter Svidler and stayed a point ahead of the pack at the end of the 12th round of the World Chess Championships here. The 36-year-old grandmaster, already world number one in the ratings, is now just two rounds away from being crowned the world champion.
With an aggregate of eight points from 12 rounds, he is a full point clear of his nearest rival, Israel's Boris Gelfand, who at 39 is the oldest player in the field. Interestingly, while Anand drew his game, the other three games produced results with Gelfand beating Armenian Levon Aronian with black to narrow the gap to the leader to just one point and defending champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia defeating Peter Leko of Hungary to step into the third slot another half a point behind.
So there are upset possibilities in the final two rounds Friday and Saturday. Anand and Svidler were engaged in Ruy Lopez closed with neither player managing any noticeable advantage from the opening. After just 22 moves, Anand, playing with black, agreed to a draw and split the point.
Kramnik outplayed Leko in 39 moves from a Catalan opening to move to sole third, while Gelfand, who had black pieces, outclassed Aronian in 40 moves from anti-Meran, which has been seen frequently at these championships.
In another game, Russian Alexander Morozevich beat compatriot Alexander Grischuk. Anand will again have black pieces when he clashes with Grischuk in 13th round. In the 14th and final round, he plays with white pieces against Leko.