Written off bycritics and experts, five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand has come back with a big bang and is the most likely contender to challenge Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the next world championship match to be held later this year.
Leading by a full point with five rounds still to come in the candidates, Anand's lead is effectively 1.5 points if one considers the tiebreak according to which the individual encounter comes on top.
With six points in his bag, Anand is followed by Aronian, whom he has beaten 1.5-0.5 in personal encounter, while the rest of the field is at least 1.5 points away.
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In the remaining five rounds, the Indian ace has to play three white games as well which could well mean curtains for opposition barring a debacle for Anand or an unlikely huge upswing for opponents.
As things stand, Russians Sergey Karjakin and Vladimir Kramnik share the third spot on 4.5 points and both have white pieces against Anand in the coming rounds. The other player on same points is Shakhriayar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan who has been having a topsy-turvy tournament.
Given the history, Anand has been coping well with both Russians comfortably and is likely to squeeze through this time also. The Indian has white against Mamedyarov in the next round itself.
If Anand wins, this will be the biggest ever comeback in recent times for anyone as the Indian ace had been struggling for a long time before this tournament.