NEW DELHI: Viswanathan Anand lived dangerously against young Russian Alexander Grischuk and escaped unscathed to move within a draw of winning the World chess championship in Mexico City.

After some timely defensive manoeuvres in a tense 13th round game lasting 73 moves, Anand retained his overnight one-point lead over Boris Gelfand to reach 8.5 points. Earlier, Gelfand (7.5) drew with outgoing champion Vladimir Kramnik (7) in just 26 moves.

In the final round, irrespective of the result of Gelfand’s game against Alexander Morozevich,

Anand needs just a draw against Hungary’s Peter Leko to win the game’s most coveted crown. Leko, meanwhile, moved to the fourth spot by beating Morozevich in the day’s lone decisive battle.

Once Gelfand and Kramnik decided to sign truce, all eyes were focussed on the game between Grischuk and Anand. Grischuk was headed for a superior endgame in Anti-Meran, particularly after Anand’s questionable king-move on the 40th turn.

Anand, who admitted later that he was not sure whether the ending was a draw, stayed hopeful by attacking Grischuk’s pawns. As the game progressed, it was clear that Grischuk had missed a winning opportunity while Anand’s defensive skills gained strength. Eventually, Grischuk forced Anand to give up a rook for a queening pawn but it was too late. Soon, Grischuk had no choice but to do the same on the 73rd move, after which only the kings remained on the board.

Later in the press conference, Anand said that it was difficult to avoid one bad day in the tournament and this had been his.

The results (13th round): Alexander Grischuk (Rus, 5.5) drew with Viswanathan Anand (8.5); Boris Gelfand (Isr, 7.5) drew with Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 7); Peter Leko (Hun, 6.5) bt Alexander Morozevich (Rus, 5.5); Levon Aronian (Arm, 6) drew with Peter Svidler (Rus, 5.5).

Final round pairings: Anand-Leko; Morozevich-Gelfand; Kramnik-Aronian; Svidler-Grischuk.

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