Topalov set to annex World Chess crown

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> It looks implausible but the fortunes in the World Chess Championship can still change in the remaining two rounds.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:52 IST
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It looks implausible but the fortunes in the World Chess Championship can still change in the remaining two rounds. The Bulgarian Veselin Topalov is set to annex the crown with 9 points in his kitty and now needs just two draws against Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan and Hungarian Judit Polgar. In the game against Kasimdzhanov, Topalov will have black and that's where he will have to be a bit more careful as Polgar is just out of sorts in the million dollar competition being played on a double round robin basis. After the third and final rest day yesterday, Viswanathan Anand will have to tackle Alexander Morozevich of Russia in the 13th round effectively to retain some hopes of catching up with Topalov. It is a similar story for Russian Peter Svidler too who is on joint second spot along with Anand on 7.5 points. In the next round Svidler will meet Polgar before his showdown with Anand in the final round. Indication of pressure The championship has turned out to be more exciting than expected with Topalov a bit mellowed in the second half of the event. Having raced to a brilliant 6.5 points from he first seven rounds itself, the Bulgarian has just drawn the last five games and this is a clear indication of pressure catching up. Anand has scored five victories thus far with two losses coming against Kasimdzhanov and Morozevich in the first half. The Indian ace avenged his defeat against Kasimdzhanov two days back and would certainly like to settle scores with Morozevich too who is on sole fourth spot with 6 points in his bag. Svidler has been quite consistent in the event with four wins and a lone loss against Topalov when the Bulgarian was on a rampage. The Russian showed he did not want to risk much with Anand in toe and took a quick draw with Topalov in round 12, an indication he would be content with the 2nd place. From the remaining participants Alexander Morozevich has come out with intermittent sparks and Peter Leko's form has spelt disaster for him. Strong contention Morozevich scored three wins in a row midway but a loss against Svidler in round 11 dented his hopes permanently. In the remaining games against Anand and Adams, Morozevich would like to score at least one point, which will make him fourth in the championship. One of the pre-event favourite, Leko has just been a pale shadow of himself here. The Hungarian star has lost four games so far with just two victories. Defending champion Kasimdzhanov's biggest success came against Anand and the key for making this world championship more exciting lies in his hands now with the game against Topalov slated later today. (PTI)

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