Linares (Spain):World Champion Viswanathan Anand played out an easy draw with Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine to maintain his slender half point lead after the penultimate round at the Morelia-Linares chess tournament underway here.
The draw came easy for Anand as Ivanchuk could not do much with his white pieces and when Magnus Carlsen of Norway was also forced to split the point with Levon Aronian of Armenia it meant that the Indian ace goes into the last round with a half point cushion and white pieces to back him.
Barring a disaster in the last round game against former world champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, Anand is assured of at least a shared first place in the category-21 tournament and is likely to retain the title he won last year.
The impact that white pieces have in high level chess was quite evident when Anand was asked about prospects in the event with just one round to come, "tomorrow I have white, and at least I got all these games out of the way and I still keep my lead," Anand said after drawing his game.
While not much happened on the leading boards, Veselin Topalov kept his date with destiny after scoring a hard fought victory over tail ender Peter Leko of Hungary.
The Bulgarian on 7 points is a full point behind Anand but still has a chance to jointly win the title if he can have his way against the Indian ace.
The other game of the day was quite catastrophic for Latvian turned Spaniard Alexei Shirov who simply missed an endgame finesse in a level position and went down to Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan.
Results round 13: Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr, 6) drew with V Anand (Ind, 8); Levon Aronian (Arm, 7) drew with Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 7.5); Veselin Topalov (Bul, 7) beat Peter Leko (Hun, 5); Teimour Radjabov (Aze, 6.5) beat Alexei Shirov (Esp, 5)
The moves: V Ivanchuk v/s V Anand 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bc4 e6
7. O-O Be7 8. Bb3 Nc6 9. f4 Qc7 10. Kh1 O-O 11. f5 Nxd4 12. Qxd4 b5 13. fxe6 Bxe6 14. Bf4 Qc5 15. Qd3 b4 16. Ne2 d5 17. e5 Ne4 18. Be3 Qc7 19. Nf4 Qxe5 20. Bxd5 Bxd5 21. Nxd5 Rad8 22.
Rad1 Bd6 23. Bf4 game drawn.