Anand is cruising to a comfortable win. He beat Morozevich yesterday in a Sicilian English Attack. Moro got into unnecessary complications and let Anand eat up his queenside pawns for dubious compensation on the king side. The end position is pretty, if simple:
White to move. How to protect the pawn and the knight simultaneously? Simply, Re5! and the pawn cannot be stopped, while the knight is protected too. If …Qxe5, white has the crushing Ng4+ and he forks the king and queen. If …Qa8; e7, Qe8; Nf5+, Kg6; Nd6 and its over.
With 3 rounds to go, Anand has a lead of 1.5 points over Gelfand, with Kramnik, Leko, and Aronian a further half point behind. This is an almost insurmontable lead, so it looks like Anand will shortly be crowned World Champion. He will face Kramnik in a head-to-head match sometime next year. If he manages to win that, then he would be scheduled to meet the winner of a Topalov vs. A. N. Other at the end of 2008.
Interestingly, the two oldest players in the event are in first and second place. Experience (and immense talent of course!) have obviously played a role. Gelfand’s performance has been a revelation, he has won twice and only lost once. He has obviously prepared well for the event and brought all his experience, talent, and hard work to the tournament.
Kramnik has disappointed everybody. His lame draw against Grischuk yesterday was pathetic. His draw against Anand the day before, with white, was less gutless, but was still a disappointment. He still looks very solid, but once Anand began clocking up a couple of wins, he was unable to catch him.
Leko and Aronian have not got past 50%. The young Russian stars – Grischuk, Svidler, and Morozevich – must be wondering where they go from here. Although Morozevich props up the bottom of the table, he has shown his usual fighting spirit and creativity and it has been a pleasure to watch him play.
Table (from Chessbase) after 11 rounds: