Linares (Spain):World Champion Viswanathan Anand will be making his final bid to defend the title when he takes on Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine in 12th round of the Magistral Ciudad De Linares Chess tournament here on Friday.
Anand, who has drawn his last five games in the double round-robin tournament, will have to do exceedingly well and also needs a bit of luck to retain the crown as the Indian ace is currently joint third on 5.5 points from 11 games.
The last three games will decide his fortune in the second Grand Slam event of the year after Corus tournament.
Anand's first game against Ivanchuk in the tournament was a cool affair and now the Ukrainian is a half point ahead of the Indian. The pundits are predicting a keenly-contested match as the players will be back after the rest day, which will also give them some valuable time to make the final preparations for the encounter.
Russian Alexander Grischuk with seven points remains on top of the tally and choice for the winner's cheque of 100000 Euros. Grischuk is likely to win the title even if he draws the remaining three games, but for other participants, the 'remaining three' are against the top notch Magnus Carlsen of Norway, Anand and Levon Aronian of Armenia.
While Ivanchuk is on sole second spot with six points, Anand, Carlsen and Aronian share the next spot with 5.5 points apiece.
Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan and Chinese Wang Yue are next in line a half point behind as Lenier Dominguez of Cuba currently stands last with four points in his kitty.
For Anand, its going to be a tough call too as he meets Grischuk in the next game and Carlsen in the final round. The game against Ivanchuk only can determine whether the Indian will remain in with a chance of catching up with Grischuk.
Aronian and Carlsen are other two who have a theoretical chance of catching up with Grischuk. Aronian meets Wang Yue in the next round.
Pairings for Round 12: V Anand (Ind, 5.5) v/s Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr, 6); Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 5.5) v/s Alexander Grischuk (Rus, 7); Levon Aronian (Arm, 5.5) v/s Wang Yue (Chn, 5); Teimour Radjabov (Aze, 5) v/s Lenier Dominguez (Aze, 4.5).