At the half way stage Anand took his tally to 4.5 points out of a possible seven and will have an easier second half wherein he has four white games lined up out of seven.
     
In other games, Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria was outdone by Dmitry Andreikin in the big upset of the day while Russian Vladimir Kramnik was trying to find his way out against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.
     
While Aronian has an excellent chance to catch up with Anand should he win, the other main contenders do not seem close enough.
     
Svidler was a bit tentative in the closed Ruy Lopez after Anand went for the Berlin defense – the flavour of the season.
     
The Indian got in to the groove pretty fast with his knights moving to the King side for some rapid action in the early stages of the middle game. Svidler felt the heat but did not give much away.
     
The critical moment was when Anand could win a pawn which was also suggested by all chess engines albeit hard to judge for a human mind. Anand in the end concluded that it was all a bit "messy", a sentiment echoed by Svidler.

 (Agencies)

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