BONN: India's Viswanathan Anand is just one step away from retaining his World Chess Championship title. His rival Vladimir Kramnik is now virtually on razor's edge as even the slightest mistake can end the match.
As Anand, a NIIT Mind Champion, drew the eighth game on Friday night he took his tally to 5.5 points as against Kramnik's 2.5 in the 12-game World Chess Championship final here.
Should Anand win the ninth game, the match will be over as Anand needs 6.5 points to claim the title, while a draw would stretch the match to one more game. Kramnik needs a win desperately as he trails by three points.
The eighth game ended in a 39-move draw from Queen's gambit declined as Anand chose the sharp Vienna variation.
There was much speculation if Anand would once again play in Slav, as he did in the previous two black games, which he won. But he was clearly not going to overdo it.
The next game is slated for Sunday with Anand having white pieces.
Anand, showing tremendous preparation with black, came up with a novelty on the 10th move and in the middle game he was testing Kramnik with sharp play. Anand did not castle yet again.
Kramnik made no mistakes but was not able to find a win he so desperately needed to keep himself in the fight.
Kramnik attacked on the king-side while Anand had managed to open a file on queenside and 'connect' his pieces well. When the draw was agreed upon, Kramnik did have a slight advantage but not enough to squeeze a win.
Anand won the third, fifth and sixth games and the rest have been drawn.
The match consists of twelve games, played under classical time controls: 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 61.
The prize fund of 1.5 million Euro (approximately $2.35 million), including taxes and FIDE license fees will be split equally between the players.