The ensuing tournament to decide a candidate for the reigning champion, Magnus Carlsen cannot get better than this! After 17 days and 104 games of a virtual 'hand-to-hand combat between the eight worthy gladiators, we see the emergence of GM Fabiano Caruana from USA and GM Sergey Karjakin of Russia as the joint leader with a score of 7.5/13 points.

Their crucial last round encounter will be a virtual finals and a draw will see Karjakin going through however, there is more drama in store as Anand, who is occupying the 2nd position with a score of 7/13, will be the 'King-Maker' - If he wins, it will see Caruana whereas a draw or a loss will favour Karjakin!! So, the eyes of both Caruana and Karjakin will be more on Svidler - Anand's game!

It is also marks the first time when we will not be seeing Anand at the finals. For a good numbers of years (we all have lost count!), we are accustomed to see him at the world championship fianls and this absence will create a sort of varuum for billions of his fans across India and the world. Nevertheless, the great champion has given us great joy wth his skilful display and never-say-die' spirit. Take a bow!!

Photo Credits: World Chess

Going back to the penultimate round, Anand who faced an uphill task of needing two wins tried all the tricks in his bag but Anish Giri proved equal in defense and held on to a draw. A similar story was witnessed where Karjakin defended accurately against Aronian to force a draw whereas Caruana and Svidler's marathon encounter reaching the Rook and Bishop v/s Rook ending where Peter defended accurately to force a draw.

 Standing After Round 13

      1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8   T/B  Pert  +/-
 Caruana,F  2794  **  0.5 0.5 1 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5  0.5 0.5 0.5 1 0.5 0.5 7.5 47.50 2830  +7
2  Karjakin 2760 0.5 **   1 0 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5  1 0.5  0.5 1 7.5 46.00 2833  14
 Anand,V 2762  0.5 0   1 **  0.5 0.5   1 0.5 1 0.5 0 1 0.5  7.0   2808  +9
4  Giri,A 2793 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5  ** 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5   6.5 43.50 2776  -3
 Svidler,P 2757  0.5 0.5  0.5 0.5  0 0.5 0.5   ** 0.5 1 0.5 0.5  0.5 0.5  6.5 41.75 2782  +5
 Aronion,L 2786  0.5 0.5  0.5 0.5 0.5 0 0.5 0.5  0.5 0   **   1  1 0.5   6.5 40.75 2776  -2
7 Nakamura,H 2790 0.5 0 0 0.5 0.5 1 0.5 0.5  0.5 0.5  0  ** 1 1  6.5 39.00 2776  -3
Topalov,V 2780   0.5 0.5  0.5 0 0 0.5 0.5   0.5 0.5  0 0.5  0    0  ** 4.0   2636 -26