Dubai: Five-time world champion Viswanthan Anand kept himself in contention by notching up 3.5 points on the penultimate day of the World Rapid Chess Championship here.
With seven points from 10 games, Anand stands joint third in the strongest ever rapid chess tournament and the Indian ace will have to make a superb finish to find himself on the podium.
World champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway came up with an inspired performance on the second day of the meet to snatch sole lead on 8 points out of a possible 10 games.
Carlsen is followed by Levon Aronian of Armenia who has made a grand comeback in the event to be on 7.5 points.
While Carlsen made four points out of five games on day two, Aronian decimated opposition to score a whopping 4.5 points from his five games.
With just five games remaining Carlsen emerges as the firm favourite for the crown but Anand, known as a great exponent of the faster version of the game, would like to give the Norwegian a run for his money.
Anand meets Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi in the next round and the fact that the Indian is set to get three whites in the remaining five games might just prove crucial in the final stages of the championship.
Carlsen on the other hand will have to tackle Aronian as black in the next round and the last few will be tougher games for the Norwegian as well.
While he announced that he would like to be the number one player in rapid as well, there are many obstacles that face the Classical world champion in his quest when it comes to the faster version of the game.
The other Indians in the fray continued to have mediocre results apart from P Harikrishna who has kept himself in contention.
The Andhra based Grandmaster, who is also the second highest rated Indian currently, lost only to Anand on the second day of the three-day event and is on six points.
Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly and M Shyam Sundar are the next best performing Indians on 4.5 points apiece while Sandipan Chanda and Debashish Das have four points in their kitty from ten games thus far.
Indian Rapid champion Sriram Jha is on three points after a difficult second day in the event.