London: Former world champion Viswanathan Anand found his way to the knockout stage in the London Chess Classic with an easy draw against tailender Andrei Istratescu of France in the fifth round of the preliminaries that concluded here at the Olympia.
After scoring three wins in the first four games itself, Anand was destined to move to the quarterfinal stage in this 16-players event spilt in to four groups.
With one round still to come in the prelims, Anand is likely to head his `A` group with 11 points in his kitty under the Soccer scoring system in place here.
Michael Adams of England trounced compatriot Luke McShane and joined Anand on 11 points and the two meet in the next round to determine the group winner.
Traditionally a super tournament, the London Classic this time became a Rapid tournament as the world championship was held just two weeks before its commencement.
Anand will play as black against Adams in the decider for the first place in the last round having promoted himself to the knockout quarterfinals in the 16-players event split in to four groups.
Among other groups, Russians Vladimir Kramnik and Peter Svidler looked poised to qualify from the `B` group while in the `C` group Boris Gelfand of Israel and Hikaru Nakamura of United States already made the cut like Anand and Adams.
The situation in the `D` group is also clear with Nigel short of England hitting form and the two qualifiers from here are Fabiano Caruana of Italy along with the English Grandmaster who holds a high repute.