Today is the last game before the first free day. So far, we have only one leader: Boris Gelfand. Due to Yom Kippur, Boris and Shakhriyar had to start the game at 1pm. Ivanchuk, who arrived a bit earlier to watch the game, was surprised by the pawn sacrifice of Boris from the very beginning of the game.
For the third time in the tournament, Giri is playing the Petrov’s defence. Adams surprised his opponent already after the 8th move, obliging the young Dutch prodigy to spend more than 20 minutes on his reply. Finally, Adams went for the usual long castling and actually had nothing significant out of the opening. Anish equalized and methodically exchanged the rooks on the “e” file, entering into a bishop endgame. Draw.
Wang Hao came up with a new idea in the Meran defence today, installing very quickly a powerful Knight on “e5” with the 2 pawns “d4” and “f4” behind it. Rustam Kasimdzhanov decided quickly to sacrifice a pawn for the activity, putting pressure on the white king in the centre. The bishop on “g7” combined with action of the two rooks was very unpleasant for Hao, who was probably pretty happy to exchange most of the pieces and entered in a drawn endgame.
Nakamura came with a fresh and surprising opening today, playing 3…Nge7 on the Spanish opening, so called the Cozio defence. Both players were playing very slowly spending each an hour for the first 6 moves! Black looked fine with natural development, putting all their pawns on black squares. Hikaru took the advantage but played the inaccurate 37…Qf6, letting Leinier get back into the game. Strangely during the time trouble, Nakamura blocked his bishop on “a2” and got a significantly worse position. As a result, Leinier, step by step, took the advantage. On move 71, white missed a chance to win the game with 71.Bxg6! but finally the game ended in a draw.
We had a very theoretical fight in the Queen’s Indian played between Topalov and Leko. After 18 moves, Topalov just spent 5 minutes…and Leko 25 minutes. On move 20, Topalov decided to go for an exchange sacrifice, which was declined by the Hungarian GM. The rook was “en prise” for a few moves, both players ignoring it. After a few moves, Leko finally took the exchange on move 22, and tried to make a blockade on the “d4” square.
Topalov found a good attack but in time trouble, Leko managed to exchange queens, and the endgame finished in a draw…
Vasily Ivanchuk was probably inspired by this and started in an aggressive mood, playing h4-h5 against the Gruenfeld defence of Alexander Grischuk. The Russian player decided to play naturally and placed his pieces in the centre. After 15 moves, the position appeared quite balanced. The main action appeared to be on the “h” file, and both players repeated the moves by a continuous attack on the Queen.
All photos used in this report kindly provided by Ray Morris-Hill Photography ( www.rmhphoto.eu )