After obtaining nothing from the opening (a Slav) against Mamedyarov he then suddenly found himself in what seemed a technicallly won position with two pieces against a rook. And then he failed to win it. Technique, it’s nerves, Alekhine said. Calm nerves mean good technique. And under normal conditions Tomashevsky is a very good technician. But playing in such an event is not a normal situation for him and it shows in the quality of his play.
Nepomniachtchi had a chance in one moment to get a winning position against Aronian, but he overestimated his opponent’s chances.
Kramnik beat Anand by playing 1 e4. That has never happened before. As usual he went his own way in the ever popular Giuoco Piano by playing a line that was considered to be OK for black. Nowadays everybody (Anand included) plays the plans with a4 and Be3, but Kramnik went for an older variety. I have analysed these lines quite a lot and was surprised to see Anand go for 14…Bc5, which although a typical maneuver it entails a loss of time (my own explorations showed that the best moves seem to be 14…Nd7 or 14…Qd6). But it must have been part of Anand’s preparation because he had already lost a game from that same position by playing 14…Qd7 against Giri in the Stavanger blitz in 2015. Or he mixed things up?
A beautiful win by Kramnik, which brings both players on 50%.
Giri won a third game in a row. “A miracle” as said by himself, is an appropriate description. I love Giri’s self-deprecating comments, but let’s not forget he’s a very strong player and any strong player can have a great run of results. Against Svidler he got the upper hand quickly after white missed a cute tactic.
Svidler had his chances to salvage the draw but he missed them, giving Giri a flying start of 3.5/4 and a sole lead in the tournament.
Gelfand’s nightmare continued as he lost a third game in a row, this time after falling into Li Chao’s Grunfeld preparation.
Today’s round sees the the youngest players (and leaders meet). Will Giri be stopped? I think so. With a draw.