A fighting day in Biel!

After a number of rounds with some fairly cautious decisions and many draws, the players in unison decided to be in a combative mood in the penultimate round!
First to finish, Anish Giri won against Wesley So to get back to 50%.
At the top, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave has caught Fabiano Caruana.

All the games made it past move forty for the first time!

Anish Giri overcame Wesley So by triangulating in textbook style in a pawn ending to create a Zugzwang. Earlier on, the tactical flourish led to a queen ending where White's structure gave him the edge. So then tried his luck in the pure pawn ending, but Giri had everthing under control.

Nguyen's dynamic handling of the opening seem to confuse Tomashevsky who lost time with his queen. Black took the initiative and sacrificed the exchange only for the Russian to give it back to stem Black's pawns. The Vietnamense player however retained the advantage as White's king was in danger and Tomashevsky couldn't defend himself for long with his bishop out of play (and vulnerable) on a1.

NameCountryRatingResultNameCountryRatingNo. of Moves
Evgeny TomashevskyRUS27080-1Nguyen Ngoc Truong SonVIE261745
David HowellENG26161-0Parimarjan NegiIND261552
Dmitry AndreikinRUS26500.5-0.5Fabiano CaruanaITA269755
Anish GiriNED26721-0Wesley SoPHI267444
Maxime Vachier-LagraveFRA27231-0Maxim RodshteinISR260954

The leader Caruana had a complex manoeuvring game against Andreikin where both sides had a strong bishop pair until late in the game. White won a pawn but Caruana's pieces were very active and neither side could reasonably make progress at the end.

Howell played the Alapin (2.c3) against the Sicilian and soon obtained a very double-edged assymetric structure. For the first part of the game White was a pawn down and Howell later sacrificed the exchange in order to wreck Black's structure and stem Black's pressure. He calculated correctly as he obtained enough compensation. Indeed his excellent pieces (rook and bishop) soon dominated Black's impotent rooks as he picked off all Black's pawns.

In the battle of the 'Maximes', Vachier-Lagrave faced his favourite Grünfeld defence and reacted with an unusual idea g2-g3 in the Exchange Variation. Play continued as in the Neo-Grünfeld and White's strong pawn on d5 gave him more options. The Frenchman took the opportunity to open up Black's king and start a vicious attack. He chased Black's king around for a while before settling the issue in a rook ending.

1st-2ndMaxime Vachier-LagraveFRA27235
1st-2ndFabiano CaruanaITA26975
3rd-4thDmitry AndreikinRUS26504.5
3rd-4thNguyen Ngoc Truong SonVIE26174.5
5th-8thEvgeny TomashevskyRUS27084
5th-8thWesley SoPHI26744
5th-8thAnish GiriNED26724
5th-8thMaxim RodshteinISR26094
9thDavid HowellENG26163
10thParimarjan NegiIND26152

Howell beat Negi in the battle to avoid the wooden spoon.

Otherwise Vachier-Lagrave and Nguyen made great strides towards the lead with their victories.

Four players can still win this event.

For more information see the Official site

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