Cap d'Agde: Favourites surge ahead

The four highest-ranking players have already made their mark with Hikaru Nakamura on 100% and Bu Xiangzhi with 2.5/3 in one pool, and Vassily Ivanchuk, along with Le Quang Liem leading the other group with 2.5.
Anatoly Karpov, on the other hand, has had a disastrous start with 0/3.

The main observation that one could make from the play so far is the masterful way the top players are able to out-think their slightly lower-rated rivals.

Karpov looks very rusty, whereas the other back-rankers Sophie Milliet and Tatiana Kosintseva seem somewhat shaky in technical positions when short of time.

Le Quang Liem ground Tatiana Kosintseva in a long endgame (chessanytime)

Here are the results from the second day's play:

Pool A:

Round 2:

Nadezhda KosintsevaRUS25651-0Romain EdouardFRA2636
Judit PolgarHUN26821-0Sophie MillietFRA2388
Nguyen Ngoc Truong SonVIE26330.5-0.5Bu XiangzhiCHN2695
Anatoly KarpovRUS26190-1Hikaru NakamuraUSA2733

Round 3:

Sophie MillietFRA23880-1Nadezhda KosintsevaRUS2565
Bu XiangzhiCHN26951-0Judit PolgarHUN2682
Romain EdouardFRA26361-0Anatoly KarpovRUS2619
Hikaru NakamuraUSA27331-0Nguyen Ngoc Truong SonVIE2633

So the standings in Pool A after three rounds are as follows, the top four qualify for the quarter-finals:

1Hikaru NakamuraUSA27333
2Bu XiangzhiCHN26952.5
3=Judit PolgarHUN26822
3=Nadezhda KosintsevaRUS25652
5Nguyen Ngoc Truong SonVIE26331.5
6Romain EdouardFRA26361
7=Anatoly KarpovRUS26190
7=Sophie MillietFRA23880

Things are looking grim for Anatoly Karpov and Sophie Milliet, but Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son and Romain Edouard still have time to get back into the top half of the table.

Le Quang Liem (chessanytime)
Yannick Pelletier (chessanytime)

In Pool B the second and third rounds went as follows:

Round 2:

Yannick PelletierSUI25920.5-0.5Le Quang LiemVIE2694
Vassily IvanchukUKR27540.5-0.5Zhu ChenQAT2480
Tigran GharamianFRA26580.5-0.5Kateryna LahnoUKR2539
Tatiana KosintsevaRUS25730-1Jon Ludvig HammerNOR2633

Round 3:

Zhu ChenQAT24800-1Yannick PelletierSUI2592
Kateryna LahnoUKR25390-1Vassily IvanchukUKR2754
Jon Ludvig HammerNOR26330.5-0.5Tigran GharamianFRA2658
Le Quang LiemVIE26941-0Tatiana KosintsevaRUS2573

So the standings are as follows after three rounds:

1=Vassily IvanchukUKR27542.5
1=Le Quang LiemVIE26942.5
3=Tigran GharamianFRA26581.5
3=Jon Ludvig HammerNOR26331.5
3=Yannick PelletierSUI25921.5
3=Kateryna LahnoUKR25391.5
7Zhu ChenQAT24801
8Tatiana KosintsevaRUS25730

Here the names of the eventual qualifiers are less easy to guess with four players stradling the middle of the table on 50%. As the qualifying score is probably 4/7, Tatiana Kosintseva requires a miracle, but the other players are all still in the hunt.

Tigran Gharamian (chessanytime)
Zhu Chen (chessanytime)

As a reminder, the first round results (from the 23rd of October) were as follows:

Pool A:

Judit PolgarHUN26821-0 Nadezhda KosintsevaRUS2565
Sophie MillietFRA23880-1 Nguyen Ngoc Truong SonVIE2633
Bu XiangzhiCHN26951-0 Anatoly KarpovRUS2619
Hikaru NakamuraUSA27331-0 Romain EdouardFRA2636

Pool B:

Vassily IvanchukUKR27541-0 Yannick PelletierSUI2592
Zhu ChenQAT24800.5-0.5 Tigran GharamianFRA2658
Kateryna LahnoUKR25391-0 Tatiana KosintsevaRUS2573
Jon Ludvig HammerNOR26330-1 Le Quang LiemVIE2694

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