From Magnus Carlsen's point of view, the only blemish on an otherwise immaculate tournament was his earlier loss to Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. So he was no doubt keen to make amends!
Quite early in the opening, Carlsen obtained the potential advantage of the bishop pair. However the centre remained closed and so it was on the h and b-files that he probed. Vachier-Lagrave reacted actively on both wings and had no problems to draw.
'MVL' won their match 1½-½, but Carlsen is tournament champion as compensation!
Yannick Pelletier repeated the Rubinstein variation, a solid but passive way of handling the French Defence. The exchange of all the minor pieces eased his defence and Alexei Shirov's initiative with queen and rook was of a nominal kind. This time there were no bad surprises for the home player, and a draw was agreed at move 30.
The sharpest game resulted from Alexander Morozevich's choice of a gambit against the Moscow variation. Messy play led to an unbalanced structure, with Caruana maintaining an extra pawn, but the Russian having lively play for his bishop pair.
However, despite Caruana having broken pawns, these enabled him to anchor his pieces and he diffused White's play before seizing the initiative and eventually a winning advantage.
The Round 9 summary:
|Alexei Shirov||2714||½-½||Yannick Pelletier||2590||30||French Rubinstein|
|Magnus Carlsen||2821||½-½||Maxime Vachier-Lagrave||2722||48||Neo-Grünfeld, Symmetric|
|Alexander Morozevich||2694||0-1||Fabiano Caruana||2711||47||Semi-Slav, Anti-Moscow Gambit|
The standings after round 9:
The classification according to the Biel points (3 for a win, 1 for a draw) is as follows:
The rate of play: