Five players lead Astrakhan after two rounds

The youngest player Wang Yue is the closest challenger to the second youngest (Teimour Radjabov who is also 23 years-old) in the quest for qualification for the next candidates tournament.
However neither of these players are amongst the five leaders.

AgeNameCountryPresent RatingCareer Highest ratingActual World rankingGrand Prix Ranking
41Boris GelfandIsrael27412761 (Jan 2010)119
41Vassily IvanchukUkraine27412787 (Oct 2007)128
38Vladimir AkopianArmenia26942713 (July 2006)4317
33Peter SvidlerRussia27352765 (Jan 2006)1513
30Peter LekoHungary27352763 (July 2005)616
27Pavel EljanovUkraine2751Present919
26Dmitry JakovenkoRussia27252760 (Jan 2009)217
26Ruslan PonomariovUkraine27332743 (Apr 2002)18-
25Shakhriyar MamedyarovAzerbaijan2763Present610
24Evgeny AlekseevRussia27002725 (Sep 2009)3715
24Ernesto InarkievRussia26692684 (Apr 2008)6120
23Vugar GashimovAzerbaijan27342759 (Jan 2010)175
23Teimour RadjabovAzerbaijan27402761 (Jan 2009)132
23Wang YueChina2752Present84

The players are listed above in order of seniority.

Although Mamedyarov is the highest ranked at present, in career terms Ivanchuk is the player who has achieved the highest Elo rating of the field.

Three players: Eljanov, Mamedyarov and Wang Yue have at present their career highest Elo-rating.

The stage is set. @ official site

The second round results were as follows. Because of the nature of the drawing of lots, one player starts with a double White (Eljanov) and one with a double Black (Ponomariov).

Game No.NameRatingResultNameRatingOpening
1Svidler Peter27350-1Ponomariov Ruslan2733Spanish Berlin (C67)
2Radjabov Teimour27400.5-0.5Inarkiev Ernesto2669Scotch opening (C45)
3Leko Peter27351-0Alekseev Evgeny2700Modern Benoni (A65)
4Ivanchuk Vassily27410.5-0.5Wang Yue27521.Nc3 (B01)
5Jakovenko Dmitry27250.5-0.5Gashimov Vugar2734Modern Benoni (A67)
6Gelfand Boris27411-0Mamedyarov Shakhriyar2763Neo-Grünfeld (D74)
7Eljanov Pavel27511-0Akopian Vladimir2694Semi-Slav (D46)

It's rare to see two Modern Benonis in the same round at this level, but even more seldom played is 1.Nc3 as essayed by Ivanchuk!

Five players lead with 1.5/2, these are the four winners from round two plus Gashimov.

Ponomariov beat Svidler with Black, a notable result as he is due the white pieces tomorrow.

For more information on the event official tournament site

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