Kramnik closes in!

Vladimir Kramnik joins Magnus Carlsen in second place.
The former World champion outplayed Nakamura to overtake him in the tournament. In the other big clash between Shirov and Carlsen, just when anything seemed possible the players settled for a repetition.

Four White wins but only after some complicated struggles.

Shirov found himself in another Sveshnikov, but this time with White. Play became very complex indeed as Carlsen sacrificed three(!) pawns in order to seek the initiative. He spurned the exchange in order to keep his bind but found nothing better than allowing a repetition.

It will be interesting to see the player's notes as it was far from clear who was better!

Kramnik met Nakamura's Leningrad Dutch with a line that is frowned upon by theory. Play then became complex quite quickly and must surely have been reasonable for Black at one point. Later, Kramnik gradually took a grip on the position after winning a pawn.

In the other games, Peter Leko obtained nothing against Smeets's Petroff but then the Dutchman played an overly-ambitious move and allowed Leko's queen to penetrate. Leko then won a pawn and was well on the way to victory.

Last year's champion Karjakin finally won a game! Against Nigel Short, his threat of creating a central pawn front induced the Englishman to seek two rooks for a queen, but it soon became apparent that Karjakin's queen was superior to the rook pair.

Caruana played a nice technical game against Tiviakov. He maintained a pull in the middlegame due to his bishop pair and eventually obtained a superior pseudo-endgame with queen and bishop against queen and knight.

His winning idea was remarkable and involved giving up his f-pawn and walking his king to safety on the queenside.

Dominguez-Van Wely was a tense game but despite plenty of muscle flexing from both sides neither player managed to break through.

Anand drew his eighth straight game. He had a Marcozy-bind set-up and thus a nominal edge, but found Ivanchuk's shell too hard to crack.

Viswanathan AnandIND27900.5-0.5Vassily IvanchukUKR2749B36Sicilian Accelerated Dragon
Alexei ShirovESP27230.5-0.5Magnus CarlsenNOR2810B33Sicilian Sveshnikov
Vladimir KramnikRUS27881-0Hikaru NakamuraUSA2708A88Leningrad Dutch
Sergey KarjakinRUS27201-0Nigel ShortENG2696C96Spanish Chigorin (Keres)
Leinier DominguezCUB27120.5-0.5Loek van WelyNED2641B90Sicilian Najdorf
Peter LekoHUN27391-0Jan SmeetsNED2657C42Petroff's Defence
Fabiano CaruanaITA26751-0Sergey TiviakovNED2662B01Scandinavian

Here are the standings before the second rest day.

1Alexei ShirovESP27236
2=Magnus CarlsenNOR28105.5
2=Vladimir KramnikRUS27885.5
4Hikaru NakamuraUSA27085
5=Vassily IvanchukUKR27494.5
5=Peter LekoHUN27394.5
5=Sergey KarjakinRUS27204.5
5=Leinier DominguezCUB27124.5
9Viswanathan AnandIND27904
10Fabiano CaruanaITA26753.5
11=Nigel ShortENG26962.5
11=Sergey TiviakovNED26622.5
13Loek van WelyNED26412
14Jan SmeetsNED26571.5


Anish Giri comfortably beat David Howell to confirm his lead. Dmitri Reinderman was the only other winner beating fellow struggler Varuzhan Akobian.

Erwin l'AmiNED26150.5-0.5Penteala HarikrishnaIND2672E05Catalan Opening
Liviu-Dieter NisipeanuROM26810.5-0.5Parimarjan NegiIND2621B90Sicilian Najdorf
Dimitri ReindermanNED25731-0Varuzhan AkobianUSA2628D33Queen's Gambit Tarrasch
Ni HuaCHN26570.5-0.5Wesley SoPHI2656B52Sicilian Moscow
Emil SutovskyISR26660.5-0.5Arkadij NaiditschGER2687C48Four Knights Defence
Tomi NybackFIN26430.5-0.5Anna MuzychukSLO2523E10Blumenfeld Counter Gambit
Anish GiriNED25881-0David HowellENG2606D85Gruenfeld Defence

Anish Giri has opened up a one-and-a-half point gap.

1GMAnish GiriNED25886.5
2=GMNi HuaCHN26575
2=GMWesley SoPHI26565
2=GMErwin l'AmiNED26155
5=GMDavid HowellENG26064.5
5=GMArkadij NaiditschGER26874.5
5=GMPenteala HarikrishnaIND26724.5
8GMParimarjan NegiIND26214
9GMEmil SutovskyISR26573.5
10=GMLiviu-Dieter NisipeanuROM26813
10=GMTomi NybackFIN26433
10=IMAnna MuzychukSLO25233
13GMDimitri ReindermanNED25732.5
14GMVaruzhan AkobianUSA26282

Group C

Peng was the only player in all three groups to win with Black.

Otherwise Grandelius continues his purple patch with a third win in a row.

Soumya SwaminathanIND23230.5-0.5Kjetil LieNOR2547B35Sicilian Acclerated Dragon
Nils GrandeliusSWE25151-0Robin van KampenNED2456B86Sicilian Sozin
Abhijeet GuptaIND25770.5-0.5Li Chao-bCHN2604D85Gruenfeld Defence
Ray RobsonUSA257000.5-0.5Sjoerd PlukkelNED2279B64Sicilian Richter-Rauzer
Robin SwinkelsNED24950.5-0.5Daniele VocaturoITA2495A49King's Indian Defence (without c4)
Marya MuzychukUKR24470.5-0.5Benjamin BokNED2322D85Gruenfeld Defence
Stefan KuipersNED23400-1Zhaoqin PengNED2402C15French Defence

The battle between Gupta and Li Chao-b led to a hard-fought draw and, as Ray Robson failed to win with White, the top three remain in the same positions.

1GMRay RobsonUSA25706
2=GMLi Chao-bCHN26045.5
2=GMAbhijeet GuptaIND25775.5
4=GMDaniele VocaturoITA24955
4=IMRobin SwinkelsNED24955
6=IMNils GrandeliusSWE25154.5
6=GMZhaoqin PengNED24024.5
8=GMKjetil LieNOR25474
8=IMRobin van KempenNED24564
10FMStefan KuipersNED23403.5
11WGMMarya MuzychukUKR24473
12FMBenjamin BokNED23222.5
13=WGMSoumya SwaminathanIND23231.5
13=-Sjoerd PlukkelNED22791.5

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