Kramnik stays ahead

Vladimir Kramnik successfully equalized with Black and retains first place alone.
Shirov against Carlsen was a more complicated affair, with tactical flurries early on followed by an extended struggle which eventually led to a draw.
Kramnik is still in first place ahead of Anand.

Carlsen played very quickly in the early phase as his prepared Breyer System seemed to go well.

The game blew open with Shirov giving up two pieces for a rook, but had positional compensation in the form of a pair of passed central pawns. Carlsen rode the storm, eliminated the centre and it was he who tried to win the unusual endgame of three minor pieces plus three pawns against queen and three pawns. He managed to manoeuvre whilst keeping his forces mutually protecting themselves and gradually made progress, but not enough to make the difference.

Magnus steadied the boat, and then squeezed long and hard

Anand's Catalan led to an early exchange of queens and after a flourish of pawn chopping the players then simplified further to an equal bishop endgame. Kramnik never seemed to be in any danger and so, with this draw, keeps ahead of the field.

Third round results:

Alexei Shirov2749ESP0.5-0.5Magnus Carlsen2826NORSpanish Breyer174
Viswanathan Anand2800IND0.5-0.5Vladimir Kramnik2780RUSCatalan opening34

So the standings haven't really changed very much after two drawn games today.

StandingPlayer (World ranking)RatingAgeCountry1W1B2W2B3W3B4W4BScore (Bilbao)Score (Standard)
1Vladimir Kramnik (5)278035RUSXX-=1-1-72.5
2Viswanathan Anand (3)280040IND=-XX-=-152
3Alexei Shirov (12)274938ESP-0=-XX=-21
4Magnus Carlsen (1)282619NOR-00--=XX10.5

After the rest day which Carlsen and Shirov will no doubt appreciate after one of the longest games of their respective careers, they'll be determined to get up the tournament table. Carlsen has White against Kramnik and I expect him to go all out for victory.

Fourth round pairings for Wednesday:

Magnus Carlsen2826NORVladimir Kramnik2780RUS
Viswanathan Anand2800INDAlexei Shirov2749ESP

Anand has another White and needs to win to hope to catch Kramnik, whereas if Shirov wins he will be on a par with the Indian.

Alexei concentrating

Just to remind you, here is a summary of the first two rounds:

Round 1:

Alexei Shirov2749ESP0.5-0.5Viswanathan Anand 2800INDSpanish Berlin41
Vladimir Kramnik2780RUS1-0Magnus Carlsen 2826NORQueen's Indian Defence45

Round 2:

Magnus Carlsen2826NOR0-1Viswanathan Anand2800INDSpanish Berlin45
Vladimir Kramnik2780RUS1-0Alexei Shirov2749ESPSlav Defence41

For more information go to the Official site

There will be a rest day tomorrow (on Tuesday the 12th), but on Wednesday (13th) to Friday (15th) you will be able to watch the games live at the following times:

4.30 pm (Bilbao, Paris)

3.30 pm (London)

6.30 pm (Moscow)

11.30 am (New York)

8.30 am (Los Angeles)

Official site live games

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