Mamedyarov joins Ponomariov at the top

The Azerbaijani world No.6 Shakriyar Mamedyarov won with White against Le Quang Liem and has caught up with Ruslan Ponomariov.
The Ukrainian, in contrast, had to defend long and hard against Arkadij Naiditsch to earn a draw.
The leading pair have 2.5/3 and a cushion of one-and-a-half points between them and the other four protagonists.

Ponomariov angled for the very solid Berlin system, but Naiditsch advanced his kingside pawns and generated some pressure. White's pawn on f6 enabled the German to tie down his opponent as it supported the penetrating R-e7. White's advanced pawns then became such a problem that Ponomariov had to sacrifice a piece. However by eliminating all of White's pawns he obtained the defendable Rook versus Rook and Bishop. This ending is notoriously difficult to defend but Ponomariov used the so-called 'second-rank defence' (which works because of a stalemate trick, see the game in the attached file) to thwart Naiditsch's winning attempts.

Mamedyarov played a solid line against the Slav where he obtained the bishop pair, but at the cost of having broken pawns. Black's position seemed fine but when the position finally opened up, White's advanced passed pawn tipped a messy position in his favour.

The co-leader Mamedyarov © official site.
NameRatingCountryResultNameRatingCountryOpeningNo. of Moves
Vladimir Kramnik2790RUS0.5-0.5Peter Leko2734HUNCatalan Opening47
Arkadij Naiditsch2684GER0.5-0.5Ruslan Ponomariov2734UKRSpanish (Berlin) 82
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov2761AZE1-0Le Quang Liem2681VIESlav Defence (4.Qc2)53

It's an unusual leader board at present as the tournament is split into two distinct groups.

PositionNameCountryRatingWorld RankingPoints
1st-2ndShakhriyar MamedyarovAZE276162.5
1st-2ndRuslan PonomariovUKR2734142.5
3rd-6thVladimir KramnikRUS279041
3rd-6thPeter LekoHUN2734161
3rd-6thArkadij NaiditschGER2684511
3rd-6thLe Quang LiemVIE2681551

For more information see the Official site

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