SIMPLECHESS

Pearl Spring second round finished

The second round in the 2010 Pearl Spring event, led to three draws. The leader Magnus Carlsen, defended the Breyer variation of the Spanish against Viswanathan Anand. He played a solid game and never seemed in danger.
The most exciting of today's three draws was a hearty fight between Wang Yue and Gashimov.

Bacrot and Topalov played into a theoretical line of the hybrid Nimzo/Queen's Indian with Topalov playing noticeably quicker than the Frenchman.

Play in the central arena led to mass exchanges and opposite bishops with no realistic winning chances for either player.

The opening of Carlsen and Anand was akin to a couple of Carlsen games from Bilbao, but here the World No.1 recaptured with the a-pawn rather than c-pawn leading to a rather different structure.

The position was fairly balanced and White's bishop pair not giving him any pressure as Black was so well dug in.

Already in the opening, play revolved around control of the e4-square with Gashimov occupying it and Wang Yue planning to push back Black's active knight.

Then with Wang Yue expanding in the centre, and even offering the exchange, matters became tense. One's impression was that the Chinese player had some initiative, but Gashimov was resourceful and even had slightly the better of the race in the rook ending.

The round two summary:

Wang YueCHN27320.5-0.5Vugar GashimovAZE2719Nimzoindian Defence
Etienne BacrotFRA27160.5-0.5Veselin TopalovBUL2803Nimzoindian Defence
Viswanathan AnandIND28000.5-0.5Magnus CarlsenNOR2826Spanish Breyer

Yesterday, the only winner in round one was Magnus Carlsen after a surprised Bacrot didn't really cope very well with an unusual variation of the Scotch:

Viswanathan AnandIND28000.5-0.5Wang YueCHN2732Slav/Grünfeld
Magnus CarlsenNOR28261-0Etienne BacrotFRA2716Scotch Opening
Veselin TopalovBUL28030.5-0.5Vugar GashimovAZE2719Slav Defence

Here are the standings after the second round:

StandingNameCountryRatingPoints
1Magnus CarlsenNOR28261.5
2Veselin TopalovBUL28031
3Viswanathan AnandIND28001
4Wang YueCHN27321
5Vugar GashimovAZE27191
6Etienne BacrotFRA27160.5

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