SIMPLECHESS

Ponomariov presses ahead!

In today's round a win by the leader Ruslan Ponomariov and draws in the other games leave him a point ahead on 5.5/8 with two rounds to go.
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Le Quang Liem are in equal second with Vladimir Kramnik on 50% in a disappointing fourth place.

The opening in Ponomariov-Naiditsch was a traditional line of the Nimzoindian where White obtains the bishop pair. The Ukrainian obtained a strong initiative in the middlegame by sacrificing a pawn to liberate his bishops. Black then struggled to find safe squares for his pieces and was always under pressure. At the end, despite the limited material, Naiditsch resigned as he faced a direct mating net.

NameRatingCountryResultNameRatingCountryNo. of MovesOpening
Peter Leko2734HUN0.5-0.5Vladimir Kramnik2790RUS31Catalan Opening
Ruslan Ponomariov2734UKR1-0Arkadij Naiditsch2684GER46Nimzoindian Defence
Le Quang Liem2681VIE0.5-0.5Shakhriyar Mamedyarov2761AZE52Catalan Opening

Both today's Catalans (definitely the most fashionable opening amongst the elite at the moment) led to draws. Leko against Kramnik led to early simplification and assymetric pawns, but the rook and knight ending only led to a repetition.

Five Catalans in eight games! @ official site

Mamedyarov played a solid system against Le Quang Liem and then, in order to make progress, the Vietnamese player took some risks on the kingside. Soon however it was Mamedyarov who avoided the repetition and he created some pressure by advancing his king up the board, but it was insufficient for more than half-a-point.

Posn.Player's NameWld. RankingNationRatingPoints
1stRuslan Ponomariov14UKR27345.5
2nd-3rdShakhriyar Mamedyarov6AZE27614.5
2nd-3rdLe Quang Liem55VIE26814.5
4thVladimir Kramnik4RUS27904
5thArkadij Naiditsch51GER26843
6thPeter Leko16HUN27342.5

With two rounds to go Ponomariov's lead will be difficult to bridge baring a dramatic performance by one of the chasing players.

Mamedyarov sharing a joke with Rustam Najafov @ official site

For more information (and further photos!) see the Official site


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