The Usual Story
Grandmasters are good. Grandmasters are better than me. Many grandmasters are almost unbeatable when they play white. Throughout the part of my chess life where I have had the chance to play against GMs, I have always had incredible trouble playing black against them. It's suffering upon suffering upon suffering, with plenty of knockouts sprinkled in when I can't find a way to keep suffering.
Today's game was just this "Usual Story."
Sam drew as white against some moves memorized by GM Kurnosov. He calculated pretty accurately and wended his way through the complications, and can't feel bad about the result. Tomorrow he has black against Grachev.
There were three exciting games in the elite section, with Wang Hao scoring the first points for the King's Indian Defense in this tournament, upending the leading Giri to take first place for himself. Giri did not seem to be in the best mood today, avoiding his hyper-theoretical Bayonet variation, and heading quickly towards a bad position. The other two games were very intense and balanced struggles. Bacrot-Carlsen had Carlsen pressing, but ended in a draw. Bologan-Nakamura was an intense endgame that could have gone either way, and at the end Bologan slipped (probably exhausted) and Naka mated him!