With only two rounds remaining in Sharjah the tournament is yet to spark into life. Rounds 6 and 7 saw 14 draws, including 13 and 14-move efforts from co-leader Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. He’s been leading with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave since Round 4, with the main change coming at the other end of the table, where Alexander Riazantsev has slumped to three losses in a row. Ian Nepomniachtchi got in some blockbuster home preparation to join a 5-player group half a point behind the leaders.
You can replay all the games using the selector below:
The most interesting thing about the Sharjah Grand Prix so far has perhaps been the question of why it’s been one of the least enthralling top tournaments in recent memory, with Emil Sutovsky sparking discussion in both Russian and English on his Facebook page:
But let's get to the games...
Round 6: Don’t play the Petroff vs. Nepo!
There were two decisive games in Round 6. One was an endgame victory for Richard Rapport, who returned to 50% by beating Alexander Riazantsev. The Russian Champion looks to have been completely knocked off track by his move 19 blunder against Dmitry Jakovenko in the previous round.
The other win was very different, with Ian Nepomniachtchi getting to unleash some devastating home preparation against the Petroff Defence.
It was déjà vu, since last May in the Russian Team Championship Nepo had stunned Sanan Sjugirov with some new computer analysis in an area of old theory: