Live reporting: round 9

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Last update: 17.56 CET

After the second rest day, everybody's back to business. The new leader of the tournament may prove himself immediately, playing the black pieces against Aronian. White's English Opening doesn't look scary there. Theoretically speaking, most important is Anand-Van Wely: they follow the ultra-recent developments in the (gladly, topical again) Poisened Pawn Variation of the Najdorf: for twenty moves they repeated Motylev-Anand, Corus (02) 2007! Loek is the first to deviate, with 20...Nc6, which means a positional exchange sac.

I should watch this game Anand-Van Wely carefully, because I'm writing a Survey on this line for New in Chess Yearbook soon! Also Carlsen-Radjabov, a Kalashnikov, is quite sharp and can lead to some fancy stuff. The Russians Svidler and Kramnik play their national opening (Russian/Petroff) and so there's not much noise there. Ponomariov is (we mentioned it earlier) playing his English Attack against Karjakin's Najdorf very trendy with the move f4 (instead of f3), Navara takes it easy with a King's Indian Attack and this is what Tiviakov is doing against Motylev's Caro-Kann. So a nice balance between quiet and wild, today.

Update 15.54 CET: alas, it really belongs to these tournaments... Again two three games have ended quickly in a draw. With Svidler-Kramnik we'd actually expected it, and after the Petroff it almost couldn't go the other way. Again we saw Kramnik checking his email in the press room quickly afterwards. Discussing his tournament schedule with his manager, perhaps? Radjabov did his homework, and when Carlsen didn't get much with White, the two gentlemen had enough of it. So let's get back to the more interesting games: Vishy naturally took Loek's exchange and then the Dutchman also offered him his b7 pawn to be able to continue his development. It looks fine for Black. Aronian missed a chance for an advantage we think. He should have played 26.d5 Ne5 27.Bg2; now it's equal also already a draw. Ponomariov is enjoying an attack and Navara-Shirov is still in quiet waters. Tiviakov-Motylev looks a bit better for Black to us.

We have footage of the start of the round. Watch all the photographers circling around Topalov!

Update 17.15 CET: Van Wely's preparation was OK and his moves were OK, until 29.Nb5. If he had played 29...Qb7, Anand would have 'seriously considered' a repetition of moves, as he said during the press conference, which we just put on film. So later today online again! 29...Qb6 is a big mistake, after it was lost or almost lost. Ponomariov, who was enjoying an attack, could finish his game most easily. Black didn't have any conterplay and what happens then, in the Sicilian, really, really hurts. Shirov is going great after what looked like a blunder by Navara (22.Rad1). By the way, Dutchman Manuel Bosboom, specialist in blitz (he beat Kasparov a couple of years ago here at Corus!) is playing for a GM norm today. He needs a win but unfortunately that won't happen...

Update 17.56 CET: I guess everybody but Navara (and probably even he!) is happy to know that Shirov can still win. Although it's better to speak of White losing. After the blunder, 26.g4 only made things worse. Black was accurate till the end and finished it nicely; 35.Qxc2 is answered by 35...Qh4 and then a knight to f4. Tivi-Moty was never really out of balance so we'd call it a correct draw.
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