Three draws in 7th round Nanjing

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Nanjing r7All three games ended in a draw in round 7 of the Pearl Spring tournament today. In the crucial game between Topalov (White) against Carlsen (Black), a highly theoretical Sveshnikov, the tournament leader used an impressive amount of opening preparation to keep his 2-point lead in the standings.

The 2nd Pearl Spring tournament takes place September 27 - October 9 in Nanjing, China. It's a 6-player, double round-robin with Topalov (2813), Carlsen (2772), Leko (2762), Radjabov (2757), Jakovenko (2742) and Wang Yue (2736) playing for a € 250,000 prize fund. The rate of play is 40 moves in 90 minutes plus 1 hour.

Round 7

In a disappointing 7th round of the Pearl Spring tournament already after about two and a half hours of play all games had ended in a draw. Especially Radjabov-Leko was not much; Radjabov's unambitious opening set-up (the double fianchetto) isn't giving a player of Leko's caliber any headaches, and perhaps the Hungarian needed a few minutes to find the accurate 15...c3, but that was about it.

Nanjing r7

Wang Yue-Jakovenko was another example of what surely will be mentioned in this week's ChessVibes Openings #40: that the Grünfeld is extremely hot at top level! Everyone is playing it now, even Jakovenko (for the first time ever, if we can believe the database). In the 4.Bf4 line, the Russian didn't go for the 5...c5 complications, in which Wang Yue is the world's biggest expert by now, but for the more quiet 5...0-0. He held the ending to a draw quite easily, just like Miguel Najdorf did against Petar Trifunovic the first time this ending was ever played, in 1949.

Nanjing r7

The crucial game was of course Topalov-Carlsen where mutual preparation was brought on the board quickly, which led to a very drawish ending that was played on for a bit over an hour. Theoretically speaking it was highly important because the players went for the the 9.Bxf6 main line of the Sveshnikov, which was known to be OK for Black. Carlsen lost to Shirov in a critical last round game earlier this year in Sofia, but it was clear Carlsen could have improved his opening play there.

Topalov knew this of course, and deviated from that game with 21.Rc1, but also against this move Carlsen was fully prepared. The players followed Rybka's recommendations until an ending was reached with only pawns on the kingside, rooks, and bishop versus knight. White's extra pawn was of no significance and after about one and a half hours of play the players agreed to a draw.

Nanjing r7

For Magnus Carlsen today's results are just excellent; with two more white games and one black and a 2-point lead, he's very close to his best career performance so far: clinching his first sole Grand Slam victory, after a shared one with Aronian at Corus in 2008.

Games round 7

Game viewer by ChessTempo

2nd Pearl Spring (Nanjing) 2009 | Round 7 Standings 2nd Pearl Spring (Nanjing) 2009

2nd Pearl Spring (Nanjing) 2009 | Schedule & results 2nd Pearl Spring (Nanjing) 2009

Nanjing r7

Veselin Topalov tried hard but did not succeed in cracking that tough Svesh nut

Nanjing r7

After surviving his second black game in a row, Carlsen has enough reason to smile


Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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