Rd. 9 - GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs. GM Anish Giri

Written and annotated by GM Alejandro Ramirez.


Vachier-Lagrave had perhaps a slight advantage against Giri after sacrificing a pawn, or at least that is what most grandmasters thought. The Dutch player himself thought that it was Black playing for the advantage! After a couple of careless moves from MVL, it was indeed Giri who was slightly better; unfortunately it was never anything special. The game dissolved into a drawn rook endgame.

Rd. 9 - GM Viswanathan Anand vs. GM Magnus Carlsen

Written and annotated by GM Alejandro Ramirez.


In the game between Anand and Carlsen, and much like their World Championship matches, the Norwegian decided to stick to his Berlin defense. Both players played rather slowly, perhaps unfamiliar with the variation. Anand mentioned looking at this variation in the past but could not recall the specifics. Carlsen was able to trade into an opposite-colored bishop position and draw the game.

Rd. 9 - GM Veselin Topalov vs. GM Levon Aronian

Written and annotated by GM Alejandro Ramirez.


The first result of round nine was, for many, rather predictable. Levon Aronian is known to be a magnificent defender and one that is sure to prepare his black sides to a dead equal position. He didn’t quite do that today, but he was very well-versed in the dubious variation of the Ragozin that Topalov employed, trying to catch him off-guard. Aronian even enjoyed a slightly better position but allowed his opponent to execute a perpetual check to end the game.

Rd. 8 - GM Anish Giri vs. GM Fabiano Caruana

Written and annotated by GM Alejandro Ramirez.


This was the second longest game of round eight. Caruana was able to minimize the danger from the opening with his typical Grunfeld, though this time he brought in an interesting idea with an early e5 break. Giri’s advantage was negligible, and he started playing carelessly. Suddenly he saw himself down a pawn without full compensation. He had to suffer in a very long 2v1 rook endgame that he eventually drew.

Rd. 8 - GM Alexander Grischuk vs. GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Written and annotated by GM Alejandro Ramirez.


Grischuk repeated the variation that Carlsen played against Vachier-Lagrave earlier in the tournament, but MVL was not going to be caught unguarded in this variation twice. He came up with the strong early Qb6 idea, neutralized all play from Grischuk and the game was eventually drawn when neither side could find a constructive idea.

Rd. 8 - GM Levon Aronian vs. GM Viswanathan Anand

Written and analyzed by GM Alejandro Ramirez.


Aronian tried to put some pressure against Anand, but he ran into some deep opening preparation. The Indian player successfully neutralized White’s strong pawn center with some clever moves. Aronian sacrificed a pawn for some pressure on the b-file, taking advantage of an awkward knight on a5 for Anand, but Black had everything under control.