Rd. 7 - GM Fabiano Caruana vs. GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Written and annotated by GM Alejandro Ramirez.


Caruana decided to use yet another Bb5+ Sicilian in this tournament, and the game quickly turned into a Spanish type of position. The usual strategical concepts of the closed Spanish were seen and featured pressure on both sides of the board and the slight space advantage in the center being relatively important. But, like in the Spanish, Black’s position was simply too solid. Caruana was unable to create any danger for his opponent and when all of the major pieces were swapped, the draw was agreed. 

Rd. 7 - GM Veselin Topalov vs. GM Anish Giri

Written and annotated by GM Alejandro Ramirez.


Topalov came into today’s game against Giri with very little fighting spirit. It is hard to blame the Bulgarian who had two losses in a row as it is always a difficult position to be in psychologically. Playing it safe, he chose an old line of the anti-Grunfeld, but it led to nothing for either side. A very dry endgame arose and it was swiftly drawn.

Rd. 7 - GM Magnus Carlsen vs. GM Alexander Grischuk

Written and annotated by GM Alejandro Ramirez.


Carlsen’s game was a rather strange one. He didn’t like his position from the opening, but at some point it seemed clear that the game would end in a draw. An endgame with equal pawns and opposite colored bishops seemed to seal the deal. However, the World Champion was rather careless and lost a pawn. Grischuk tortured Carlsen for a long time, until eventually (6.5 hours later) Carlsen blundered.

Rd. 6 - GM Alexander Grischuk vs. GM Fabiano Caruana

Written and analyzed by GM Alejandro Ramirez.


Last to finish was a thrilling battle between Grischuk and Caruana which left the American player unhappy. He played a strong and resourceful piece sacrifice to shatter his opponent’s structure and obtain a lasting initiative, but his misplayed it badly. His move b5?! simply helped his opponent’s queen to improve, and though it is true that the correct continuation was scary, he simply had to go for it. As the game progressed, it became obvious that White was simply up a piece.

Rd. 6 - GM Wesley So vs. GM Hikaru Nakamura

Written and annotated by GM Alejandro Ramirez.


Wesley So played a very strange game. He confidently blitzed out twenty moves of theory, clearly prepared. Unfortunately, after that every move he played lasted at least fifteen minutes and were rather unconvincing. At one point it was clear that he had violated a couple of positional rules, or maybe twenty, and he was punished with a brilliancy. Nakamura sacrificed everything, including the kitchen sink, and mated So on g6 in a must-see game. 

Rd. 6 - GM Anish Giri vs. GM Viswanathan Anand

Written and annotated by GM Alejandro Ramirez.


Giri seemed to obtain a slightly more pleasant position from the opening due to his pair of bishops. However, Anand was ultra-solid behind his Slav setup. His control of key dark squares also helped him out in the game. Giri misplayed his position very slightly and allowed Anand to exchange one of his bishops which then resulted in a dead drawn endgame.