Cup Chronicle

2016 Cup Chronicle Issue 5

After more than six hours of play, it seemed that the round would end with all peaceful results, but a dramatic finish left Topalov at the top of the leaderboard. The start of the round was very promising as several of the games were very complicated. Both Caruana – Vachier-Lagrave and Svidler - Nakamura were double-edged, but after some good defensive ideas, the matches ended in a draws.
Ding Liren sacrificed a pawn in the opening, but after hours of play, it looked like the game was going to end in a draw like the others. The Chinese grandmaster’s nerves must have given out, as he found himself in a mating net after being so close to a draw. Going into the day off, Veselin Topalov is now leading the tournament with 3.5/5.
The players also took the time to talk about fitness and maintaining good health during the tournament. As it turns out, most of them are fitness enthusiasts and actually find the time to exercise either at the gym or outdoors. Anish Giri also joked that chess players like the idea of the general public thinking that chess players are enthusiastic about the game more than actually being enthusiastic about it. Tomorrow is a day off, so the fans are hoping for fireworks as the players have a full day to recuperate.
After suffering two losses, Peter Svidler had some real chances against Fabiano Caruana, but the U.S. Champion once again managed to escape with half a point. Nakamura and Anand had the most balanced game out of the round, with the former World Champion having a slight edge at one point. Aronian, So, Anand and Topalov are now tied for the lead with 2/3.
Hikaru Nakamura also had a fascinating game against Anish Giri, giving him one chance in the game to survive, but after being under the pressure the whole game was unable to find the saving move. The two other Americans, Wesley So and Fabiano Caruana, both drew as they escaped in worse positions.
The wild card of the event, Peter Svidler, is still trying to find his form as he played an excellent middle game in a very unorthodox position against Levon Aronian but was not able to keep the same level of accuracy in the endgame, giving the full point to the Armenian.
The two wild cards of the event, Peter Svidler and Ding Liren, did not seem very confident today, as the former blundered and the latter admitted to feeling shaken up after several bad results. The newest #2 player in the world, Vachier-Lagrave, who has gained almost 100 rating points in the past year, managed to escape with a draw in a much worse position.


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GM Gukesh D & GM Viswanathan Anand
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