In the diagrammed position, the players agreed that if White where to get f2-f4 and e4-e5 in he would surely gain the advantage. But this is easier said than done. In the post-mortem analysis, the players also had a look at 19.e5!? Qxe5 20.Bf4, after which Hikaru felt Black shouldn't have too many problems following 20...Qe7 21.b5 axb5 22.Bxd6 Qxd6 23.axb5 Rxa1 24.Rxa1 Bd8 (even more precise might be 24...d3!? with the idea 25.bxc6 Bxf2+! 26.Kxf2 Qf6+ and 27...Qxa1). Wang Hao decided to sacrifice the e-pawn with
Black was fine and the Chinese had to resign himself to forcing a draw.
In short: the game featured an intense struggle with a highly non symmetrical position, eventually leading to a perfectly... symmetrical and dead drawn rook ending.
Etienne Bacrot - Boris Gelfand
In the 3.Bb5-sicilian that appeared on the board, Gelfand has a lot of experience having recently played the same line against Svidler, Anand and Carlsen. With 14.Qb3
Bacrot deviated from the game Anand-Gelfand but Boris was ready for this move and equalized in a straightforward fashion. Since that moment on, little play was left in the position and the players decided to repeat the moves.
Gelfand undoubtedly goes into the first rest day with a good feeling, giving his first place (next to Ivanchuk) in the standings; it is indeed too early to speculate on who is leading, as Boris would most probably say, but a good and solid play will always stand out!
As for Etienne, he will surely want to improve his position on the scoreboard in the upcoming rounds. Since tomorrow is a free day, he will join us for the afternoon visit to Versailles, which he never saw before! Ruslan Ponomariov - Evgeny Tomashevsky
A game of metamorphosis! The game started out as a Queens Gambit, moved into Stonewall-territory but later it also reminded Ponomariov of the Queens-Indian. In any case, the Stonewall erected by Tomashevsky was incredibly solid and Ponomariov never came close to any advantage. Both players agreed a draw was a fair result.Leinier Dominguez - Anish Giri
Anish Giri came well prepared and blitzed out his first 20 moves or so without thought. His second, Robin van Kampen, watching the game in the press room, also seemed to enjoy the course of the game.
In the diagrammed position, Black had not used any time and could have restored the material balance with 21...Rxe3, when a draw is the most likely result. But something went wrong as Anish 'mixed something up' and played 21...Rb6
to which Dominguez replied 22.Rf3!
when it turns out that 22...Rxc6 runs into 23.Qd7 and the f7-pawn falls. The Cuban had little trouble converting the extra pawn into a win.
After such intense over the board disputes, we finally do not need a prognostic for tomorrow. The main expectations are connected with the... visit to Versailles, an event that most of the players must have been looking for from the begining, since everyone shared the enthusiasm and willingness to join the tour!
Happy free day!Versailles from the outside - tomorrow we'll take a closer look!
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