It seemed the top players sensed the urgency in the 7th round with a vast field of 14 players tied with 5 out of 5. After Giri drew against Kamsky on the top board we had decisive results on the next 7 boards!
Nils Grandelius grinded down Andreikin in fantastic fashion. Nils was up a pawn but it looked like it really hard to convert. In the end the strong Russian was put into zugzwang.
Andreikin played 66…Rh6 which allowed 67.Kg5 penetrating. That was probably a better defensive try but 66…Rf5 was nicer since after 67.Rh7 it’s a nasty zugzwang. Any king move loses a pawn and the rook can’t move without allowing a lost pawn endgame.
Baadur Jobava kept on with his recent surge and won after also grinding down his Russian opponent, Konstantin Landa. Jobava’s finish was especially nice:
Landa did fight on though with rook against Queen but it was all in vein as Jobava finished the job.
It was a day of grindouts. Last years winner Abhijeet Gupta kept pace with the leading pack by defeating Sergei Movsesian in yet another endgame. It looked like Movsesian might be close to getting to the last white pawns but Gupta had calculated far enough.
62.Nd7 Kxe4 63.Nxf6+ Kd4 64.Ng4 and the knight gets to the important d1 square from where it defends the remaining pawn and can’t be captured. White wins.
Emre Can from Turkey caught up with the leaders defeating the in-form Gawain Jones. A nice win by the Turk. He might be on the top of the table but he will have a hard time reaching the top of the google search engine with his namesake making a nice name for himself at Liverpool football club 😉
Last one to join the leaders was Vidit with a win in an all-Indian matchup against Panchanathan. He also had a nice move:
26…Rxc2! and then the bishop comes to c6 with devestating effect. The game only lasted a few more moves.
Those make up the top five and we’ll have a hard fought last three rounds. Finally we can’t say goodbye to this round without having a look at game of the round!
Other interesting results included Praggnanandhaa drawing against Beliavsky but for a while it looked like he might have good chances to win before the repeated in timetrouble. Awonder Liang is quietly turning in a GM norm level performance having drawn against Shirov, Movsesian and Yilmaz, all 2600+ Grandmasters.
Another GM norm candidate is for sure Aman Hambleton who beat Alejandro Ramirez and now with 3 huge wins against GM it looks like only a formality for him to secure the norm!
Live games can always be found on the official site.
Live commentary by Fiona and Simon here: twitch.tv/chess
Photo gallery from Round 7 and Golden Circle Trip