Round 7 was another very interesting affair yesterday, as all 3 top boards were decisive. On board 1 Bassem Amin scored another very convincing win against Erwin l’Ami, taking his total to an impressive 6.5/7! On board 2 Robin van Kampen avoided early simplifications, but was later outplayed by Arkadij Naiditsch. On board 3 finally Li Chao’s pieces were simply more active than Rozentalis’ in the endgame and he nicely converted this advantage into a win.
The 3 players who probably surprised us most so far also continued their excellent run as Simon Bekker-Jensen drew Gawain Jones, Walter Browne drew Grzegorz Gajewski and Mohamed Ezat beat Irina Krush! Walter Browne is of course already a GM, but with a win in round 8 Simon and Mohamed could probably already secure a GM norm, so we will keep a close eye on these games.
So after 7 rounds Bassem Amin is the sole leader on 6.5/7, closely followed by the first and second seeds, Arkadij Naiditsch and Li Chao, on 6/7. After that comes a pack of 14 players all on 5.5/7 and who will be very eager to catch up with the leaders.
In the evening the traditional Iceland vs. The Rest of the World football match tool place. Although the result was a rather clear 6-2 victory for the locals, all the players had a lot of fun and made this another memorable side event.
Today the 8th round will start at 16:30 and it is worth mentioning there will be 3 players from Egypt on the top 4 boards! Live commentary, which you can follow on www.chess.com/tv, will start at 16:45, so make sure you don’t miss any of the action!