At the start of today’s round 9 I predicted a lot of decisive on the top boards, but what happened exceeded even my expectations… There was not a single draw on the first 9 boards!!
On board 1 Li Chao lined up a 3rd consecutive win, this time against Richard Rapport. This game was a rather one-sided affair and we had the great pleasure of having Li Chao joining us in the commentary room afterwards to talk us through what happened.
The board 2 encounter between Arkadij Naiditsch and Eric Hansen was arguably the game of the day, as the advantage kept going back and forth during a crazy time scramble. Eric Hansen had the better nerves in the end, took home the full point and also joined us afterwards to highlight what was going on in this game.
You can watch the replay of all this here by the way: http://new.livestream.com/chesslivestream/events/2833145 (Eduardas Rozentalis comes on at about 2:55:00 and he is then closely followed by Li Chao and Eric Hansen.)
On board 3 Robin van Kampen had things under control throughout the game and scored a convincing victory again Bassem Amin. Unfortunately for the Egyptian GM, this is his second loss in a row after he started the tournament with an impressive 6.5/7.
Board 4 saw Helgi Olafsson continue his impressive comeback, as he lined up a 5th(!) consecutive victory, with his victim of the day being none other than Mikhail Kobalia.
I would also like to congratulate Lenka Ptacnikova, Tatev Abrahamyan and Brede Kvisvik, who all scored an IM norm today!
So before the final round (which starts at 12:00 tomorrow!) Li Chao is the sole leader on 8/9, followed by Eric Hansen, Robin van Kampen and Helgi Olafsson, all on 7,5/9.
Tomorrow Robin van Kampen will challenge Li Chao for the tournament victory on board 1, while on board 2 Eric Hansen will have the white pieces against Helgi Olafsson, who will try to win this tournament for the 3rd time!