Round 5

Yesterday's 5th round was marked by draws on the first four boards. But while boards 1 and 2 were rather uneventful draws, boards 3 and 4 provided some of the most interesting battles of the day.

round 5 1

The top 4 boards: Movsesian, Sargissian, Naiditsch and Howell

The board 3 encounter between Naiditsch and Granda Zuniga was an exciting game where the advantage kept swinging back and forth. While Naiditsch was clearly better for most of the middle game, Granda suddenly seized the initiative after the Azeri went astray with 33.Rb7?. The Peruvian legend could then have gotten a winning advantage on the last move before the time control, had he found 40...Rc7! in the position below.

The position after 40.Ra8

The beautiful point Granda missed (as he was down to just 40 seconds on the clock) is that after 41.a7 Nc6! 42.Re8+ Kxe8 43.a8=Q+ Ndb8! traps the queen, which will be picked up after 44...Ra7! Instead, he went for 40...Rc6?, which led to an endgame where he was a pawn down and probably losing. But Granda defended tenaciously and eventually held the draw after almost 7 hours of play.

The longest game of the day however was the board 4 match-up between Howell and Melkumyan, where the Englishman got a winning advantage, but failed to convert it and had to settle for a draw.

Howell and Melkumyan battling it out long after everyone else left the building

On board 5, chess fans were treated to another crazy game, this time between Greenfeld and Short. As Nigel point out after the game, the position was a complete mess and added: "This is a speciality of mine- forking my own pieces. However, it is the first I ever hung two pieces in consecutive moves."

The position after 15...Nde5 16.Rae1 Bc5

In the above position, Greenfeld missed the strong 17.Bd5!, which would have given him a clear advantage. Instead, after playing 17.Qe3?, he quickly collapsed and had to resign just 5 moves later. You can hear more about Nigel's game in yesterday's video report.

Jorden Van Foreest's king on a bit of a journey...

Among the other players on 3/4, Grandelius, Tiviakov and Zumsande also won their respective games. By beating GM Brunello (2553), German IM Zumsande (2422) not only created one of the biggest upsets of the day, but also shot into the joined lead.

Martin Zumsande during his round 4 game

Indeed, the four top boards all ending in draws gave the players on 3/4 the chance to catch up with the leaders, which means what with 4 rounds to go we now have a huge pack of 11 players leading the field: Harikrishna, Fressinet, Naiditsch, Sargissian, Short, Granda, Movsesian, Grandelius, Melkumyan, Tiviakov and Zumsande.

The top pairings for today's 6th round include Harikrishna-Zumsande, Fressinet-Grandelius and Melkumyan-Naiditsch, Granda-Sargissian and Short-Movsesian. As usual, you can follow the games live here and find all the pictures from the tournament here.

Fiona Steil-Antoni

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GM Hikaru Nakamura
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