Yet again, no quarter was given during yesterday's 7th round, as from the first 10 boards only 3 games ended in a draw.
The top 8 boards
On the top board, Arkadij Naiditsch had the white pieces against India's Harikrishna, and after the latter went wrong in the opening, the Azeri player got a very advantageous position. By Harikrishna's own admission, he had gotten a decent position, but had to switch to defending when he missed a move of his opponent. The Indian player reckoned his position was objectively lost at some point, but there were still a few tricks. His luck came when Naiditsch made a few inaccuracies in time trouble, and after reaching the time control, Hari felt his position was already better. And although Naiditsch continued to put up great resistance, the Indian player eventually managed to bring the full point home. You can watch Harikrishna's full interview in yesterday's video report (starting at 6:36).
Tournament leader Pentala Harikrishna
Since the board 2 encounter between Nigel Short and Laurent Fressinet ended in a draw, Harikrishna is now the sole tournament leader on 6/7. One cannot blame Short for not trying though, as the Englishman unleashed the Evans Gambit in this crucial game! Nigel is well-known for his fondness of romantic openings, but this time the fireworks didn't quite happen and the players signed a draw on move 29.
Round 7 in full swing at the stunning Royal Hall
Board 3 saw Sargissian comprehensively outplay Tiviakov, while on board 5 the 16-year old Italian GM-elect Francesco Rambaldi (whose title will be approved at the next FIDE Presidential Board) scored a crushing win against Yuriy Kuzubov. On board 4, Alexander Donchenko, another young hopeful, also obtained a very promising position against Granda Zuniga, but had to settle for a draw after his opponent defended tenaciously in a queen ending where he was a pawn down.
Francesco Rambaldi during his round 1 game
This means that Harikrishna is now the sole tournament leader on 6/7, but he is closely followed by four players on 5.5/7: Fressinet, Sargissian, Short and Rambaldi. In today’s 8th round, Harikrishna will have the white pieces against Sargissian, while Fressinet takes on Rambaldi. On board 3, we will be treated to a clash between two of the greatest English players of all times, Adams and Short.
A young chess fan waiting for round 7 to end
Today's games kick off at 1.30pm and with only two rounds to go, you would be crazy not to follow the action live here! You can now also replay all the games from previous rounds on the official tournament website. And don't forget to check out the photo albums as well as our YouTube channel, where you will find daily video reports, including interviews with all the top players.