While yesterday we had only 3 draws on the first 10 boards, today we had only 3 decisive results on the first 17 boards! There is no denying the players are getting tired, but they will undoubtedly all be eager to give it their all in today's last and all-important round.
The first boards, with the top clash Harikrishna-Sargissian in the foreground
On the top board, Harikrishna managed to get a rook endgame a pawn up, but since it was f-, g-,h- against g- and h-pawns, the drawish outcome of the game was never in much doubt and Sargissian defended flawlessly. On board 2, the young Italian GM-elect Rambaldi continued his excellent run by comfortably holding Fressinet to a draw with the black pieces.
Mickey Adams and Nigel Short having a friendly chat before the hostilities begin
In the board 3 clash between two of the greatest English players of all times, Adams got the slightest of advantages, but Short didn't give his opponent any chances and a draw was agreed on move 37. You can watch a post-game interview with both Nigel and Mickey in yesterday's video report.
On a side note, the video report also includes a piece about the anti-cheating measures that were implemented in this year's tournament, as well as interviews with the three main actors involved in this development: Yuri Garrett (Secretary of the Anti-Cheating Commission), David Welch (Chief Arbiter) and Alan Ormsby (Tournament Director).
The board 5 encounter between Grandelius and Naiditsch
The first 4 boards ending in draws means that the leaders remain unchanged, with the exception of Naiditsch joining the group of pursuers after winning his game against Grandelius. So going into the last round, Harikrishna leads the field with 6.5/8 and the five players that are hot on his heels as they trail him by just half a point are Fressinet, Naiditsch, Short, Sargissian and Rambaldi.
The top three pairings of the last and decisive round are Short-Harikrishna, Naiditsch-Fressinet and Sargissian-Rambaldi. This means that last year's winner Nigel Short gets a direct shot at defending his title by facing the sole leader with the white pieces.
Jennifer Shahade with yet another brainchild of her: chess roulette
In other news, Jennifer Shahade played a simul against 8 opponents in the Royal Hall yesterday morning. However, this simul came with a twist: the players could at any one given point in the game ask to spin the chess roulette, thus forcing Jennifer to move the piece that was pinpointed. Jennifer won five of her games, drew two and lost one. Let's hope we will see more chess events including the fun and lucky aspect of the roulette spin in the future!
The simul in full swing
Today's last round starts an hour earlier than usual, at 12:30 local time, and you can watch the games live on the official website. With everything left to play for, this promises to be the most exciting round of the entire tournament, so make sure you don't miss out!