During yesterday's second round we got a demonstration of the advantage of the white pieces on the top boards. Indeed, in the two all-English clashes on boards 1 and 3, Adams and Howell were both held to draws with Black, by Arkell and Gormally respectively. On boards 2 and 4, Harikrishna and Fressinet, who were both playing with the white pieces, scored two crushing wins against Vishnu and Hebden.
Mickey Adams and Keith Arkell shaking hands on board 1
While many favourites were held to draws by their lower rated opponents, the only real upset of the day came from board 15, where IM Hamitevici (2439) beat GM Tiviakov (2612) with the black pieces.
Vladimir Hamitevici from Moldova during round 1
Before the round started, the Secretary of FIDE's Anti-Cheating Commission, Yuri Garrett, held a short speech on new measures which are being introduced in order to fight the ever-evolving cheating problems the chess world is currently confronted with. He went on to conduct a trial search of GM Sabino Brunello, who luckily turned out to be "clean"! Random searches will be conducted during the remainder of the tournament to ensure all players can focus on their games with a serene mindset. Oh and in case you wondered, any resemblance between Yuri's name and that of the metal detector is purely fortuitous!
Yuri Garrett searching GM Sabino Brunello with a metal detector
But back to the chess. After two rounds, there are only 13 players left with a perfect score, while 23 more follow them on 1.5/2. This means that we will have our first big clashes during round 3, when Grandelius takes on Harikrishna on board 1. Next to them the legendary Dutch GM Jan Timman will face Fressinet with the white pieces. On board 4 we will have a rematch of Van Foreest-Short, which had ended in a draw last year.
Dagne Ciuksyte and Keti Arakhamia-Grant having a chat before the round
Monday also marks the start of the Major and Minor sections, in which around 45 players will be taking part. All the games will have the usual 1.30pm kick-off and you can watch them live here.