After the rest day, five players came ready to separate themselves from the pack, but only one succeeded. Fabiano Caruana is now leading the tournament after defeating Sergey Karjakin. The only other leader who had winning chances, Alexander Grischuk, let Magnus Carlsen escape with a draw. The highly anticipated faceoff between Carlsen and Caruana will happen tomorrow in round 7. This will be their last encounter before their upcoming World Championship match in November. Not only will they be battling it out for first place in this tournament, but also for the number one spot in the world rankings, as Caruana is only 7 rating points away from his rival. If Caruana wins tomorrow, it will end Carlsen’s seven-year streak as the highest rated player in the world. Tomorrow’s round is potentially historic and not one to be missed!
Before playing the World Champion tomorrow, Caruana had to overcome his former challenger in the 2016 match. Sergey Karjakin can’t seem to find his form in this tournament and has put his ticket to the finals in London in jeopardy with his poor performance. In an unpleasant position, he completely collapsed and had to resign a few moves later. This was his third loss in the event and he is now in last place. Caruana, on the other hand, is the only player to have won two games in this highly contested event and has distanced himself by half a point from his closest rivals.
Fabiano Caruana has quite the fan club!
Grischuk - Carlsen ½-½
After the tournament is completed, Alexander Grischuk will likely still be regretting his decisions in this game. He had the World Champion on the ropes out of the opening with his dynamic move 13.g4. The Russian Grandmaster reached a winning position but was unable to convert because his idea was one tempo short. He explained that his approach was to win without allowing any counterplay, though having this kind of attitude too early lead to the loss of the advantage. The win would have put him in a tie for first place with Caruana, while leaving Carlsen a full point behind. Currently, both remain half a point behind the leader.
The World Champion had a lucky draw against Grischuk
Nakamura - Aronian ½-½
The wild affair eventually ended in a draw after several missed opportunities by both players. The Armenian superstar described his play as “inexcusable” and was ashamed of his performance. After they reached a double rook endgame, Aronian sacrificed one of his rooks in order to queen his passed pawn, but he overlooked a simple resource by his opponent. Nakamura had a winning position according to the computers, but bringing the full point home was still a challenging task over the board. The American misplayed the position, allowed his opponent’s pawn to reach all the way to the second rank, and thus had to settle for a draw.
Nakamura watches Aronian struggling to survive
Mamedyarov - Vachier-Lagrave ½-½
The two leaders had a relatively quiet game compared to the chaos on the other boards. The Frenchman missed an opportunity to play a sharper variation and instead played a move “by hand,” as he described it after the game. He regretted his decision, as if he spent more time in the critical position he would possibly have chosen the correct continuation . “It’s going to be difficult to keep my title. I basically need to win tomorrow and then we will see” – Maxime Vachier-Lagrave opined during his postgame interview. He plays Nakamura tomorrow, against whom he hasn’t beaten in a classical time control game yet.
Vachier-Lagrave, Mamedyarov, Carlsen and Ramirez analyzing after the game
So – Anand ½-½
The former World Champion has been extremely solid in this event, while Wesley So has still been looking to find his form and score a full point. The American repeated the line Aronian played against Anand in the previous round, but he came prepared with a novelty that gave him a promising position. Anand played an accurate pawn sacrifice in an opposite color bishop middlegame, exchanging the queens and transitioning into an endgame where So couldn’t make use of his extra material.
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