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Bacrot downs the World Champion!

It was definitely Etienne Bacrot's day as he was the only winner in round 4 of the Pearl Spring tournament. An eyebrow-raising result as the ending didn't look that promising for White.
The other two games were drawn.

The openings were predictable choices, but the follow-ups sometimes were not. In Gashimov-Carlsen, the Azerbaijani reacted to Carlsen's Breyer in active style with a temporary piece sacrifice on f5. Material equality was soon re-established with White still having some pressure into the pseudo-ending, and then later in the simplified endgame, due to Black's inferior structure. Carlsen held, although his position looked a little shaky at one point.

Bacrot-Anand played into the theoretical piece sacrifice line where Black obtains three pawns and a solid kingside structure in compensation. Simplification led to an endgame with all the pawns on one wing, where Bacrot had bishop and two pawns against four pawns. A draw seemed to be the most likely result (especially as White had the so-called 'wrong rook's pawn'), but Anand actually soon resigned. Either the World Champion mishandled his pawn advances, or his position was perhaps worse for him than many would have thought.

The opening in Topalov-Wang Yue was a more cagey affair with Topalov maintaining a pull into the double-rook endgame. Wang Yue held by exchanging all the queenside pawns.

Vugar GashimovAZE27190.5-0.5Magnus CarlsenNOR2826Spanish Breyer
Etienne BacrotFRA27161-0Viswanathan AnandIND2800Slav Defence
Veselin TopalovBUL28030.5-0.5Wang YueCHN2732Slav Defence

Magnus Carlsen still leads, but only by half-a-point from Etienne Bacrot.

Here are the standings after the third round:

StandingNameCountryRatingPoints
1Magnus CarlsenNOR28263
2Etienne BacrotFRA27162.5
3Viswanathan AnandIND28002
4=Veselin TopalovBUL28031.5
4=Wang YueCHN27321.5
4=Vugar GashimovAZE27191.5

Bacrot's second win in a row takes him above Anand in the standings.

Here is a summary of previous rounds:

Round 1:

Viswanathan AnandIND28000.5-0.5Wang YueCHN2732Slav/Grünfeld
Magnus CarlsenNOR28261-0Etienne BacrotFRA2716Scotch Opening
Veselin TopalovBUL28030.5-0.5Vugar GashimovAZE2719Slav Defence

Round 2:

Wang YueCHN27320.5-0.5Vugar GashimovAZE2719Nimzoindian Defence
Etienne BacrotFRA27160.5-0.5Veselin TopalovBUL2803Nimzoindian Defence
Viswanathan AnandIND28000.5-0.5Magnus CarlsenNOR2826Spanish Breyer

Round 3:

Magnus CarlsenNOR28261-0Wang YueCHN2732Petroff Defence
Veselin TopalovBUL28030-1Viswanathan AnandIND2800Queen's Gambit Declined Lasker
Vugar GashimovAZE27190-1Etienne BacrotFRA2716English Opening
No wins yet for Wang Yue © chessanytime.com
Gashimov: Vigorous play against the Breyer © chessbase.com

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