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Aronian takes the lead!

Levon Aronian
Levon Aronian has taken the lead, with one round to go, with four players only half-a-point behind. Hiis eighth round victory came at the expence of Peter Svidler in a Grûnfeld where the Armenian kept a small pull throughout.

Despite the symmetrical structure, Aronian always had the more active pieces. His plan of pushing up the queenside pawns increased the pressure and then a pretty knight sacrifice for passed pawns on both wings finished the job.

Hikaru Nakamura managed to obtain counterplay by pushing his h-pawn in a Sämisch King's Indian against Viswanathan Anand. This led to dynamic equality and a repetition.

Vladimir Kramnik sacrificed a pawn in an unusual manner against Sergey Karjakin. This led to a simplified position with queen and rook each, where White had the better structure, but this wasn't enough to make the diference.

Magnus Carlsen retained a space advantage against Ian Nepomniachtchi, but the Russian played a neat combination for perpetual check.

In Vassily Ivanchuk-Boris Gelfand, Black liberated his position with ...c5, but White was always a shade more active. Gelfand solved his problems with a surprising piece sacrifice which enabled him to double on the seventh thus forcing a draw.

Here is a summary of the eighth round games:

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Moves Opening descri ption
Viswanathan Anand IND 2811 0.5-0.5 Hikaru Nakamura USA 2758 33 King's Indian Defence (Sämisch)
Magnus Carlsen NOR 2826 0.5-0.5 Ian Nepomniachtchi RUS 2730 40 Sicilian (Moscow)
Levon Aronian ARM 2802

1-0

Peter Svidler RUS 2755 54 Grünfeld Defence 4.Bf4
Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2800 0.5-0.5 Sergey Karjakin RUS 2763  44 Catalan Opening
Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2775

0.5-0.5

Boris Gelfand ISR 2744 41 Semi-Slav 6.Qc2

The table after the eighth round:

Rank Name Country Rating 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Points
1 Levon Aronian ARM 2802 * ½ ½ . 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 5
2-5 Magnus Carlsen NOR 2826 ½ * ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ . 1
2-5 Sergey Karjakin RUS 2763 ½ ½ * ½ . ½ ½ ½ ½ 1
2-5 Ian Nepomniachtchi RUS 2730 . ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½
2-5 Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2775  0 ½ . ½ * ½ 1 ½ 1 ½
6 Viswanathan Anand IND 2811 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ . 4
7-8 Peter Svidler RUS 2755 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ * . 1 ½
7-8 Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2800 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ . * ½ ½ 
9-10 Hikaru Nakamura USA 2758 ½ . ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ * ½ 3
9-10 Boris Gelfand ISR 2744 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ . ½ ½ ½ *

Details of the earlier games:

The first round:

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Moves Opening description
Hikaru Nakamura USA 2758

0.5-0.5

Boris Gelfand ISR 2744 34 Queen's Gambit Declined 5.Bf4
Viswanathan Anand IND 2811 0.5-0.5 Sergey Karjakin RUS 2763 42 Nimzoindian 4.Qc2
Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2775 1-0 Peter Svidler RUS 2755 61 Grünfeld 4.e3
Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2800 0-1 Ian Nepomniachtchi RUS 2730 53 English Symmetrical
Levon Aronian ARM 2802 0.5-0.5 Magnus Carlsen NOR 2826 57 Queen's Indian 4.g3 Ba6

The second round:

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Moves Opening description
Magnus Carlsen NOR 2826 1-0 Boris Gelfand ISR 2744 38 Slav Defence 4.e3
Sergey Karjakin RUS 2763

0.5-0.5

Hikaru Nakamura USA 2758 43 Sicilian Najdorf 6.Be2
Peter Svidler RUS 2755

0.5-0.5

Viswanathan Anand IND 2811 23 Caro-Kann Advance
Ian Nepomniachtchi RUS 2730

0.5-0.5

Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2775 76 Sicilian Sveshnikov
Levon Aronian ARM 2802

0.5-0.5

Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2800 49 Queen's Gambit Tarrasch

The third round:

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Moves Opening description
Boris Gelfand ISR 2744 0-1 Sergey Karjakin RUS 2763 59 Open Catalan
Hikaru Nakamura USA 2758 0-1 Peter Svidler RUS 2755 48 Grünfeld Exchange 7.Bc4
Viswanathan Anand IND 2811

0.5-0.5

Ian Nepomniachtchi RUS 2730 27 Grünfeld (Russian Variation)
Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2775 0-1 Levon Aronian ARM 2802 57 Spanish Berlin
Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2800

0.5-0.5

Magnus Carlsen NOR 2826 41 English (Botvinnik) 

The fourth round:

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Moves Opening description
Magnus Carlsen NOR 2826 0.5-0.5 Sergey Karjakin RUS 2763 67 Nimzoindian 4.Qc2
Peter Svidler RUS 2755 0.5-0.5 Boris Gelfand ISR 2744 40 Reti Opening
Ian Nepomniachtchi RUS 2730

0.5-0.5

Hikaru Nakamura USA 2758 85 Sicilian Dragon
Levon Aronian ARM 2802 0.5-0.5 Viswanathan Anand IND 2811 60 Queen's Gambit Declined 5.Bf4
Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2800

0.5-0.5

Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2775 57 Chebanenko Slav

The fifth round:

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Moves Opening description
Sergey Karjakin RUS 2763 0.5-0.5 Peter Svidler RUS 2755 26 Sicilian Kan
Boris Gelfand ISR 2744 0.5-0.5 Ian Nepomniachtchi RUS 2730 62 Grünfeld Defence 4.Bg5
Hikaru Nakamura USA 2758

0.5-0.5

Levon Aronian ARM 2802 53 Queen's Gambit Declined 3...Be7
Viswanathan Anand IND 2811 0.5-0.5 Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2800 36 Queen's Gambit Declined 5.Bf4
Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2775

0.5-0.5

Magnus Carlsen NOR 2826 76 Grünfeld 4.Bf4

The sixth round:

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Moves Opening description
Magnus Carlsen NOR 2826 0.5-0.5 Peter Svidler RUS 2755 53 Grünfeld Defence (Exchange 7 .Bc4)
Ian Nepomniachtchi RUS 2730 0.5-0.5 Sergey Karjakin RUS 2763 40 Nimzoindian Defence (4.Qc2)
Levon Aronian ARM 2802

0.5-0.5

Boris Gelfand ISR 2744 40 Queen's Gambit Declined  5.Bf4
Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2800 0.5-0.5 Hikaru Nakamura USA 2758 42 English (Anti-Grünfeld, Qb3)
Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2775

0.5-0.5

Viswanathan Anand IND 2811 36 Queen's Gambit Declined (Lasker)

The seventh round:

White Country Rating Result Black Country Rating Moves Opening description
Viswanathan Anand IND 2811 0.5-0.5 Magnus Carlsen NOR 2826 29 Grünfeld Defence (Exchange 7 .Be3)
Peter Svidler RUS 2755 0.5-0.5 Ian Nepomniachtchi RUS 2730 58 English Opening
Sergey Karjakin RUS 2763

0.5-0.5

Levon Aronian  ARM 2802 38 Spanish with d3
Boris Gelfand ISR 2744 0.5-0.5 Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2800 48 Queen's Gambit Declined  5.Bf4
Hikaru Nakamura USA 2758

0-1

Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2775 40 Grünfeld Defence 4.Bf4

More information from the official site:

http://www.russiachess.org/

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