In the Third Round of the FIDE Grand Prix in Palma de Mallorca games between the four leaders, Vachier-Lagrave-Aronian and Rajabov-Giri, finished in a draw. Peter Svidler joined the group of leaders by beating Jon-Ludvig Hammer in the third round.

Lots of spectators came to the Grand Prix venue today to watch the games and meet their favourite chess players. It was clear that most of them came to support their local hero Francisco Vallejo Pons who resides in Mallorca. The Spanish Grandmaster paid back for their six hours wait by winning his first game in the Grand Prix Series.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave came close to defeating Levon Aronian, but missed his chance to “pay back” his opponent for elimination from the semifinal of the World Cup. At the post-game interview, the French Grandmaster was sure he had an advantage and was blaming himself for exchanging queens. He underestimated Aronian’s counterplay in the centre, which turned out to be enough to keep the balance in the game. 

Jon-Ludvig Hammer spent almost half an hour on his move 16.Nf5 and, as it often happens when players think for too long, chose not the best continuation.

After 16…Bf5 17.ef d5 Peter Svidler got an obvious advantage. The Russian Grandmaster still had to show a precise way to win the game and among other decisions was happy to find 34…Ng4 (instead of tempting 34…e1Q), which prevents White’s conterplay on the King’s side.

The game finished with checkmate on the board, a rare guest in top-level events.

The longest game of Round Three, Rapport-Li Chao, finished in a draw. The Hungarian Grandmaster was pressing his opponent, but Li Chao held the ground with black pieces.

The first symbolic move was made by Carles Vich, President of the Balearic Chess Federation.

Watch the games broadcasted at https://worldchess.com/gp2017/. 

Photos from the Third Round by Valeriy Belobeev are available here