After an extremely tense fourth round, yesterday was the quietest day of the 2017 FIDE World Chess Grand Prix in Palma de Mallorca: all the players drew their games.

“Generally, it’s the most important game in the tournament. I mean, you don’t want to go to a rest day being upset,” said Levon Aronian after the game with Ding Liren. Anish Giri had different thoughts on that: “Levon considers a draw as a good result today because he beat me yesterday. I believe that two games before the rest day are important, not one!”

Sebastia Nadal, President of the Winter Chess, made the first symbolic move in the game between Ding Liren and Levon Aronian, the finalists of the recent World Cup in Tbilisi. Ding Liren decided not to repeat the openings from the final match in Georgia, but to play something new against Aronian. Until some point the players were following the line, which happened in the game Nakamura-Aronian in the previous Grand Prix. Hikaru chose 10.Bf6 after 9…h6 but Ding Liren opted for 10.Bh4. After an unpopular, yet interesting 10…g5 it turned out that Ding Liren was out of his preparation. The Chinese Grandmaster decided to simplify the position and after a few exchanges the draw was agreed. 

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave didn’t achieve much with white pieces against Hikaru Nakamura and after 13 moves the players agreed for a draw. Teimour Rajabov tried to find a playable position and delay a draw. He used, for instance, Reversed King’s Indian – the type of position clearly unusual for Pentala Harikrishna. “I think I got to play a little, but Pentala was busy solving problems all the time – and he did it well”, said Teimour after the game. 

No chess today. Back to the boards on Thursday.

Photos from day five by Valeriy Belobeev are here.