Things are getting serious after the tournament has reached its equator. Levon Aronian made a draw with Peter Svidler, yet remained the sole leader of the tournament after six rounds.

Richard Rapport and Evgeny Tomashevsky defeated Alexander Riazantsev and Teimour Rajabov accordingly to join the group of six players with plus one, including Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Hikaru Nakamura, Ding Liren, Peter Svidler, Dmitry Jakovenko and Pentala Harikishna. Boris Gelfand suffered another loss in the tournament, this time at the hands of Ernesto Inarkiev. Other games finished in a draw.

IM Sabrina Vega Gutiérrez, current women’s champion of Spain, made the first symbolic move in the game Levon Aronian-Peter Svidler.

Peter Svidler was in trouble right from the very opening: “I have a suspicion that Levon Aronian looked at the line, which happened in the game, in more detail, because I think it’s more difficult to look at it in less detail than I did.” Levon Aronian was happy about his position after the opening, but was disappointed with his decision of 20.Ng5: “When I was playing fast, I was doing the right moves, then I thought for 25 minutes, got carried away and blundered 21…Rae8.” The White’s advantage slipped away and the game finished in a draw after a few moves. 

According to Richard Rapport, he was satisfied with his position after the opening, but believed that things got out of control afterwards. Alexander Riazantsev declined a draw offer after 25…Qg5 but most probably missed a strong idea 27…c5. It was White’s turn to be careful, but the Russian Grandmaster didn’t manage to hold the position playing under time pressure. 

Ernesto Inarkiev and Boris Gelfand played two matches against each other in Ingushetia (Russia) and  continued their theoretical discussion in the English opening. Inarkiev had difficult times with Black after 1.c4 and it was his first victory in classical game over Gelfand with Black pieces. The Russian Grandmaster managed to equalize comfortably and the moment Gelfand decided to complicate the position he felt it should not work for White. Ernesto was happy to find 20…Na2 and thought his position was better after.  

Teimour Rajabov dropped back to minus one with a loss against Evgeny Tomashevsky. The game could have finished in a draw around move 20, but Teimour decided to play on. “At least I tried! #chess”, wrote Azerbaijani Grandmaster in his twitter.

Evgeniy Tomashvesky had a similar experience as his opponent at the last stage of the previous Grand Prix Series in Khanty-Mansiysk. He also had a chance to qualify for the Candidates back then and knew how difficult it was to play under such pressure. The two opponents had different motivation. The Russian Grandmaster was slowly increasing his advantage and won a pawn on move 40. He was sure that Black could have defended better, but at the same time believed White’s position had to be winning.  

Photos from day six by Valeriy Belobeev are here.