The players enjoyed another rest day on Friday and the seventh round was held today at the IET in London. All four games ended peacefully, so Aronian and Carlsen kept their 1.5 lead over their closest followers, and are the clear favorites to fight for the coveted chance to play a World Championship match against Anand.
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Magnus Carlsen faced the Sicilian Defense put on the board by Teimour Radjabov. The Norwegian exchanged his light-squared bishop rather quickly, going into a line that was seen in the Anand-Gelfand match. While looking for ways to protect the light squares, Magnus closed the position in the center. Eventually, the Azerbaijani got the upper hand thanks to the threats he created against the black king. Carlsen reacted with an exchange sacrifice and Radjabov did not find the precise way to maintain his initiative. All in all, it was a good practical decision by Carlsen, who obtained the draw after 37 moves.
Levon Aronian played with the white pieces against Alexander Grischuk. The Armenian used a setup that brought him a slight initiative on the queenside. Grischuk, from the early middlegame, decided that the best policy would be to go for active play in the center and kingside, moving his pawns forward to create problems to his opponent. Some pieces were exchanged on the queenside and the draw arrived on move 46.
Two players with a similar style faced each other today, Vladimir Kramnik with white and Boris Gelfand with black. They used their typical strategies – to look for a small edge to convert it in a slightly superior endgame. On move 18, the computer shows that Kramnik’s choice was a mistake. However, Gelfand did not find the continuation offered by the machines to get the advantage. The maneuvering battle continued and the players signed the peace treaty in a king and pawns endgame on move 36.
The shortest draw of the round was seen in the game between Vassily Ivanchuk and Peter Svidler. The Ukrainian played the Scotch opening and they followed a main line of theory for a while. Svidler, playing black, decided to trade two pieces for a rook, with two extra pawns for him. The contenders hurried up to repeat the position three times on move 30.
The most expected game of the tournament will be played tomorrow, Magnus Carlsen will have the white pieces in the battle for first place against Levon Aronian. Do not miss the live coverage with GM commentary at Chessdom.com.
Standings after 7 rounds:
Photos by Anastasiya Karlovich