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Gelfand wins and shares the lead with Vachier-Lagrave at the Alekhine Memorial

The second leg of the Alekhine Memorial continues at the Russian State Museum in Saint Petersburg. The seventh round saw two decisive results, Vishwanathan Anand defeated Laurent Fressinet with the white pieces, and his challenger Boris Gelfand did the same against DIng Liren. The Israeli now shares the lead with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

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The longest game of the day was also the one that had a biggest impact on the top of the standings. Boris Gelfand needed 77 moves to get the full point against Ding Liren.

The Chinese used the King’s Indian Defense against the Israeli. A complicated battle to get the pieces in good squares followed. Gelfand fought mainly in the center and the kingside, while Ding looked for play on the queenside. The last challenger for the World Championship gained the exchange, but his strong opponent had enough compensation with his active pieces and passed c-pawn. The technical phase of the game was well handled by the veteran, who eventually obtained this important victory.

Boris Gelfand

Viswanathan Anand is having a sort of comeback in this event, as he is now half a point behind the leaders. Today, he beat Laurent Fressinet in a very exciting game. The Indian chose the Scotch to look for chances against his lower-rated opponent. The structure turned into a kind of Sicilian with opposite side castling.

The tactical middlegame led to a very interesting situation on the board. Each player had a queen, a rook and three pawns, but the pawns were exactly on opposite sides of the board. During the time trouble, the French was not able to coordinate his pieces as well as Anand did. The Indian obtained the initiative and won the pawn race. Fressinet resigned on move 49.

Viswanathan Anand

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is still a co-leader after drawing with the black pieces against Michael Adams. The Englishman played his usual 1.e4 and Maxime answered with the Sicilian. A series of rather quick exchanges followed and Adams got a passed pawn on the queenside. Vachier-Lagrave hurried to hold it back and managed to take it. Adams lined up his rooks on the seventh rank and recovered his missing pawn. Draw on 43 moves.

It is noteworthy that all the games of the seventh round passed the 40-moves barrier as the draws in the games Peter Svidler – Vladimir Kramnik and Nikita Vitiugov – Levon Aronian arrived on move 45 and 41, respectively.

There are only two rounds left and nothing is clear. Gelfand and Vachier-Lagrave only have a half point advantage over a strong chasing pack. Do not miss the rest of this exciting elite tournament at Chessdom.

Michael Adams

Standings after 7 rounds:

1 Gelfand, Boris ISR 2739
2 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime FRA 2722
3 Adams, Michael ENG 2727 4
4 Anand, Viswanathan IND 2783 4
5 Aronian, Levon ARM 2809 4
6 Fressinet, Laurent FRA 2706
7 Vitiugov, Nikita RUS 2712 3
8 Kramnik, Vladimir RUS 2801 3
9 Ding, Liren CHN 2707
10 Svidler, Peter RUS 2747 2

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