The stage is set for a dramatic Blitz showdown beginning at 6pm in the Savoy, as the two favorites, Indian Viswanathan Anand and American Hikaru Nakamura, are now level with 7 points each, with Russian Vladimir Kramnik only one point behind. We're expecting the tournament to be decided only in the very last round - or even later.

Anand - Kramnik was expected by many to have a high probability to end in a draw, as both sides had to avoid a loss at all costs. Kramnik again chose the Berlin Wall and Anand avoided all well-trodden paths with the quiet 4.d3. Kramnik defended very well and, with precise play, never gave Anand the chance to develop an initiative. Instead, the game quickly steered into a rook endgame were neither side had any winning chances.

Giri - Shirov started as a quiet Réti game, where the young Dutch soon got the bishop pair, but Shirov remained solid and had a couple of active knights to fight with.After the exchange of queens, Giri had a slight advantage, but Shirov defended excellently and mananged to eliminate all pawns in the center and on the queenside, so that the draw became obvious.

Aronian - Nakamura showed the great fighting spirit of the American player. He chose a solid Queen's Gambit setup that, at first, appeared to be rather passive, but offered excellent chances to play. Aronian had the initiative on the queenside, but Nakamura had everything well protected and when the tension grew, the Armenian comitted an error that cost him a pawn. Searching for counterplay, Aronian gave away a second one, but the "H-Bomb" didn't allow Aronian back into the game and, after losing a third pawn, Aronian resigned.

Before the Blitz tournament, we now have the perfect scenario for a dramatic showdown: Anand and Nakamura are ahead of the field, both with 7 out of 10, and Kramnik in lurking position only one point behind. The show will start on 6pm, so don't miss it!

Round 5 - Monday, February 15th, 3pm

White BlackRes.
Viswanathan Anand-Vladimir Kramnik1:1
Levon Aronian-Hikaru Nakamura0:2
Anish Giri-Alexei Shirov1:1

Standings:

Rapid after Round 5

RkNameELOPtsSB
1.Viswanathan Anand (IND)27847.015.00
 Hikaru Nakamura (USA)27877.015.00
3.Vladimir Kramnik (RUS)28016.013.50
4.Levon Aronian (ARM)27924.07.50
5.Alexei Shirov (LAT)26843.08.00
6.Anish Giri (NED)27983.07.00

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Photos:


Games:

Download all games from round 5 (PGN)