Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is the sole leader of the Sharjah Grand Prix on 2.5/3 after beating Richard Rapport in Round 2 and surviving by the skin of his teeth against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in Round 3. Rapport has provided almost half of the decisive results so far, but things have turned sour after his first round win. Just when he’d escaped to what seemed an easy draw against Hikaru Nakamura he self-destructed and gave his opponent the only win of Round 3.
Nine players have drawn all their games so far in Sharjah, with the lack of the usual restrictions on draw offers proving tempting to the players. Sometimes that’s more than understandable, with Riazantsev and Li Chao paired against each other and both admitting to being happy to end hostilities early after their epic battles the day before. Saleh Salem was also glad to get off the mark with a 23-move draw against Evgeny Tomashevsky.
In another case the early draw didn’t tell the full story. Alexander Grischuk was surprised by a move-order trick from Levon Aronian and spent almost an hour to conclude that, unfortunately, he had no win on the spot… and had just wasted almost an hour on a move he wasn’t going to play!
So with one third of the Sharjah Grand Prix complete the standings look as follows:
In Tuesday’s Round 4 all eyes will be on Hikaru Nakamura, who has the white pieces against leader Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Games start at 15:00 local time, or 12:00 CET.
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