Magnus Carlsen joked early on in the tournament that “it’s a shame to waste a White on Loek”, but his game with the white pieces against Van Wely came just when he needed it. He bounced straight back after the loss to Rapport and, with all other games drawn, moved back to within half a point of leader Wesley So. The draw included near misses for Ian Nepomniachtchi and Wei Yi and a wild encounter between Dmitry Andreikin and Pavel Eljanov. In the Challengers co-leader Gawain Jones lost to Jeffery Xiong, allowing Ilia Smirin to join Markus Ragger in the lead.
Tuesday was initially billed as the day Magnus Carlsen could lose his no. 1 spot on the live rating list to Fabiano Caruana. It later turned out that results going against him would “merely” have reduced his lead to less than a single rating point, but such calculations were swept aside in a game where Loek van Wely’s aggressive opening choice soon left him fighting only to draw.
The key games at the top in Round 10 will be Harikrishna-Carlsen, Eljanov-Wei Yi and So-Wojtaszek, while Aronian-Rapport looks like one of the most attractive encounters in terms of style.
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