Normally the leading pack in chess events gets smaller after each round, but round 8 of the Gibraltar Masters saw it increase by one. All 4 of the overnight leaders drew with each other, and so were joined by Veselin Topalov, who beat Emil Sutovsky to reach 6.5. There were also quite a lot of other drawn games today. so the next group down also seemed to get bigger. The all England pairing of Adams and Short was short (and drawn), as was the Cheparinov Stefanova pairing, but the all Chinese pairing of Ju and Hou ended in a win for Ju. Fabiano Caruna also played himself back into contention with a win over GN Gopal, whole IM Bobby Cheng kept his GM norm chances afloat with a win over WGM Petra Papp. A win over GM Istratescu in round 9 will probably do it, or a draw followed by a round 10 win (depending on his opponent).
Down at the far end of the field, I'm stumbling towards the finish line with a mixtures of draws and losses. Yesterdays game was one of those late tournament efforts where I saw very little and lost miserably, while today I chose the wrong plan and had to really dig in to save half a point. While I'm still looking for 3/3.5 points (which was my target score), I may do it an a fairly ugly manner.