Sunday 29 January 2017

2017 Gibraltar Masters - Day 5

At the halfway point off the 2017 Gibraltar Masters, 6 players share the lead on 4.5. The top board saw a quick draw by repetition between Emil Sutovsky and Wenjun Ju, but most of the other leading games were more dynamic. (NB There is a no draw offers before move 30 rule in operation, but unavoidable repetitions are exempt from this).
Michael Adams is also in the leading group, winning yet another marathon game, this time against Yifan Hou. Hikaru Nakamura made short work of Eduardo Iturrizaga, while Lagrade and Anton Guijarro are also on 4.5
After yesterdays slashing win Nigel Short was unable to overcome former Doeberl Cup winner Varuzhan Akobian, with the game ending in a draw. David Howell and Maxime Vachier Lagrave also drew, leaving them on 4 points. Further down IM Bobby Cheng won the all Australian clash against FM Zachary Loh, moving him back up the standings.
Given the compressed leader board, picking a tournament winner at this point is very difficult. Michael Adams is one player who seems to be in good form, as is Hikaru Nakamura, but one slip is all it takes to drop out of contention. It may also depend who gets to play players like Caruana and Vachier-Lagrave in the run home.

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