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Two and a Half Men
r3It was a day of 2,5 points as all the winners on five boards won with the same score. Charlie Sheen would rather like to be in Astana this March for Women's World Team Championship for obvious reasons but we can safely say that today teams have paid a homage to the TV serie "Two and A Half Men" he was acting at.

The most important ones of all those matches with same score were Russia-China and Armenia-USA battles. The game of the day was of course Aronian-Nakamura from the latter match. Nakamura had beaten Kramnik in a very impressive fashion yesterday and fans were curious if he can repeat the same against world #2 Levon Aronian. As it happened things didn't go well this time. In the Lasker Variation of Queen's Gambit, Aronian showed his deep opening preparation, playing incredibly fast until 20th move. At that point he had 50(!) minutes more than his opponent and it was clear that Nakamura was surprised. Aronian's play after the opening preparation wasn't the most precise perhaps but finally when Nakamura gave his d-pawn with 26...d4? Aronian got excellent winning chances and carried the game to a close to winning -if not winning- rook endgame with a pawn more. Nakamura defended rather poorly and made things easier for the Armenian star but the game was probably lost anyway. Congratulations to Levon Aronian who showed once again how a leader should be! Other boards made draws and thus with the sole win on the first board Armenia marched forward in the race for the first place, just behind Ukraine. If they can beat Ukraine too, the kings of team matches can get yet another title.

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Ian Nepomniachtchi

Russia-China match was a very close battle and could have ended in a draw if Nepomniatchi couldn't create another miracle. Just like he saved a lost position against Armenia before, today he won a position which didn't seem like to be very promising to say the least, after Yu Yangyi went wrong under time pressure. On the other boards, Kramnik tried to press Li Chao but to no avail as Li defended well; Yue Wang-Karjakin was a normal draw and on the third board Grischuk acquired a better position but the great resource 42...Nd4! found by Bu Xiangzhi decided the result immediately and Grischuk had to be content with draw.

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Alexander Moiseenko

The only team left with perfect score is Ukraine and they managed to do that today when Moiseenko found all the good moves after an interesting piece sacrifice of Azeri grandmaster Durarbayli. Safarli-Korobov was a clean draw and the theoretical battle in the Poisoned Pawn Variation of Najdorf Defense between Guseinov and Areshchenko ended in a draw as usually it happens in such cases despite a 50 minute think by the Azeri player. Ivanchuk-Mamedov was an interesting fight in King's Indian Defense and just as it seemed when Ivanchuk is finally winning thanks to his domination on the queenside and material advantage, the Azeri player found a tactical resource to save the game. Another example for the sharp nature of KID, both sides should be tactically alert throughout the game.

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Vassily Ivanchuk

The luckless Dutch team finally broke the curse that befell them today and won against Germany. The first victory of Netherlands meant for Germany the bitter first loss. Anish Giri played an excellent game against Khenkin and won convincingly and the rest of boards except Naiditsch-L'Ami saw solid draws. Naiditsch-L'Ami ended up in an unclear rook+knight Berlin endgame, which seemed to be better for black at one point but that evaluation changed throughout the course game, finally a draw was probably a fair result.

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Ipatov - Solak

The hosts also got their first points today against Egypt. Bassem Amin played a good endgame against Emre Can on fourth board and Abdel Razik held Solak to a draw but wins by Ipatov and Esen brought hosts the win. Finally the hosts decided not to be too hospitable!

Tomorrow we have China-Armenia, Azerbaijan-Russia, Germany-Ukraine, Egypt-USA and Turkey-Netherlands matches. See you all in the live broadcast!
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