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Before the Saturday Night Party!
r5With today's round we have already more than half of the tournament behind us. Tomorrow there's a rest day fortunately, so players will finally have a chance to break the vicious cycle eat-prepare-sleep-play etc. Luckily also the press officers! But ok now let's have a look at today's round which was just as exciting as the ones before.

In perhaps the toughest battle today two superpowers, USA and China clashed against each other. Nakamura won a pretty game against Li Chao, which he also commentated afterwards for the fans. Except a blackout against Aronian Hikaru has been doing really well in this championship, although this time his efforts haven't been rewarded with a match win. Ding Liren was again the hero of his team, beating Kamsky in a magnificent game on second board. The young Chinese star who's for sure to get his steady place at the very top of chess soon thus continued with his fine form in this tournament. On the third board Onischuk and Yue Wang played a well-played game which resulted in a drawn rook endgame. Bu Xiangzhi hasn't got anything from the opening against Ray Robson but when Robson embarked on a faulty plan of exchanging his dark square bishop to play d5, Bu played really well to take the advantage and punished further mistakes of Robson very smoothly. Thus China scored an important win and moved to the shared third place before the rest day.

IMG 9784
 Bu Xiangzhi
IMG 9747
Ivanchuk - Ipatov

The most exciting and also the longest match of the day was Armenia-Azerbaijan, which is kind of a derby match in chess for various reasons. Armenia was the favourite before the round of course, especially since Radjabov and Mamedyarov is not playing in this championship. But one should never underestimate the will of talented young players full of energy. Durarbayli-Sargissian was a Ruy Lopez in which the strong piece attack of white on kingside forced black to give up an exchange, which the Azeri player carried successfully to the endgame after which Gabriel Sargissian had to resign. Armenia's sole win in the match came from the second board. Akopian got a pressure on the open files in both queenside and kingside after a Kan Sicilian, which resulted in pawn win. Nidjat Mamedov tried the thematic Rxc3 exchange sacrifice to get the pawn back at the expense of the exchange but the beautiful white bishop on d5 and rooks proved to be too much and Akopian won easily. As Safarli-Movsesian game was drawn, everything depended on the first board, Levon Aronian-Rauf Mamedov game. And it has lasted for ages! Aronian got nothing from the opening but he was forced to play for a win against Mamedov for a match win. No one could say he didn't try, he has tried it for 127 moves! The best he could get was a rook+bishop vs. rook endgame which Mamedov had to defend with a few minutes time in his clock, mostly depending on the increment. For many famous players it has proved to be an extremely difficult task but Mamedov managed to defend for 50 moves. Not exactly though, as to the disappointment of Levon when he finally had the mating position on the board Mamedov anounced the draw. If the rule has been 53 moves at least, we would be talking about Levon's win. Congratulations to both players for their efforts!

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 Nakamura - Li

The leader Ukraine had to play against the host country today. Turkey fought really well on all boards and came very close to disappoint the leader by holding them to a match draw but in a tough opposite color bishop endgame Esen finally lost his way against Kryvorouchko and this sole win brought the win to Ukraine once again! Ukraine has really tough matches coming up but their advantage is so big that they can afford a loss and perhaps a match draw too or even more. So now they have a very good chance to be the champion, although it's a little bit early to speak of that still.

IMG 9764
 Aronian - Mamedov

Kramnik rested today but it didn't help much to Germans anyway as they lost terribly. The only draw for Germany was Nepomniatchi-Fridman game and in the rest of the games German players played very badly and Russians didn't really have to do anything special to win the games except to wait for his opponent self-collapse. Russia is now in second place, three points behind Ukraine.

IMG 9768
 Karjakin - Khenkin

Netherlands won very convincingly against Egypt with 3-1 score. Even in one of the two draws it was L'Ami pressing against L'Abib in a pawn up rook endgame, but L'Abib saved the game easily as it was quite elementary. Shoker got the other draw against Tiviakov who played on second board since Van Wely had a day off today. Giri's and Sokolov's wins decided the score for Netherlands. Despite losing in the first two rounds, winning the next three now Netherlands is one point behind Russia at the third place! This is a sign that still everything can change in this tournament. But before all the excitement let's all enjoy a free Sunday!

We'll all be lazing on a sunny Sunday afternoon, see you on Monday!
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