The classical games failed to separate the four grandmasters in action at the 2019 Grand Chess Tour in London.
It was all square between world champion Magnus Carlsen against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave as well as between Ding Liren and Levon Aronian for the second successive match-up in the classical games.
The finalists of the Grand Chess Tour will now determined in rapid and blitz. The semi-finals would comprise of two rapid and four blitz games, where a win in rapid is worth four points while a victory in blitz is equal to two points.
The day promises to be an exciting day as faster time controls bring out the fireworks on the chessboard.
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs Magnus Carlsen: ½ – ½
Carlsen wanted to surprise his opponent in the opening again, opting for a rare line in the Open Spanish that he played in Zagreb GCT against Caruana earlier this year.
Vachier-Lagrave decided to take a cautious route, probably keeping in mind the loss Aronian suffered against Mamedyarov at the 2018 Olympiad in the same line. The Frenchman had a better pawn structure but this advantage was offset by his misplaced minor piece.
Although both opponents felt that the resources to continue the battle were petering out, they played it out until only the lone kings were left on the board.
Ding Liren vs Levon Aronian: ½ – ½
Liren escaped unscathed after finding himself in a worse position with the white pieces. An uncommon line in the Nimzo Indian Defense lead to a symmetrical position which the Chinese star thought would be better for him.
However, he was unable to find a way to deal with the Bg4-pin and started playing “bad and unnatural” moves. Liren’s Armenian opponent had a comfortable edge but still feeling unwell decided to end the day early with a repetition.