After yesterday's drama we witnessed a much more quiet round today. Five draws didn't change anything in the top of the standings. Inarkiev avoided timetrouble and beat Navara in a good game. Mamedyarov defeated Karjakin, who blundered a pawn in the early middlegame.
A reasonably quick draw, the first of the round, was reached in Wang Yue-Adams. They played a theoretical line of a Queen's/Nimzo Indian hybrid in which Black gives a pawn for structural compensation. 15...0-0-0 was a strong novelty by Adams, and it looks like after today the theoretical status of this line is "fine for Black". "He played very well," Wang Yue said, "Rh8-f8-f5 was a good idea and my only chance was a draw today." Adams had also thought about doubling the rooks via f7/f6 but then "White defends his f-pawn with e3-e4 and Ra1-d1-d3. Black is only playing for a draw there." Wang Yue added that it gives White the possibility of e4-e5. In the game he realised that despite his plus pawn he was slightly worse, and by throwing down the superfluous ballast and activating his king with 27.f4! he secured the draw.
The third Azeri derby of the tournament, Gashimov-Radjabov, ended in a draw as well. Gashimov avoided Radjabov's Jänisch with 3.Bc4 and reached a slightly better ending. Radjabov had his doubts about his (new) idea 8...h6 and 9...Nh7 but combined with 12...hxg5! it wasn't so bad for Black. (He also explained that it's because of White's knight on c3 that the move ...f5 can't be played in this position.) Gashimov thought that instead of 15.Bd5, 15.g4!? might have been better; he was planning to go for it if Black had played 15...Nb4 16.Bb3 Nc6. In the end Shipov preferred Black's position because of the two bishops, but they couldn't play an important role anymore because White speeded up the draw by means of repeating the moves.
Svidler-Grischuk, the third draw of the day, was quite an exciting battle between the two Russians. It started with the rare but interesting Yandemirov Variation of the Ruy Lopez. "Another day, another opening surprise," Svidler started the press conference. He had played the more critical 7.Bxc6+ bxc6 8.d4 already before (against Yandemirov himself, in 2003) and expected his opponent to have something up his sleeve. So he went for a line that reaches an ending soon - "I'm not claiming any advantage there, I just thought it to be interesting to play." After 8.d3 Grischuk thought for a long time about 8…Nge7, until he discovered 9.hxg4! hxg4 10.Ng5 Qh6 11.f4! and instead of 18...d4 there was also 18...Ng6 but then "White plays 19.Bxc6 bxc6 20.Raf1 dxe4 21.dxe4 Rd3 22.Nc4" – Grischuk. Svidler's move 20.Rh5 was the most forcing and indeed seems to lead to a draw almost by force, as the game continuation showed. Instead, Shipov likes 20.Raf1 after which he prefers White. A last chance to continue the game was 34...f6!? when Svidler had planned 35.Nc4 Rd4 36.Nd2.
From an Anti-Marshall, a typical Archangelsk Ruy Lopez position was reached in Inarkiev-Navara. Inarkiev emerged as the winner, this time after his opponent had gotten into timetrouble instead of him. At the press conference both players showed their game with the demoboard. A strong move was 18.Nc3! and there both players didn't like the move 18...dxe4 - Inarkiev suggested 18...Qd6!? and Navara preferred 18...Bb7 himself. "24.Ra1 was a risky move because of Black's counterplay on the kingside," Inarkiev said, giving the line 24...Ra8!? 25.Ra3 (to play 26.Nc3) 25…Ra6. Another option for Black was 25...Nh5!? 26.Nc3 Nf4. In the game Inarkiev reacted very precisely to Black's attacking moves (32.Rd1!, 34.Qd2!) and this way he could stop his opponent's initiative. Navara had spent a lot of time and around move 33 he was down to one minute. Otherwise he might have found the move 34...Nf4, as suggested by Shipov, which prolongs the fight. In the game there was no salvation, as was shown by Inarkiev's strong finish.
Soon after that interesting show, the two young C's Carlsen and Cheparinov entered the press room; they had drawn a not too exciting game. But there was one very important moment where both players missed something big: 22…Ne6 was a blunder because White has 23.Nxb7! Qxb7 24.Qc4, winning back the piece with a very big advantage – a winning advantage according to Shipov. Instead, Magnus reacted very politely to Cheparinov's courtesy and only got a very small edge but it was "hardly enough to win", in Carlsen's own words.
Kamsky-Bacrot was drawn, but also a "good fighting game", according to Bacrot (and who wouldn't agree). Both players preferred White's position after the opening - especially after 20.Qg4. "My knights looked very strong there," Kamsky said. The position got very complicated and both players had to spend a lot of time. Shipov like the way Bacrot started a counter attack with 28...c5! and 29...f5! which cleared up the centre and freed his bishops. Afterwards, 37...f4! might have given some winning chances. In the end, as soon as Kamsky felt he wasn't better anymore, he "started playing for a draw."
The longest game of the round was Mamedyarov-Karjakin, but for the Baku fans it was worth the waiting. Mamedyarov scored a well-deserved victory after he had been much better (and a pawn up) for the biggest part of the game. The main reason for this was 20...Ng4?, a blunder in an already difficult position. "10...d6 is maybe not the best move, 10...Na6 followed by ...Nc5 is better," Mamedyarov said. "Yes, but some strong players have played 10...d6, like Kramnik and Aronian," was Karjakin's motivation to go for the slightly more passive move. The Ukrainian was surprised that he got into a worse position: "12.Qb4 is supposed to be the more dangerous move." So perhaps Mamedyarov's new idea 13.b4 and 14.Qb3 was just very strong. There Black should probably have played the more natural 14...Qc7 and 15...Rac8 (Shipov). Mamedyarov continued strongly (17.Qa4!, 18.Nd4!, 21.Nb5!) but wasn't satisfied about how he played the queen endgame. And indeed, Karjakin heroically defended himself and even had some potential chances for salvation, but Mamedyarov still achieved his goal. Afterwards Sergey Shipov wrote about Karjakin: "Sergey is like a fish out of the water. I cannot remember any cases in the past several years where he played so unconfident. This is an effect of an excessive number of tournaments and as a result, lack of strength."