Every round there are a great number of interesting ideas played. But, it seems to me there are also a large number of errors. This has probably been caused by the various waves of ill-health that have swept through the congress participants.
As all games on the top four boards were drawn, it means there was basically no change in the leaders of the tournament this round. This does not at all imply that the games were dull and boring. Some were very long indeed.
Gawain Jones managed to win a pawn after his temporary exchange sacrifice. But the bishop pair provided adequate compensation for Sarunas Sulskis. Gawain had a little joke at the end under-promoting to a bishop.
There was a very interesting tactical skirmish at move 15 in the game Daniel Leal v Rui Gao. Black later got his rook in a pickle and had to spend several moves extricating it. Then Gao played a most imaginative piece sacrifice for 3 pawns. I can’t help thinking White could have avoided this and achieved more from the weak black pawn on a3. Eventually they reached the arbiter’s nightmare of rook and bishop v rook, but Gao defended it successfully.
Jonathan Hawkins won a pawn with a clever tactic against Andrey Sumets. Being a materialist I thought his best winning chance was 32 Qf4 Kg7 33 Qf6+. After Black regained his pawn, White’s kingside attack was inadequate.
We wondered whether Raja Pangwani overlooked Daniele Vocaturo’s 24 N xe6, concentrating too much on Nxf5 which didn’t work. Then there was 26 Nxg7, winning another pawn. But Black got counterplay with rampaging rooks. 33 Rxd4 though was a blunder and White was lucky to survive. Chris Ward wondered whether 40…Rxg2 gave better winning chances. Once more it was R+B v R, this time drawn on move 102.
Meanwhile Simon Williams had a go at winning R + N v R, but IM Firman Syah Farid INA was up to the drawing task.
The amateur Scot IM, Stephen Burns-Mannion pulled off a big upset with the black pieces against the Estonian GM Kaido Kulaots. A few inaccuracies by White and the black pieces were soon to be found swarming all over the position.