I have no problems with games being drawn; it is the natural result for a chess game. But 6 of the 7 top pairings finished with the point being split. The Vovk – Hawkins and Arkell – Hamitevici games were old-fashioned grandmaster draws of the type that used to give chess a bad name, except that neither player of the black pieces is a grandmaster. As Gawain Jones said, ‘The last two rounds might just as well have not taken place, the positions are unchanged.’
Still, there was plenty of entertainment on the top three boards. Sulskis – Gao was an intricate game with some unclear plans that simply petered out into a draw.
Gretarsson – Jones was another interesting encounter. With Black’ knight virtually out of sight on h7 it seemed that White must stand better. But Black had just enough force to force a draw.
Sumets – Burns-Mannion was another stern encounter fought to a draw.
Johannes Kvisla is rated about 370 points below Daniele Vocatura. However, it was White who made most of the running. But the end result was another draw. The young Norwegian had won three games in a row to reach this exalted position.
Panjwani suddenly on move 27 played an unsound combination. This lost a pawn and, with it, the game.