Although the Candidates tournament 2018 hasn't started very well for Levon Aronian, after 5 rounds his fans still retained some hopes of him performing well. Alas, after the next two rounds, not even his staunch supporters believe in his chances of winning the tournament.
Caruana and Mamedyarov have, on the other hand, retained their composure and consistency and broken away from the rest of the participants. Caruana is currently leading with 5/7 and Mamedyarov is just half a point behind.
Round report and game analysis follow.
Caruana, Fabiano - Grischuk,Alexander
For the second time in the tournament, Grischuk opened the game with a Benoni. In contrast to his game with Aronian in the previous round, this time it worked much more efficiently. He displayed some wonderful Benoni ideas (such as Bb5, b5, Rb4, Nh5). True, Caruana also played well and even gained some slight advantage. However, in the end, in a position where he was a pawn up, he opted for safety first and managed to
Ding, Liren - Karjakin, Sergey
The only non-game of the round. A 18-move draw. Not much to comment on here.
Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar - Kramnik, Vladimir
For the second time in a row, Kramnik defended with the Semi-Tarrasch with Nxd5. Once again he reached slightly better endgame position and even refused the repetition in the process. Alas, just like many times before, in his ambition he overstepped the mark. Mamedyarov didn't need to be asked twice
So,Wesley - Aronian, Levon
The first very good game in the tournament by Wesley So. Unfortunately for Armenian fans, it had to happen at Aronian's expense. A brilliant preparation followed by better handling of a complicated middlegame position and a fine technique in the end.
Kramnik, Vladimir - Ding, Liren
After essaying 1 e4 in two of his previous White games, Kramnik switched to 1 c4 in this game. The players played some sort of Anti-King Indian with an early b3 by White. Ding played well, stroke the White center and won a queen for a knight and a rook in the process. Alas, one unfortunate, hasty exchange on d4 gave up Black's whole advantage and after some adventures, the game ended in a draw.
Grischuk, Alexander - Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar
The players managed to beat Ding's and Karjakin's record from the previous round. The game was drawn after only 16 moves.
Karjakin, Sergey - So, Wesley
After small ray of hope and his win in the previous round, in round 7 So continued his nightmare. In a slightly unpleasant, but objectively equal endgame, he committed a critical blunder (Ke8?) and then inexplicably decided to give up his knight on move 37. Three moves later, he was forced to throw in the towel.
Aronian, Levon - Caruana, Fabiano
Once again, Aronian failed to cope with his nerves. Already in the opening, he went for an objectively incorrect, but practically dangerous attack. Caruana defended very well, but gave Aronian a couple of chances to force the draw, which the latter couldn't find (or refused to play). In the end, he overstepped the mark and was forced to resign.