THREE WAY TIE AT THE TOP, GRISCHUK WINS ON TIEBREAK
I would like to start the Sharjah Grand Prix - Round 9 report with the words of my favourite computer game character Arthas (a.k.a. the Lich King):
Because that line perfectly describes my feeling after the end of the first leg of the Chess Grand Prix 2017... First leg in which 3 out of every 4 games ended in a draw (Source: Chess Base article), and out of those draws, the majority was rather boring, short and lifeless.
After all, when even one of tournament co-winners complains of lack of content in his games, this speaks for itself about the quality of the games.
Fortunately, another tournament co-winner saved the tournament of being a total disaster with his agressive and entertaining play. And since Caissa is quite merciful, after suffering a painful loss in penultimate round, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was rewarded with a brilliant win in the last round.
The only drawback of the win is that it wasn't the best present for Hou Yifan's 23rd birthday. But I think that she won't be too disappointed with her performance, since scoring 4/9 in this stellar field is definitely a good result for her. A result that proves she belongs in this company, and that with sufficient experience she may hope for more in the future.
Oh, and if it matters to anyone, it was Alexander Grischuk in the end who had the best tiebreak and who won the tournament as a whole in the end.
All in all, I have followed more exciting events. I think this tournament is a perfect reminder why Sofia rules have been introduced in the first place.