The Crown Group of Unive is more of the same, and that's a good thing - except for Tiviakov. He lost once again, this time to tournament leader Vachier-Lagrave, while Shirov won spectacularly against Giri to jump back into second. After five (of six) rounds, the standings are: Vachier-Lagrave 4, Shirov 3, Giri 2.5, Tiviakov .5.
At Cap D'Agde the semi-finals are set. Le Quang Liem won a nutty match against Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son. Perhaps there was a relay problem, but it looked like LQL lost the first game in a winning position. Even if it was on time that's surprising, because they were playing with a 10 second increment and it wasn't a particularly complicated position. He won game two with Black, and then it was on to blitz. Games three and four were drawn, and then game 5 was really ridiculous. LQL won a pawn, and the only question seemed to be whether he'd win or NNTS would draw. Instead, LQL walked into an elementary tactic, a knight fork that cost him the exchange. NNTS won a pawn as well, and so it was rook and two pawns against bishop and two pawns. White (NNTS) had no weak pawns and LQL had no passers. In short, White "can't" lose and should probably win. Right? No, of course not. NNTS gave up a pawn, refused to force a draw, and went on to lose the ending. It's not surprising that he was unable to recover from that disaster, and was crushed in the last game.
The other semi-final was more straightforward. Game 1 between Ivanchuk and Polgar got tactical quickly, and Ivanchuk did a much better job of working things out. Polgar was forced to give up her queen for insufficient material compensation, and although it took a while to force her resignation the result was never really in doubt. In game 2 Polgar played the Reti, which doesn't really seem her style, and soon she was in trouble. By move 19 she was down a pawn for nothing, and Ivanchuk had no trouble winning this game either.
The semi-finals look like this: Nakamura takes on Le Quang Liem in the first match tomorrow, and then Bu Xiangzhi will take on Ivanchuk. Interestingly, if the favorites win we'll have a rematch of the 2008 event, when Nakamura beat Ivanchuk in the final.
An interesting event on US soil that I'll mention but probably not cover any further is the Spice Cup in Lubbock, Texas. The A-Group is very strong, and should be an excellent learning experience for Eugene Perelshteyn and especially Ray Robson, while the B-Group will give some talented young Americans the chance to make GM norms (and in one case a GM or IM norm).
Finally, another US chess event, the 2010 season of the US Chess League, is now at a critical stage: the playoffs start this next week. You can find the brackets here. It isn't the Bundesliga, but a sign of its strength is that the St. Louis team, which includes three GMs - one of whom is Hikaru Nakamura - didn't even qualify for the post-season. (Granted, Nakamura was often away playing elsewhere, but still!)