In Poikovsky, the players were up to their usual miserable tricks: four draws in five games, three of them very short. (23, 23 and 26 moves.) Only Bacrot decided to play a real game, and he was rewarded, grinding out a tough win against Caruana in 78 moves. After five rounds there have been five decisive games, and Bacrot, Karjakin and Efimenko lead with +1 scores. Twenty draws four rounds remain. Hopefully none of these guys gets invited back next year.
Yesterday, I had expressed hope that the Governor's Cup in Saratov, Russia would prove more exciting. How could it not with players like Morozevich, Shirov and Ponomariov? Sure, Leko's playing, but he has been a pretty feisty player so far this year. So what happened in round 1? Six games, six draws. It's not as bad as it sounds, though. One game was a little short (30 moves), one a little long (57), and most went to around the time control on move 40. So there was an effort, just no wins.
In Swiss events it tends to be different, and in Oslo the increasingly unretired Matthew Sadler continues to shine. He won in round 8 with Black against Elsness, the only player within half a point of him going into the round. Ironically, the four players in the next score group...you guessed it - drew - and now Sadler leads the next group (of 9 players!) by a whopping 1.5 points with one round to go. His TPR so far has been 2819, which bodes pretty well for his continued return.