It's back to the good old days of rounds 1 and 2, as round 6 emulated its great predecessors in seeing three decisive games out of the five. Those decisive games were important ones for the leaderboard, too, especially Wesley So's win over Veselin Topalov, whose rating is diving faster than a submarine trying to avoid detection. So is at +3, and now rather than leading four players by just half a point he has opened up a larger lead against all but one of his pursuers - Fabiano Caruana.
Topalov - So started out as an interesting game, but Topalov's odd 18th move immediately got him in serious trouble, and just nine moves later it was time to pack it in. Caruana's win over Hikaru Nakamura was a very different affair, an example of spectacular preparation by Caruana that landed on Nakamura like a ton of bricks. His subsequent play wasn't perfect, but it was good enough to reel in the full point, pushing Nakamura out of the tie for second and almost out of contention for overall victory in the Grand Chess Tour, which is nearly but not quite guaranteed to go to So.
The third decisive game on the day kicked another second-placed player a full point behind Caruana when Levon Aronian lost to Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Vachier-Lagrave has had trouble in the opening all tournament long, and here too, with White, he was worse early on. Aronian missed a good chance for a serious edge, and in the leadup to the time control (but not in serious time trouble) made a series of serious errors leading to a speedy loss.
The other games were drawn. Vladimir Kramnik got nothing on the white side of a Zukertort System against Mickey Adams, while drawing specialist Anish Giri had excellent winning chances with Black against Viswanathan Anand, but couldn't convert his advantage. (The games, with my notes, are here.)
Here's what's coming up in round 7:
- Aronian (3) - Anand (3)
- Giri (3) - Topalov (.5)
- So (4.5) - Kramnik (3.5)
- Adams (2.5) - Caruana (4)
- Nakamura (3) - Vachier-Lagrave (3)