There was only one decisive game in round 7, but it was a very good one. After losing with Black in a Delayed Poisoned Pawn in round 6, Hikaru Nakamura decided to try things from the white side against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Like Fabiano Caruana the day before, he too was successful, winning a spectacular (though slightly imperfect) game.
The other four games were drawn, three of them in the Queen's Gambit Declined with 5.Bf4. Two of them (So-Kramnik and Aronian-Anand) were short draws, of interest only to those concerned with making short, comfortable draws with Black. In the third game, Anish Giri managed to get a position where he could bother Veselin Topalov forever, and given Topalov's extremely bad form in the tournament the situation seemed exceptionally promising. Unfortunately for Giri, when Topalov did give him chances he didn't do anything with them, and eventually Giri stopped trying after 67 moves. That stopped the bleeding for Topalov, while giving Giri his seventh consecutive draw in the tournament.
The fourth draw was an English Opening between Mickey Adams and Fabiano Caruana, a correct draw where Adams enjoyed a slight pull throughout. Caruana found an elegant way to eliminate his problems by sacrificing a pawn to reach a drawn opposite-colored bishop ending.
(Today's games are here, with my annotations.)
Caruana thus remains in second place, half a point behind So, and they play tomorrow with Caruana getting the white pieces. Nakamura is a further half a point behind, and will need everything to go right for him and wrong for So in the next two rounds if he is to have a chance of overtaking him in the overall standings for the Grand Chess Tour. Here are tomorrow's pairings:
- Nakamura (4) - Aronian (3.5)
- Vachier-Lagrave (3) - Adams (3)
- Caruana (4.5) - So (5)
- Kramnik (4) - Giri (3.5)
- Topalov (1) - Anand (3.5)