It's a two-man race at Wijk aan Zee - or at least that's how it seems. In fact, while Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian have been taking turns leading (both alone and with each other), Teimour Radjabov is and has been only half a point behind most of the way.
Today was Carlsen's day. He didn't have much with White against Boris Gelfand, who played very well for the first 30 moves. As often happens against Carlsen's opponents, however, Gelfand burned a little too much time trying to keep everything under control, and once time trouble started looming he really fell apart. Carlsen does deserve some credit, obviously, but Gelfand is playing pretty poorly in this tournament.
Levon Aronian had been alone in first, and remains tied there after a pretty easy draw with Black in a Catalan against Vassily Ivanchuk. Not a bad result! As for Radjabov, he also drew comfortably and quickly with the black pieces; in his case against Hikaru Nakamura in a Sveshnikov Sicilian.
The other four games may have been less significant to the race for first - though it's really a bit too early to tell, with six rounds left - but they were all hard-fought. The longest game was the 99-move marathon between Sergey Karjakin and Veselin Topalov, which was not just a battle between players but a battle of streaks as well. Karjakin had only decisive results (two losses, then two wins, then two more losses) while Topalov, uncharacteristically, came in having drawn all six games. For a good chunk of the game it looked like both streaks would come to an end, but from around move 30 on Topalov went from winning to better to equal to worse to lost. Thus Karjakin not only kept his streak alive but kept the 2-2-2 pattern alive as well. (I'm sure he'd like it to continue in round 8 but change afterwards.)
Loek van Wely also came into the round having drawn all his games, but his streak continued. Like Topalov, he had very good winning chances - in his case, against Anish Giri - but a late lapse enabled his young countryman to find an ingenious escape.
Gata Kamsky won a very nice game on the white side of a Berlin against David Navara, while Vugar Gashimov and Fabiano Caruana drew in a different line of the Ruy.
Standings After Round 7 (of 13):
1-2. Carlsen, Aronian 5
3. Radjabov 4.5
4-7. Caruana, Giri, Ivanchuk, Nakamura 4
8. van Wely 3.5
9-11. Topalov, Karjakin, Kamsky 3
12. Gelfand 2.5
13. Gashimov 2
14. Navara 1.5
Round 8 Pairings:
- Radjabov - Carlsen
- Topalov - Aronian
- Caruana - Ivanchuk
- Karjakin - Nakamura
- Giri - Gashimov
- Gelfand - Kamsky
- Navara - van Wely
In the B-group, Pentala Harikrishna drew, but is still a point ahead of Alexander Motylev. (They have 5.5 and 4.5 points, respectively.) Timman lost again and dropped to a -1 score.
In Group C, Maxim Turov drew with Hans Tikkanen, his closest pursuer, and thus they maintain their relative positions. Turov leads with 6 points, Tikkanen is in clear second with 5.5. Meanwhile, Matthew Sadler drew yet again - that's six in a row! - and is in a tie for 4th-6th on 4 points.
I've analyzed several group A games, which you can find here.