In Round 4 the joint leaders Levon Aronian and Fabiano Caruana stumbled whereas Magnus Carlsen did not miss his chance to overtake them and to grab the pole position. The battle between Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Aryan Tari - two players who did not score even a half-point in three rounds - the latter prevailed in Armageddon after the classical game was drawn.
The central game of Round 4 Carlsen – Caruana saw a popular line of Nimzo-Indian in which Black (Caruana) reached a satisfactory position although White had some pressure on c4-pawn. Somewhat unexpectedly Fabiano decided to sacrifice this pawn but did not get anything in return. Still, Black could have put a stubborn resistance but after 30… Rc6? 31.c5! Caruana was doomed.
Levon Aronian and Alireza Firouzja had a discussion in the Caro-Kann defense. After Black solved all his opening problems and demonstrated accuracy in the subsequent maneuvering game the opponents agreed to a draw on move 31. The Armageddon game was full of swings with the evaluation changing several times in the course of this fast-paced encounter. Levon obtained a great attacking position with White and could have finished off his opponent several times but after failing to find the best continuations eventually collapsed in a knight endgame.
Aryan Tari had some chances to score three points in the classical game with Jan-Krzysztof Duda but the Polish GM escaped into a drawn rook ending. For the first time in this tournament, two out of three games came down to Armageddon. After Aryan blundered a piece Jan-Krzysztof came very close to victory but being in a terrible time-scramble, he missed not only a win but also a draw.
Photo: Lennart Ootes
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