GM Vasif Durarbayli in clear first, IM Ryo Chen on Norm Alert

We are heading into the last day, and through 7 grueling rounds, GM Vasif Durarbayli is a full point ahead of the field (6.5/7) with one round to go after defeating defending champion GM Illya Nyzhnyk. Vasif faced a Najdorf that transposed into a Scheveningen in the opening and picks up a pawn in the early middlegame. Illya was stuggling to find compensation the remainder of the game, and GM Durarbayli to liquidate into a winning endgame.

Norm seeker IM Ryo Chen faced GM Viktor Matviishen with the black pieces in a Kings Indian pressing for a win. There were a couple opportunities in the middle game where his opponent may have been able to take advantage of, but it plays out to a relatively equal double rook and single knight endgame. Matviishen, maintaining a pawn on e7 and tying down all of Chen’s pieces to prevent it from promoting, save one. Chen’s lonely steed breaks away and aims toward the queenside; a misstep allows him to prance away with a pawn. Even with the rooks coming off, Ryo out maneuvers Viktor with precision, galloping away to a victory and into norm contention. Congrats Ryo!

Here is a link to the current standings

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