Nine players were tied for lead at the end of eight rounds with 6.0/8. In the eighth round, the top board witnessed a crucial encounter between Cuban GM Lazaro Batista (2684) and America GM Gata Kamsky (2673) which ended in a draw.
IM Ashwin Jayaram of India meanwhile won his round eight encounter to move to 5.5/8 to score his GM norm. He has all the required norms and just needs to cross 2500 elo rating to become a Grand Master.
See the standings here.