The top-board clash between top-seed GM Boris Grachev and second-seed GM Ivan Popov lived up to its hype, despite the game resulting in only a draw. Typically for the Botvinnik Variation of the Semi-Slav Defence, the game took an extremely sharp course with White offering a handful of material for an attack on the black king. However, Popov, playing black, was able to put up the best possible defence which forced Grachev to opt for a perpetual check. The game ended in a draw on move 29. (You can check the complete game here)
Meanwhile, GMs Yuri Solodovnichenko, Lalith Babu and Czebe Atilla inched closer to the tournament leader GM Popov with victories over IMs Vignesh NR, Sayantan Das and Ravi Teja respectively. Popov is currently leading the tournament in a dominating fashion with 7.5 points while Solodovnichenko, Lalith Babu and Czebe have scored 6.5 points each.
The 9th and penultimate round of the tournament promises to be an immensely exciting one, with as many as five GM vs GM battles to be witnessed today.