The fact that after four double rounds the tail-ender may beat the leader in such an even leveled field is no big surprise, but it required a real meltdown from me to lose 0-2 against Ivanchuk the way I did yesterday. Momentarily missing his king placement I blundered out of the opening and instead of suffering a pawn down and with a miserable position I gave my queen for two knights. As opposed to what Ivanchuk let happen in his game against Aronian the round before, he did not allow me any counterplay. In the rapid game I mixed up the move order and Ivanchuk proceeded to play a good game until I allowed a mate-in-one in a lost position. Aronian won 2-0 against Gashimov to take a clear 1,5 point lead over Anand in second.
The downturn could well have continued for me in the first game today. The French defence worked well against Sergey Karjakin until I blundered positionally with a5. He grabbed a pawn leaving his knight on h8 and later correctly sacrificed his other knight on d5 when I tried to create counterplay by marching my king to b4. I believe he missed out on a beautiful winning combination but instead moves were repeated and a draw was agreed. The rapid game felt like a turn of the tide when I got a promising position out of the Ruy Lopez. As could have been expected in this kind of position the strength of the white squared bishop over his knight brought out too many concessions from his side and my a-pawn decided the game. After 6 rounds and 12 games I.m in 2nd place one point behind Aronian as he blundered and lost his rapid game against Grichuk, who now shares 3rd place with Anand.
I.m leading the rapid section with 4.5/6 and play Kramnik tomorrow.
Magnus Carlsen, Nice, March 18th 2011