Yesterday I played white against Pentala Harikrishna, who qualified for the A-group by winning the B-group last year. It was typical example of a long and challenging day at work in a top level event. My opponent had played very well in the first three rounds, and we had two points each before our R4 encounter. He seems well prepared for this event and highly motivated. By no means an easy game, but as white and being by far the higher rated player it was a game I needed to win.
I surprised him in the opening playing the Ponziani (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3) and sacrificed a pawn for an early kingside attack. He had to play f6 to prevent mate and I got a passed pawn on e6. I sacrificed another pawn to try to tie him down, but it was a bit hard to see how to make progress without allowing counterplay. He did get some counterplay at the cost of his three c and d-pawns. Just before the first time control I felt I lost control and was relieved when I found 41.Qf2 maintaining an advantage. Mate threats provided enough time to coordinate the remaining pieces. He probably made some inaccuracies later on and after more than five hours of play his position fell apart. Facing decisive material losses or mate Harikrishna resigned. A hard-fought game I was very happy to win.
Anand . Aronian was a game for the history books. Aronian walked into a beautiful line in the Slav that Anand had prepared for the match against Gelfand and found himself clearly worse after 15 moves. A string of flashy moves and sacrifices by Anand decided the game quickly. Fortunately Anand and I anyhow collected the same point yesterday, catching up with early leader Karjakin. At 3 points we are a full point ahead of the field.

The traditional sponsor and management dinner was back yesterday after a break last year. We all enjoyed a good dinner and the subsequent entertaining simultaneous display. It is probably the annual simul with by far the strongest group of kibitzers present worldwide ☺,

Some of us played football in the sunny winter weather at the local school today. Great fun as always.

Despite some difficulties in the first two rounds I.m happy with my score and also with my play thus far.
The victory against van Wely in round 3 was quite clean. I did miss a promising continuation against Caruana in round 1, it fizzled out to a drawn opposite bishop endgame. In round 2 Aronian played creatively and adventurous, but I managed to save the somewhat difficult ending.
No I just need to stay focused and in good shape throughout this long tournament. It is still 9 rounds to go!
Tomorrow I.m black against co-leader V.Anand.

Magnus Carlsen, Wijk aan Zee, January 16th 2013