Against Wang Hao today I was really struggling after the opening. It was difficult to develop my light squared bishop, and Be7 was a clearly inaccurate. I had planned Rd8 followed by Be7 but mistakenly thought Be7 first was better. Wang, who has had a rather poor tournament so far, kept the initiative through the middle game. I had to defend rather passively until he played Nc6. By this time I think he had seen the variation occurring in the game where I finally could activate my rooks to reach a drawn ending. Maybe he felt his advantage was slipping anyhow and just wanted to finish the game.
Aronian played black against Nakamura and was better already out of the opening. With his passed c-pawn Aronian posed enough problems to take down his opponent, and he is now clear 2nd place one point behind me, as Anand failed to win a much better ending against Hou Yifan.
My current lead came from winning round 9 and 10 earlier this week against the lowest seeded Hou Yifan and Erwin l.Ami. The former played energetically in the opening sacrificing a pawn, but I managed to hang on to the extra pawn long enough to reach a promising heavy piece ending. The subsequent queen endgame with three against two passed pawns was a matter of technique. L.Ami chose a solid line in Caro Kann. I was better in the entire game but it took some inaccuracies from him after the first time control for me to exploit the extra pawn in the rook and opposite bishop endgame.
Thursday I played both football and table tennis and feel in good shape with two rounds to go.
Saturday I.m white against Nakamura. I beat him several times in 2011 while in 2012 our encounters ended in draw. I had mainly black in 2012 though.
Magnus Carlsen, Wijk aan Zee, January 25th 2013