At the midway point, Hikarua Nakamura is king, leading with an astounding 5.5/7 and 2942 performance, and once again in sole lead after Anand drew quickly with Carlsen. That said, his toughest trial is still ahead as he has yet to face Anand, Carlsen, and Kramnik no less.
His game against Smeets was easily the most exciting of the round through and through. Both repeated the opening from Giri-Smeets which had led to mind-boggling complications, and it was clear Nakamura had come better prepared as he gained not only an edge but a huge advantage on the clock, to the point where he was up 40 minutes by move 24. This soon began to rebalance as he was forced to find his own moves with everyone trying to guess how it would unfold. Remarkably, Smeets managed to survive into the endgame, but at the cost of a pawn and an arduous defensive task. Nakamura's technique was once more up-to-task and he brought home the bacon
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