The recent candidates matches was certainly all the poorer without Magnus Carlsen - but the young Norwegian is back to what he does best of all by winning games, and at the midway point of the Kings Tournament, he not only leads the field but has also reclaimed the top spot on the live rating list.
Carlsen, who has been in cruise control throughout the tournament outplayed local hero Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu in round five to move to a +2 unbeaten score of 3.5/5 to establish a half point lead from his nearest rival. And the almost 2900 performance so far from Carlsen has yet again seen him replace world champion Vishy Anand at the top of the unofficiallive rating list.
Not far behind Carlsen though is Sergey Karjakin, who in round 5 hit Vassily Ivanchuk with a true bolt out of the blue with his spectacular sacrifice of 16...Bxh3!! - a game expertly annotated below by GM Alex Yermolinsky in his easy choice for Game of the Day for the round. And not to be ruled out in sole third place is Hikaru Nakamura, who again has added more points to his live ratings standings.
Carlsen, Karjakin and Nakamura look likely to be potential world championship rivals into the future - but for now, the trio look set to give us a portent of things to come with an exciting second half in prospect. Carlsen and Nakamura have already qualified for the Grand Slam Final later in the year in Bilbao/Sao Paulo - but can Karjakin join them?
ICC will have live commentary coverage on Chess.FM of the second half for you to find out, starting on Friday, 17 June at 8:30am ICC Server Time with our commentary team of GMs Joel Benjamin and Robert Hess. We will also have a GOTD service and the New in Chess trivia contest, where each round ICC members can win a 1-year subscription to New in Chess magazine and also ICC membership extensions of 1 and 3 months.
So now is a good time as any to join ICC for all the member benefits byclicking here.