Ivanchuk outplays Eljanov. Van Wely blunders his queen in a winning position, gifting Carlsen a whole point. Leko has no problems with Anand’s side-line in the Ruy Lopez. Topalov sacrifices an exchange against Radjabov and gains a draw. Gelfand applies a bind to Kramnik’s position, but Kramnik breaks it easily enough to split the points. Polgar holds the black side of a Rubinstein French against Mamedyarov. Adams’ pawn sacrifice pushes the game towards a draw.
Eljanov – Ivanchuk
Ivanchuk sacrifices a pawn on the Black side of a Catalan/Semi-Slav. With better open lines and development, Ivanchuk has compensation for the pawn. Ivanchuk recoups the pawn and has a much better pawn centre. His active pieces dominate the position, and gains a strong advantage. Ivanchuk converts his advantage to an outside passed pawn, and seals a victory combining its advance with threats against the White King.
van Wely – Carlsen
Carlsen unleashes the Benko Gambit against van Wely. Van Wely’s development cuts across Carlsen’s plan, but despite that, Carlsen finds decent squares for his pieces. Van Wely’s plays a risky queenside advance and gains a strong advantage, including a monster passed pawn on c6. Van Wely has a winning position winning both exchanges, but Carlsen fights back by activating his remaining pieces. Combined with his queen Carlsen creates threats in the centre of the board. Van Wely blunders his queen and resigns.
Anand – Leko
Anand bypasses Leko’s Marshall Gambit by a side-line of a Closed Ruy Lopez (6. d3). Leko equalises fairly quickly and gains a solid position. Draw agreed.
Radjabov – Topalov
Radjabov avoids Topalov’s Berlin by heading into a Scotch game, and emerges with an advantage thanks to Topalov’s shattered queenside pawn structure. Radjabov wins the exchange, but allows Topalov to activate his two bishops. Although Radjabov demolishes Topalov’s pawns structure, Topalov’s outside passed pawn offers compensation, and Radjabov is satisfied to split the points.
Kramnik – Gelfand
Kramnik selects an unusual queenside expansion in a Nimzowitsch Queen’s Indian Defence, which allows Gelfand equality in the centre. After kit-gloves type manoeuvring from both players Kramnik gets ambitious with his queenside pawns. The fight rages for control of the long light-squared diagonal a8-h1, with Gelfand using the central dark-squared, and the Kramnik’s knights opting for the central light-squares. Gelfand gets a knight strongly positioned on e4, and offers the exchange to open up the long diagonal and apply a bind to White’s position. Kramnik resists the temptation, Gelfand gets the bind, but his own light-squared bishop remains locked-in. Kramnik has the two bishops and uses the light squares to create threats that force a retreat from Black and the queens get exchanged. Neither side has the edge in the endgame and it winds its way to a draw.
Mamedyarov – Polgar
Mamedyarov fianchettos his light-squared bishop against Polgar’s surprising Rubinstein French. Mamedyarov prepares and executes a d5 pawn-break, and the position simplifies to a balanced endgame, and the players agree to a draw.
Adams – Aronian
Adams bypasses Aronian’s Marshall by opting for sacrificing his d-pawn for open lines and activity. Adams develops quickly and disrupts and weakens the black central pawn structure, gaining compensation for the pawn. Both players are happy to split the points.