Anand wins in fine sacrificial style (and wins my vote as the game of the round). Topalov misses an immediate win, but still finishes Kamsky off in style. Aronian plays too ambitiously and loses to a steady Ivanchuk. Loek van Wely fails to convert a very promising position against Sokolov.
A typical Najdorf bloodbath where Black counters White’s aggressive kingside pawn storm with an equally aggressive queenside pawn storm. Anand uncorks a double piece sacrifice that leaves him with a very strong attack.
An inventive under-promotion by Karjakin, followed by a queen sacrifice fails to ward off Anand’s attack. Anand declines the queen sacrifice, disposing off one of his rooks, to finish off White in a neat mating finish. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was all Anand preparation.
Kamsky pulls of a surprise by playing the Scandanavian defence against Topalov’s 1.e4, this is typical of the re-emerging Kamsky, playing off-beat openings. And it makes sense. Kamsky has been out of top-flight chess for a number of years, and it will take him some time to catch up on all the chess opening theory that has happened in all that time. Rather than play into a prepared trap, Kamsky wisely avoids it by playing unusual lines, and delays the action until the middle-game.
But even in untopical lines, Kamsky finds aggressive, if risky, options. 8…g5 is a prime example. Topalov sacrifices two pawns to buy a some time to bring his rooks into play against Black’s uncastled position. Kamsky castles, but his king finds no respite from the White minor pieces. A horrible blunder, under pressure, with 16…c5??, but Topalov missed 17.Be5! and White’s attack is far too strong.
Topalov keeps building up the pressure and creates a strong passed pawn on d6. The advance of this pawn and White’s knights following burst into Black’s position for the decisive kingside attack.
Aronian – Ivanchuk
A solid Grunfeld Schlecter sees Ivanchuk establish a solid position. White leaves the opening with a tiny advantage in the queenless middlegame. He has the better pawn structure, and uses it to establish a space advantage on the kingside.
Ivanchuk regroups with an unusual knight manoeuvre which compels the White dark-squared bishop into playing the role of an overgrown pawn. White continues to press on the kingside and the e-file, slowly losing his grip on the initiative.
Aronian sacrifices a knight unsoundly which gives Black a big advantage. White’s passed pawn and rook on the seventh look very threatening, but Ivanchuk neutralises the threats. And just in time, his rook makes the decisive pentetration into the back of the White position, neutralising White’s passed pawn threats.
Mamedyarov – Bacrot
Mamedyrov got an edge very early on in the game sacrificing a pawn to stymy Black’s kingside development. Black gradually unravelled his kingside and White had nothing better than to draw by repetition.
van Wely – Sokolov
The battle of the Dutch Grandmasters went along the lines of a typical Queen’s Gamit Slav. White’s space advantage gave van Wely the initiative. Black’s typical thematic break …e5 failed to established equality as it weakened Black’s cover of the d-file. White forced his d-pawn through to d6 establishing an promising position.
Instead of regrouping first, van Wely opens up the b-file prematurely allowing Black some activity in that area. Black equalises and a repetition of position concludes a into a draw.
Gelfand – Leko
After a solid Catalan opening White has a tiny advantage in a technical middle-game, but Leko keeps the position under control. Gelfand misses a few tiny improvements to his piece activity but emerges with a definite advantage. A draw agreed before time control.
Tiviakov – Adams
Tiviakov avoids Adam’s Marshall Gamit in the Ruy Lopez by stepping into the Worrall Attack. Adams plays aggressively, getting …d5 in early. A rapid queenside expansion forces White into a series of equalising exchanges. White emerges from the opening with a weak extra pawn, Black getting some compensation in the centralisation of his rooks.
Tiviakov presses hard in the rook and pawn endgame, but he cannot make his extra pawn count.