Leko keeps his place at the top of the table, Aronian a point behind. Ivanchuk’s creativity is enough to see of Svidler. Topalov gets smashed by Vallejo. Radjabov’s classical play gives him a smooth win over Bacrot. Leko repeats his Queen’s Indian and secures a draw.
Ivanchuk – Svidler
Ivanchuk follows Aronian’s win over Svidler from the previous round in an obscure variation of the Grunfeld. But Svidler deviates into a more active position. Svidler sacrifices his b-pawn for better development, but Ivanchuk proves its no poisoned pawn. Ivanchuk returns the pawn and sacrifices an exchange to drive the Black queen away from her king. Ivanchuk prompty occupies the back rank with his rook and queen, and the black king is forced toward the centre into a mating net.
Topalov – Vallejo Pons
Topalov follows in Radjabov’s footsteps from the previous round in a Semi Slav, and tries to improve on Radjabov’s play, but finds Vallejo ready and willing for a full-blooded struggle. Vallejo’s queenside pawn push gives him a threatening passed pawn on c2. Focusing on removing the White pieces from c1, Black infitrates with his queen. Topalov embarks on risky counterplay by a piece attack on the black king which is stranded in the centre. A queen sacrifice from Vallejo forces his passed pawn through to promotion, leaving him a rook up and under some pressure to ensure his king safety. Vallejo consolidates his king safety, and the result is in the bag.
Radjabov – Bacrot
In a Slav Defence Radjabov builds up classically and prepares an e3-e4 pawn break which gives him a sizable advantage. Bacrot is forced to compromise his position to prevent White from completely dominating, but it compels Bacrot to give up a piece to remove a dangerous passed-pawn. Radjabov’s technique is sufficient to bring home the point.
Aronian – Leko
Aronian follows Leko’s previous round game against Bacrot (a Queen’s Indian), and his improvement presents no problems for Leko. Neither side makes much headway in the middlegame or endgame. Draw.