Aronian blitzed past Vallejo with sacrifices. Ivanchuk makes no headway against Leko. Topalov has a quiet day. Svidler salvages a draw against Bacrot.
Aronian – Vallejo
Aronian plays a Marshall Gambit against Vallejo’s Semi-Slav. Aronian sacrifices a knight to take advantage of Black’s lack of development, and picks up an exchange whilst pulling the Black king into the range of the White rooks. White’s energetic finish wins another piece, leaving Vallejo with no option but to resign.
Ivanchuk – Leko
After a more classical Queen’s Indian setup, Ivanchuk strongpoints the e5-square with both of his knights using almost a King’s Indian Attack method of play on the kingside. But Leko gradually improves his position and starts forcing Ivanchuk to back track. Ivanchuk consumes a large amount of time in the early middlegame, and so has to rush through the last dozen moves to time control, but manages to do so without blundering, and emerges after time control with a definite advantage. But Leko holds the position whittling it down to a drawn pawn endgame.
Radjabov – Topalov
Radjabov avoids Topalov’s main line Ruy Lopez Berlin and heads into classical waters. Radjabov gets a slight advantage, but Topalov quickly neutralises it down concluding in a short quiet draw.
Bacrot – Svidler
Svidler drops the Grunfeld and enters the Queen’s Gambit Slav. Bacrot’s centralisation gives him an early advantage. Svidler gets himself in a little trouble, and finds his queen trapped. Forced to give up his queen for a rook and bishop Svidler manages to activate his pieces for some compensation. Svidler forces a perpetual check after the first time control.