Kamsky outplays Anand in a rook and pawns endgame. Topalov fends off Ponomariov. Svidler’s Grunfeld is patched up.
Anand – Kamsky
Another anti-Marshall Ruy Lopez (why the sudden popularity?) sees Kamsky again employ the manoeuvre Nc6-d8-e6 adding pressure on the centre and the kingside, and continuing with Ne6-f4-g6. Kamsky’s c6-break allows him to equalise in the centre, as the game drifts towards an endgame Kamsky has a tiny advantage thanks to his e-pawn. Into a balanced rook endgame and with a clever manoeuvre, Kamsky has a strong centralised king which forces Anand backwards, and switches into a winning pawn endgame.
Ponomariov – Topalov
Ponomariov gets an edge out of a Semi-slav even after Topalov gets his …c5-break in. Topalov sacrifices a pawn to get his rook to the seventh rank and wins control of the open b-file. His two rooks dominate, but its White that holds the advantage. But in a tense endgame Ponomariov goes astray and Topalov claws his way to equality. Ponomariov blunders his a-pawn allowing Topalov to take control by sacrificing his knight for three pawns. A repetition of position allows both players a sigh of relief.
Bacrot – Svidler
Svidler is back into a Grunfeld (which suffered disastrously in Linares 2006), this time an Exchange Grunfeld. Bacrot wastes some time with his queen which allows Svidler to demolish the White pawn centre with …e6. This triggers off a tactical sequence which pushes the game into a balanced rook and minor piece endgame, where a repetition of position splits the points.