Karjakin repeats a Leko novelty, but Anand steers a course to a win. Topalov refutes a Carlsen piece sacrifice to win. Shirov makes no headway against Ponomariov. Aronian survives a lost position against van Wely.
Karjakin – Anand
In an English Attack against Anand’s Najdorf, Karjakin employs an idea Leko experimented with against him in last year’s tournament. Karjakin sacrifices his queen for a rook and knight, an initiative and the advantage of landing the Black king in a difficult position. Anand defends solidly, and in the endgame his queen proves superior to the White rook and knight. Its the White king that finds itself in a dangerous position. Anand forces White into a passive defence, and powers his way to a win in the endgame.
Topalov – Carlsen
Carlsen’s Ragozin Defence nets him an exchange against Topalov’s Queen’s Gambit. Carlsen offers a piece sacrifice that Topalov refutes by a surprising queen retreat. Topalov emerges from the opening skirmish with a clear advantage, and the result is not in doubt.
Van Wely – Aronian
Van Wely quickly gains an advantage against Aronian’s Ragozin Defence, but his slow kingside play allows Aronian to activate his pieces restoring the equilibrium of the position. Aronian overplay his position, and van Wely gains a substantial advantage. But van Wely allows Aronian a nice combination to resolve the position into a drawn endgame.
Tiviakov – Navara
A short draw in a Steinitz Ruy Lopez when the pieces get swept off the board. The position resembles a Classical Kings Indian Defence.
Shirov – Ponomariov
Ponomariov’s Najdorf takes on some of the positional aspects of a Sveshnikov Sicilian. Black’s rampant e-pawn counterbalances White’s pressure on the queenside. Shirov plays for an endgame, but when it eventually arrives he finds Ponomariov’s defence good enough to settle into a draw once an opposite coloured bishops endgame arrives.
Radjabov – Svidler
Svidler opts for the Sicilian’s Kan System rather than a Najdorf against Radjabov. Svidler crunches through the Maroczy bind with a tactical manoeuvre. The pieces disappear quickly, and both players satisfy themselves with a draw.
Motylev – Kramnik
Motylev’s uninspired 5. Nc3 against Kramnik’s Petroff leads to a quiet short draw.