Topalov blunders away a winning position against Svidler. Carlsen wiggles out of van Wely’s grasp and earns a draw. Aronian’s piece play overcomes Karjakin’s resistance. Motylev fails to capitalise after Navara’s weak response to his piece sacrifice.
Svidler – Topalov
Svidler gets into a bad position from a Sicilian Najdorf (apparently forgetting that Topalov plays …h5 variations, even at a late stage of the opening). He finds himself in the unenviable position of allowing Black to open the b-file after exchanging minor pieces on c4. Svidler battles valiantly against his disadvantage, but Topalov builds his attack confidently. Topalov crashes through the queenside at the White king, but with Svidler on the verge of resigning he stumbles into a series of bad moves, and suddenly Svidler has a winning rook endgame.
Carlsen – van Wely
Both players emerge from the Sicilian Najdorf opening with a solid position. White’s initial attack is rebuffed, and van Wely’s attack down the c-file forces an entry into White’s position. But Carlsen has the position under control to stems the attack. Van Wely takes a big edge into the endgame, and Carlsen defends doggedly, giving up a knight to remove a dangerous passed pawn. The long bishop and rook versus a rook endgame finally ends up in Carlsen sacrificing a rook to force a stalemate.
Aronian – Karjakin
Aronian follows Kramnik-Anand in an Open Catalan, until Karjakin deviates with 15… Bd6. He allows the …c5 break which allows him to gain control of the c-file and the c6 square. In a typical fluid piece-play position, Aronian turns the screws on Karjakin’s position, and from an equal position Aronian grinds out an advantage. Building up pressure, Aronian binds up Karjakin’s king until the threat to decoy the Black queen forces Karjakin to resign.
Kramnik – Radjabov
Radjabov’s King’s Indian Defence is solid enough against Kramnik’s Gligoric system. Radjabov sacrifices a pawn to open the kingside lines, Kramnik’s counterplay on the queenside is sufficient to hold the balance, and he returns the pawn to equalise the position where a draw is agreed.
Anand – Shirov
Shirov deviates from a 1994 Anand-Ivanchuk Petroff opening with 16… Rfd8 giving Anand an edge from the opening. Shirov manages to equalise the position after sacrificing a pawn to start some threats against the White king. White’s smashed pawn structure not helping him in the endgame so Anand satisfies himself with a draw.
Navara – Motylev
Motylev equalises out of a classical Queen’s Gambit Slav. In a balanced position Motylev sacrifices a piece to dismantle White’s centre, and emerges with active play against the now-exposed White pieces. In the complications Motylev holds the advantage, but doesn’t find enough to convert it into a win, and settles down for a draw instead.
Ponomariov – Tiviakov
Ponomariov faces Tiviakov’s Accelerated Dragon, but its Black that gains an edge, which is enough for Ponomariov to accede to a draw.