Radjabov catches up with Topalov in first place with another King’s Indian Defence. Van Wely notches up a tidy win against Svidler. Navara outplays Ponomariov. Kramnik holds Topalov in another tenaciously solid display of defence. Shirov holds off Aronian for a well-deserved draw.
Motylev – Radjabov
Motylev gains a rapid advantage from a Gligoric King’s Indian, and castles queenside. Radjabov plays across the board gaining space on both flanks. Radjabov eventually gains access to the White position via the f-file, and wins a rook in a neat combination. Radjabov notches up another win with his King’s Indian Defence.
Van Wely – Svidler
Svidler gets caught out in his Exchange Grunfeld after trying to equalise too quickly. The swop-off of the dark squared bishops brings van Wely’s Queen uncomfortably close to the Black king. Svidler outfoxes himself in a tactical plan, and finds himself losing a piece and no way to stave off the inevitable kingside attack. He resigns. An elegant win from van Wely.
Navara – Ponomariov
Ponomariov adopts the Open Tarrasch variation of the French Defence. Navara chooses an unusual kingside fianchetto and gains a tiny edge after the exchange of queens. Navara nurses this edge and penetrates the Black position by taking control of the d-file. In the ensuing rook and minor piece endgame, White’s queenside passed pawns prove to be too strong for Black. Ponomariov is forced to sacrifice his bishop to rid the White queenside passers, and Navara keeps control of the position to register a nice win.
Karjakin – Carlsen
After following a long line of Open Ruy Lopez theory the end result is a balanced position, and after a short kingside pawn storm a three-fold repetition delivers a draw.
Topalov – Kramnik
In a Bf4 Queen’s Gambit, Kramik emerges from the opening with a slight disadvantage. In the queenless middlegame Topalov increases his advantage with typical direct play. Kramnik’s tenacious defence leads to a potential repetition of position, which Topalov draws back from, allowing Kramnik to equalise the position with a prepared 36… g5. More tenacious defence from Kramnik resolves the position into a draw.
Tiviakov – Anand
Tiviakov emerges from a Classical Caro-Kann with a slight edge. He builds up pressure on the kingside, but Anand looks to have things firmly under control and a draw is agreed in 27 moves.
Shirov – Aronian
Aronian’s solid play in an Anti-Marshall Ruy Lopez neutralises any White opening advantage. Aronian’s knight makes a surprising sortie giving Black a big e-pawn and a sizable advantage. Shirov puts up a stubborn and active defence, and succeeds in reducing Aronian’s advantage. Creating a passed a-pawn convinces Aronian to settle for a draw.