Kramnik fails to convert a big advantage against Grischuk. Anand gets a large advantage against Grischuk and also bails out into a draw by repetition. Svidler runs into Gelfand’s ultra-solid Petroff and gains nothing. Aronian locks down Leko in a Maroczy bind and breaks through to win material.
Kramnik – Grischuk
In Kramnik’s Catalan, Kramnik snatches the c7-pawn out of the opening and has to weather a Grischuk initiative. Grischuk doesn’t take control of the position and it comes back to balance. Kramnik builds up an advantage by taking back control of his queenside squares and the Catalan bishop starts to make its presence felt. Kramnik accumulates a large advantage as he enters the endgame a passed pawn up. Grischuk quickly neutralises the immediate threat and the game swings towards the pawns left on the kingside. In a lengthy endgame all the kingside pawns disappear en masse, and its a draw.
Morozevich – Anand
In a normal looking Semi-Slav Anand uncorks a novelty on the 16th move, but its Morozevich who emerges with an advantage. Anand stifles that advantage by the exchange of queens, and it is he who gradually amasses an advantage, and annexes a pawn. The extra pawn is a massive centralised passed pawn, supported by Anand’s rook, bishop and central pawn wedge. Anand snatches the a-pawn which reduces his central hold which allows Morozevich to reclaim his sacrificed pawn. Morozevich gets his king into play. Anand bails out with a draw by repetition.
Svidler – Gelfand
Gelfand must be getting heartily sick of the 6. Nc3 variation of the Petroff as he faces it for the third time in four games. With an exchange of light-squared bishops its a calm middlegame. Svidler gets a space advantage but once the queens drop-off, the game meanders to a quiet draw.
Aronian – Leko
A symmetrical English transposes into a Maroczy-bind like Sicilian. Aronian avoids the exchange of pieces hoping to keep Leko’s constricted Hedgehog. Aronian tempts Leko’s knights forward only to kick them back with a pawn thrust gaining space and time. Pretty soon, Leko only has three ranks to play in. Aronian crashes into Leko’s position with the e5-break, winning a piece for two pawns. He then goes on to create a passed c-pawn. Leko fails to take advantage of the pins on Aronian’s passed pawns, and its Aronian’s knights that dive in and plunder away at Leko’s rooks. Materially down, still facing a strong passed pawn, Leko resigns.