Anand downs Svidler in a Marshall Attack, Svidler’s compensation for the sacrificed pawn not so evident. Grischuk crashes through Morozevich’s kingside pawn structure to register a tense win. Leko’s Giuoco Pianissimo is sufficient for a draw against Kramnik. Gelfand defeats Aronian’s Modern Benoni.
Anand – Svidler
Anand allows the Marshall Attack, and varies with 13. g3 which staves off the immediate threats to White’s kingside. Svidler builds up strong central pressure. Anand’s manoeuvres compel Svidler to weaken his kingside. Anand’s invasion down the a-file starts to tie up Svidler’s pieces. Svidler blunders under the pressure, and Anand’s kingside activity forces a decisive result. Svidler resigns.
Grischuk – Morozevich
Its a Ragozin variation of the Queen’s Gambit, where Morozovich’s position seems optically convincing, but its Grischuk who emerges with a strong advantage. Morozevich is tempted by the two sacrificed queenside pawns which gives Grischuk a very strong kingside initiative. Morozevich returns material by sacrificing the exchange. Its a struggle between Black’s queenside pawns versus White’s central passed pawns, and White’s rook proves to be sufficient to demolish Black’s queenside pawns. Morozevich resigns.
Leko – Kramnik
Leko avoids Kramnik’s Petroff by transposing into a Giuoco Pianissimo, but gains no advantage out of the opening once Kramnik swaps off the light-squared bishops. Kramnik gets a slight advantage thanks to his presence on the d-file, but Leko trades the dark-squared bishops and a draw is agreed.
Gelfand – Aronian
Aronian adopts a Modern Benoni against Gelfand’s proffered Catalan. Aronian gets his queenside pawns moving really quickly, but this leaves weak squares that Gelfand occupies to exert pressure on the d6-pawn. Aronian sacrifices a pawn to gain the e5-square, and Gelfand uses that extra pawn to storm into Aronian’s kingside fortifications. Aronian’s king is rather exposed and instead of putting weight behind his queenside pawns he tries to stem the kingside threats, and Gelfand has a winning advantage. Aronian invests an exchange to alleviate the pressure, but Gelfand’s initiative keeps trundling along. Aronian gets his queenside play moving at last, but its too late. Gelfand’s rook enters the seventh rank and Aronian’s king is exposes. Aronian resigns.