Leko outmanoeuvres Grischuk in an Anti-Marshall Ruy Lopez. Morozevich sparks fireworks against Aronian and succeeds in defending the resulting rook endgame. Svidler gets nothing against Kramnik’s solid Petroff.
Svidler – Kramnik
Svidler repeats his 6. Nc3 Petroff that he tried earlier against Gelfand, but Kramnik deviates with 15… Qc4 (improving over Gelfand’s 15… Nf8) which forces White to lose some time guarding his a-pawn. Kramnik erects a pawn barrier on the kingside light-squares followed by a manoeuvre to exchange queens. Svidler prefers to keep the queens on. Kramnik has a solid position, Svidler can make no progress and the game is drawn by repetition of position.
Aronian – Morozevich
Morozevich repeats his Queen’s Indian / Dutch set-up and improves on his play against Gelfand with the variation 9… Na6 introducing a two-pawn sacrifice. Morozevich has great compensation in the activity of his minor pieces, the potential activity of his rook and queen and the precarious position of Aronian’s king – right in the firing line of Morozevich’s pieces. Aronian finds a clever way of throwing a spanner in the works. The game dissolves into a double rook endgame, and Morozevich gets his rooks in the right place – behind the passed pawns – and after a long manoeuvring effort, its a draw.
Gelfand – Anand
Gelfand repeats his Catalan, Anand deviating with 10… Bd6, which allows him to break in the centre with 13… e5. Anand manages to follow up with a 16… c5 break, and a draw is agreed shortly thereafter.
Leko – Grischuk
Its another anti-Marshall, Grischuk exchanging light-squared bishops which results in doubled e-pawns. Leko opens the centre with an e4 break, which allows Grischuk to mobilise his queenside pawns. The position remains balanced, neither side gains the upperhand. Leko creates a pawn bind in the centre and reforms his pieces behind the bind preparing a pawn-break. The break comes with 30. f5, forcing Grischuk to block the centre. This leaves Leko free to concentrate on building up a pawn storm on the kingside, and Leko has the clear advantage. His threats on the kingside continue to mount, and Grischuk’s position collapses when his d-pawn falls. And Leko wins his first game of the tournament.