Grischuk outplays Gelfand in a double rook endgame. Kramnik’s Modern Benoni crashes and burns against Morozevich. Svidler’s counterplay neutralises Leko in the Sicilian Najdorf. Anand’s Marshall Attack novelty defuses any threats from Aronian.
Leko – Svidler
Svidler plays the first Sicilian Defence of the tournament opting for a Najdorf. Leko goes for the popular English Attack, following an idea (12. Rg1) from Anand in the Melody Amber tournament, which allows the immediate advance of the g-pawn without needing to advance the h-pawn. Svidler centralises and breaks in the centre with 16… d5 and gains the initiative. Leko fights back with 19. Bh3 and Svidler opts for the exchange of light squared bishops. Leko forces a liquidation of pieces into an endgame, where a draw is agreed.
Grischuk – Gelfand
The position is roughly equal out of a Romanishin Queen’s Indian. Black’s pressure on c3 and activity sufficient for equality. Grischuk’s queen gets kicked a number of times, but he manages to create some pressure and forces the exchange of queens and minor pieces to leave a double rook endgame. Grischuk stands better thanks to his more active rooks, and has a marked advantage. His two rooks take up strong positions that tie down Black’s rooks. This allows Grischuk to open up the kingside with his king and pawns. Grischuk’s control of both open files and the queenside combined with his hold of the light squares pushes Gelfand’s pieces back, Grischuk threatens to infiltrate the kingside with his king. Grischuk swaps off a pair of rooks creating a central passed pawn, this diverts Gelfand’s rook long enough for Grischuk to create an outside passed pawn on the queenside, and with that Gelfand’s position collapses and he resigns.
Anand – Aronian
Anand allows the Marshall Attack in the Ruy Lopez, and adopts the rare 13. Re2 followed by the novelty 15. g3 which snaffles most of Black’s natural attacking moves. Aronian is convinced enough to take the proffered draw.
Morozevich – Kramnik
Kramnik surprises everyone by transposing a symmetrical English Opening into a Modern Benoni. Morozevich takes the initiative on the kingside with an aggressive pawn expansion, Kramnik’s counterplay on the queenside is limited. Kramnik embarks on an unusual rook manoeuvre, the position plays into Morozevich’s unique abilities and Kramnik’s rook is snared. Kramnik’s main problem is that his knight and rook are paralysed, which leaves Morozevich with more pieces in play. Morozevich forces through a passed pawn and manages to create a second which leaves him in a winning position. With the opposite coloured bishops and Morozevich creating play in all quarters of the board he is dominating the position and forces Kramnik to capitulate.