A draw between Gelfand and Kramnik virtually assures Anand of first place. Anand comes from behind to secure a draw in a lengthy tense struggle against Grischuk. Leko beats Morozevich in a neat positional game. A wild opening sees a balanced finish in Aronian’s game against Svidler.
Gelfand – Kramnik
Gelfand revisits the Topalov-Kramnik World Championship match, game 4 with a Semi-Slav, but Kramnik deviates first with 12…. Nf6, but White still has excellent compensation for the pawn. Kramnik slowly improves his position, while Gelfand tries to drum up play on the open b-file. As the game reduces into a double rook endgame a draw is agreed.
Grischuk – Anand
Grischuk is the next player up to test Anand’s adherence to the Anti-Moscow Gambit Semi-Slav. Grischuk plays a new move 15. d5 and the queens quickly disappear. Grischuk seizes the initiative to create a strong pin down the d-file, keeping Anand’s king right in the firing line. Grischuk keeps the upper hand in the rook and knight endgame thanks to his more active pieces. Anand is forced into a difficult defence in the ensuing endgame as Grischuk pokes and prods for a further advantage. In a tense finish all the pieces disappear, leaving Anand with a well deserved half-point.
Leko – Morozevich
Morozevich opts for a Sicilian Richter Rauzer while Leko attempts a transposition to the English Attack. They follow a Wijk Aan Zee 2007 game between Kosintseva and Atalik until Leko deviates with 12. Nxc6. Leko damages Morozevich’s pawn structure and sets to work exploiting it. He wins the Black h-pawn and thereafter his own passed h-pawn is unstoppable.
Aronian – Svidler
Its a wild Four Knights English and Aronian has to artificially castle his king. But he comes out of the opening well and makes decent use of the semi-open f-file, while Svidler does likewise on the semi-open e-file. The culmination of Svidler’s buildup is the …d5 break which suits Aronian’s purposes. The game dissolves into a queen and pawns ending with Aronian holding the initiative. But there’s very little to play for in the position, so a draw is agreed.