Anand fends off a Carlsen sacrificial attack and reaps the rewards. Aronian’s combative play sweeps aside van Wely. Eljanov builds up a strong attack against Polgar and sweeps to a win. Gelfand blunders against Radjabov. Mamedyarov cannot capitalise on his advantage against Topalov. Ivanchuk and Adams shuffle towards a draw. Leko and Kramnik have a short but entertaining battle ending in perpetual check.
Carlsen – Anand
Carlsen plays classically against Anand’s Scheveningen Sicilian, following in the path of the famous Karpov-Kasparov game. Carlsen gets stuck into his kingside attack forcing an Anand retreat. Carlsen sacrifices two pawns to gain a tempo to swing his rook over to the kingside. Carlsen commits to the attack, sacrificing two pieces, but gets a little carried away with a forcing sequence and misses a better continuation. Anand’s king escapes from the kingside. Anand plays a nice blend of attack and defence, and Carlsen’s material disadvantage is terminal.
Aronian – van Wely
Van Wely sacrifices a pawn out of an …a7 Slav. He has compensation in pressure against White’s e3-pawn. Aronian is over-ambitious, but van Wely doesn’t react actively enough as Aronian builds up a pawn storm against the Black king. Aronian returns the pawn and centralises his pieces. He sacrifices an exchange gaining a tempo and an extra piece in the attack. A further piece sacrifice nets the Black queen and a raging attack against the Black king. Under serious pressure van Wely blunders and his position collapses as his king is stuck in a mating net.
Polgar – Eljanov
Polgar avoids a Ruy Lopez Berlin with a quieter opening that results in Steinitz-like Ruy Lopez. Eljanov gets a slight edge in the resulting middlegame, thanks to his co-ordination on the black squares. Eljanov builds up a threatening kingside attack, and Polgar blunders allowing Eljanov to open up the h-file against the White king. Eljanov’s major pieces strong-arm their way into the White position, leaving Polgar no option but to resign.
Gelfand – Radjabov
Radjabov regroups his pieces against Gelfand’s Gligoric King’s Indian Defence and gets his thematic …f5 break underway. Gelfand reacts on the queenside, but loses his defensive grip on the kingside allowing Radjabov to close in on the white king. Both sides blunder in time trouble before the first time control, but its Gelfand who makes the last mistake falling into a forced mate.
Topalov – Mamedyarov
Mamedyarov gets his kingside counterplay moving quickly out of a Petrosian King’s Indian. He has a slight initiative, and his dark-squared bishop is potently placed. Topalov stumbles, but Mamedyarov misses the strongest continuation, but still holds an edge thanks to his protected central passed pawn. Topalov effects a blockade and shores up his kingside. Mamedyarov cannot find a way to exploit his advantage, and after the first time control a draw is agreed.
Ivanchuk – Adams
Ivanchuk gets a Catalan like structure from an English opening. After a bit of shuffling Ivanchuk opens the a-file for his rook to enter the Black position. This forces Adams on the defensive. Ivanchuk doesn’t see anything better than repeating the position, taking the draw.
Leko – Kramnik
Leko’s 5. Nc3 against Kramnik’s Petroff gives him a solid position. Leko allows Kramnik’s little combination that demolishes the queenside pawn structure around the White king. Kramnik has to part with the exchange to circumvent Leko’s threats of smothered mate. Kramnik invests another piece to allow him a perpetual check.