Aronian’s interference combination leaves Anand defenceless. Leko’s two rooks for a queen exchange is refuted by Ivanchuk. Radjabov miscues against Topalov and the Berlin Wall secures another solid draw. Carlsen holds the isolated-pawn against Shirov.
Anand – Aronian
Aronian plays an early novelty in the Marshall attack, fighting for control of the e-file. Anand misses opportunities to defuse Black’s initiative and lets Aronian create a dangerous pin down the e-file, pushing Anand on the defensive. Aronian ejects another pawn to tighten the screws around the White king. Anand overlooks a tactical point, and Aronian’s exchange sacrifice turns the tables. Anand’s king faces an unstoppable mating attack, and so its time to resign.
Ivanchuk – Leko
Ivanchuk’s Centre Attack in the Ruy Lopez bypasses Leko’s Marshall Gambit. Leko gains the two bishops for the cost of a pawn. Leko offers a rook to trap Ivanchuk’s queen but ends up exchanging the queen for both of his rooks. Leko is fully developed while Ivanchuk struggles to unravel his queenside. Leko makes nothing of his advantage and the initiative swings back to Ivanchuk who finds open files for both of his rooks. The active rooks slowly infiltrate into Black’s position and pin down the Black bishops. Hemmed in by the rooks and no counterplay in a grotty position, Leko throws in the towel.
Radjabov – Topalov
Topalov gets a typically stolid position on the Black side of the Berlin Wall, Radjabov’s position looks more comfortable though. Radjabov fumbles and allows Topalov a petite combination that wins a pawn. Radjabov has some compensation for the pawn deficit in his centralised pieces. Radjabov reclaims the pawn, and retains his strong centralisation. Topalov keeps a firm grip on his cramped position, and Radjabov can make no headway. Draw.
Shirov – Carlsen
Both players head into offbeat Sicilian territory, Carlsen by adopting the Kan/Taimanov, and Shirov’s unusual development of holding back his queenside knight. The position resembles a French Open Tarrasch with Black accepting an isolated d-pawn. Carlsen preserves his dark-squared bishop, and thus can effectively challenge any isolani-blockader. Both players press hard to gain control of the dark-squares, but it’s a standoff. Carlsen takes the perpetual in the queen endgame.