Ivanchuk takes the lead after winning a long game against Sokolov. Topalov crashes to a loss against Michael Adams. Bacrot outplays Tiviakov, and Kamsky bounces back with a smooth win over Gelfand. Aronian holds Anand to a draw.
Topalov plays into his favoured Scheveningen, revisiting the scene of his opening disaster against Adams in the FIDE World Cup. He emerges unscathed, but is a little overzealous in obtaining counterplay. After incautiously closing the centre, Topalov falls victim to a thematic f5 pawn break. Adams smashes into Topalov’s position with a thematic knight sacrifice on d5 which sends Black reeling. After a few clever moves (Qd2, h3 and c3) Adams is completely on top of the position. His attack is so great Topalov has to ditch material to see it off. Adams is typically clinical in the ending.
Leko – Karjakin
Karjakin revisits the Najdorf position he lost to Anand yesterday, this time he’s Black facing Leko. Leko deviates with 14.h4 and gets a solid position. Karjakin gets the thematic …d5 break in, and instead of acquiesing immediately for a draw, Leko unleashes a prepared queen sacrifice that forces a liquidation of pieces into a quiet endgame. Draw agreed without much further action.
Anand – Aronian
Anand plays an anti-Marshall Ruy Lopez, and after the exchange of light-squared bishops his queen settles on the a2-f7 diagonal. After the thematic Nf3-h2-g4 manoeuvre and the exchange of this knight Black loses control of his d5-square and the dark squares on the kingside. White slowly builds pressure, and after a swop-down of pieces he is a pawn up in the rook and minor piece endgame. Some solid play from Aronian frustrates Anand into giving back a pawn in his effort to win, but this slides the balance of play Black’s way forcing Anand to liquidate into a drawn position.
Kamsky – Gelfand
Out of a Queen’s Gambit Slav, both sides have active minor pieces, but Kamsky makes his count first by a rapid minority attack on the queenside, which nets him an exchange. Slowly his advantage grows forcing Gelfand to eject into an ending of a rook and two minor pieces against a queen and minor piece. Kamsky uses his superior activity to force more material loss and eventual capitulation.
Bacrot – Tiviakov
Against the accelerated Dragon Bacrot adopts a Maroczy bind, which ties up the Black queenside. Tiviakov counters by breaking with …f5 but gets tied down defending the e7-pawn. White’s pawn-storm down the queenside forces a strong entry of the White minor pieces. This compels Tiviakov to ditch the exchange to stem the flood of activity, but to no avail. Bacrot enters the ending with an active rook against a bishop and secures the point.
van Wely – Mamedyarov
Out of a Kings Indian / Benoni set-up, Mamedyaro transposes into a Benko Gambit type position where he gets strong pressure on the White queenside. This quickly transposes into a major piece ending and into a drawn rook endgame.
Sokolov – Ivanchuk
Out of a typical Queen’s Indian Ivanchuk gets a lead in development thanks to the White king being stuck in the centre. He uses this advantage to get his rooks into play first, and then jettisons two pawns to increase his piece activity and gain the two bishops in the queenless middlegame. By trapping the White knight on the edge of the kingside Ivanchuk grabs back his two pawns leaving him with strongly centralised pieces, and a strong passed e-pawn. Gradually Ivanchuk advances the passed pawn locking down the White king and knight. Ivanchuk ditches his extra pawn to force an exchange of all the pieces leaving him in a winning pawn ending.