Leko and Svidler extend their lead at the top of the table. Topalov suffers another serious blow, losing to Radjabov. Leko pounces on an Ivanchuk misstep. Svidler takes full advantage of Bacrots weakened pawn structure.
Topalov plays an unusual variation of the King’s Indian, and the position transforms into a Benoni-type setup. Topalov is helpless to prevent Radjabov’s grasp of the open e-file. Topalov’s opening of lines against the Black king proves more useful to Radjabov who consistently improves his position on both sides of the board. Eventually the Topalov kingside attack runs out of steam. He resigns on the collapse of his queenside pawn structure.
Ivanchuk’s over-elaborate knight manoeuvre on the Black side of a Ruy Lopez cedes an opening advantage to Leko. Within a few moves Leko has control of the queenside, and a strong hold on the centre. That hold produces a win of a pawn, ejecting Ivanchuk into a lost pawn endgame.
Svidler – Bacrot
Svidler adopts Topalov’s esoteric Petroff line, but instead of playing for a thematic kingside attack he switches to a positional mode and gains a tiny edge through his kingside space advantage. In the double rook ending Svidler has the better pawn structure and he makes it count by a number of subtle and accurate rook diversions.
Vallejo Pons – Aronian
Vallejo follows in the footsteps of Bu Xiangzhi’s English opening variation, but Aronian is happy to allow a repetition of position rather than step on the same landmine that claimed Bu’s opponent in the recent Aeroflot tournament.