Topalov’s kingside attack results in a superior ending that gets converted in Topalov style. Bacrot is solid against Kamsky. Ponomariov whittles Svidlers hedgehog.
Anand – Topalov
Topalov’s rapid b-pawn thrust in a Sicilian pushes Anand’s English Attack off-balance. Topalov quickly equalises and starts to pile on the pressure, forcing the entry of his rook into White’s second rank. Topalov sacrifices a knight to open Anand’s king to a barrage of threats from Black’s strongly centralised pieces. This forces Anand to exchange a defending rook for Topalov’s two minor pieces. Topalov’s extra kingside pawns and his rooks hold the initiative and brings home the full point.
Bacrot – Kamsky
Kamsky enters into the same gritty Slav-Grunfeld that saw it end badly against Topalov. He gets some kingside and central pressure to alleviate the lack of space. Bacrot prepares and carries out a typical queenside pawn storm, to be met with a thematic central break from Kamsky. After some gritty manoeuvring Kamsky enters an endgame with two bishops, but Bacrot’s collected defence sees the position whittle down to a draw by repetition.
Ponomariov – Svidler
Svidler adopts the Sicilian Kan, and plays into a typical hedgehog position with a weakened d6-pawn. In the major piece middle game Ponomariov’s pieces get better squares as he assumes the initiative. Svidler’s chances are ground into dust. Ponomariov’s pressure nets him a strong passed pawn as Svidler desparately seeks a breakthrough to White’s king, but Ponomariov bundles the game into a winning rook and pawns endgame.