Radjabov derails van Wely for the only decisive game in round one, Motylev gets the upperhand against Topalov but agrees to a draw. Kramnik and Carlsen equalises easily against Karjakin and Tiviakov. Shirov and Svidler share some aggressive moves but it ends peacefully. Navara invests a pawn and draws by repetition. Anand has an interesting development idea on the Black side of Ponomariov’s Catalan.
van Wely – Radjabov
Van Wely opts for his preferred Bayonet Attack versus Radjabov’s Kings Indian Defence. Radjabov plays a new move in 15… Bf6. In a complicated struggle, Radjabov gets the better prospects. Van Wely offers a pawn sacrifice with 20. Ne2, but it allows a Black knight deep into White’s position. Although van Wely exchanges off this knight, he can’t prevent the infiltration of the Black heavy pieces down the c-file. Black slowly creeps forward on the queenside, driving the White pieces back, and a tactical sequence starting with an exchange sacrifice (39… Rxb3!) forces van Wely to resign.
Topalov – Motylev
After a Czech Slav, the pieces quickly get hoovered off the board, leaving a rather sterile position. Topalov misjudges the position, and allows Motylev to break in the centre (19… e5) which gives Black an edge. Topalov misses a few opportunities to re-balance the position, but does enough to agree a draw after 24 moves.
Karjakin – Kramnik
Karjakin uses the fashionable 5. Nc3 line agains Kramnik’s Petroff. Karjakin handles the opening quietly, allowing Kramnik to equalise comfortably. Karjakin’s kingside attack gets nowhere, except to allow Kramnik to take control of the e-file, and he uses the better rooks to hold a the typical endgame in this Petroff variation.
Shirov – Svidler
In a Classical Exchange Grunfeld, Shirov manages to erect a pawn centre. Svidler immediately takes action against it (17… e6), but is forced to conceed the long-black diagonal after Shirov engineers a White pawn landing on f6 (20. f6). With Svidler starting to take the upperhand a draw is agreed by repetition of position.
Tiviakov – Carlsen
Carlsen gets an edge in the Nimzowitsch Sicilian against Tiviakov’s 2. c3, and after a temporary piece sacrifice (17… Rac8) Carlsen annexes the back rank, and enters a balanced major pieces endgame where a draw is agreed.
Navara – Aronian
Aronian annexes a pawn in a Cambridge Springs Queen’s Gambit, but Navara has compensation in his better development. Aronian returns the material, allowing Navara to initiate an attack on the Black king, which resolves the game into a draw by repetition.
Ponomariov – Anand
Anand plays an interesting developing plan (10… Ra7) against Ponomariov’s Catalan, but Ponomariov retains an edge. A little hasty play and his dark-squared bishop is removed from the board, and a draw is agreed some moves later.