Radjabov has an elegant finish against Shirov’s attempted improvement over van Wely’s round one play in the Bayonet Attack. Karjakin has Topalov on the ropes all through the game and agrees to draw when still in a stronger position. Ponomariov locks up Carlsen’s position and quickly notches up the full point. Anand’s improvement in the Marshall Gambit encourages Aronian to sacrifice two pieces to establish a perpetual check. Kramnik and Tiviakov quickly steam through to a draw. Svidler battles hard to neutralise Navara’s middlegame advantage, and van Wely’s brutish play is met with Motylev’s counterattack which lands them in a balanced endgame.
Shirov – Radjabov
Shirov repeats van Wely’s Bayonet attack against Radjabov’s Kings Indian, and deviates with 17. Kg2. His pressure on the d6-pawn doesn’t succeed in establishing an advantage. Radjabov opens up the kingside with a pawn-storm (27… h5 and 30… g4), sacrificing the d6-pawn on the way. Shirov then sacrifices his queen to unleash an attack on the Black king. Both sides press with their attacks, Shirov even commandeering an open kingside file Black has created. Radjabov settles matters with an elegant queen sacrifice to create an unstoppable passed pawn. Radjabov emerges from the complications an exchange up, and quickly settles matters by trapping the White king in a mating net.
Karjakin – Topalov
Karjakin plays circumspectly against Topalov’s Najdorf and centralises. After Topalov nips Karjakin’s kingside pawn storm in the bud with 13… h4, Karjakin switches to applying pressure in the centre in conjunction to threats on the queenside. Karjakin gains an advantage because of his centralised pieces, and that advantage grows. Topalov defends the endgame stubbornly, and Karjakin misses a number of better chances to clinch the win (with 42. Qh5! for example). Karjakin acceeds to a draw in a position he still stands much better.
Ponomariov – Carlsen
Ponomariov emerges with a slender advantage from a Topalov-favourite variation of the Queen’s Gambit Slav (4… a6), after Carlsen goes for the unorthodox 7… Ra7. Carlsen refuses the pseudo-sacrifice (on 11. Bb5), and Ponomariov takes control of the c-file and the threat to win an exchange forces Carlsen to ditch his queen for a rook and knight. Ponomariov dominates the position and he prevents Carlsen from developing his queenside rook, entombed by his own dark-squared bishop. Carlsen resigns as White threatens to win all his queenside pieces.
Anand – Aronian
Aronian delves into a Marshall Gamit against Anand’s Ruy Lopez. Anand improves on a previous Aronian game with Shirov with 19. Qg2. Anand proceed to build up a strong edge. Aronian sacrifices two pieces to set up a perpetual check.
Tiviakov – Kramnik
Tiviakov essays 3. d4 against Kramnik’s Petroff, and pieces get swept off the board pretty quickly. Kramnik emerges in the double rook endgame with more active rooks, and regains the temporary pawn deficit. A short draw.
Navara – Svidler
Navara’s English move order prevents Svidler from adopting his customary Grunfeld. Svidler gets a little to ambitions, allowing Navara to get a knight stuck in at b7 along with a definite advantage. Navara opens the a-file, exchanging rooks and leaves Black with control of that file, and leaving Black with a slight edge. A draw agreed in a complex position with Black retaining a slight edge.
van Wely – Motylev
Out of an English Four Knights defence, van Wely gains an advantage with some blugeoning play, but Motylev’s counterattack forces him to give up the exchange, which Motylev conceeds back a few moves later. The rook and opposite coloured bishops endgame is balanced, and a draw agreed after 53 moves.