Radjabov’s coordinated attacks across the board prove too much for Tiviakov. Topalov blasts Shirov in home preparation in the Grunfeld. Navara battles hard to save the game against Kramnik. Svidler struggles against Ponomariov but splits the point. Karjakin’s enterprising play is enough to secure a draw against van Wely. Anand, Carlsen, Motylev and Aronian are happy to quietly share the points.
Radjabov – Tiviakov
Tiviakov’s Accelerated Dragon is not enough to escape from Radjabov’s opening mastery, and Radjabov holds a decent advantage in the middlegame. After a prolonged manoeuvring sequence Radjabov initiates a kingside attack. Tiviakov’s queenside is a little tied up, but conjures up enough play to defuse the kingside threats. Radjabov alternates play between the semi-open d-file and the kingside, and after exchanging Black’s active pieces, Radjabov has a strong position. Tiviakov offers a stout resistance, and Radjabov struggles to make progress. A combined series of threats against Black’s weak pawns on d6 and f6 followed by a pawn sacrifice engineers an entry of the White pieces into Tiviakov’s position. Radjabov alternates play across the board stretching the defensive capabilities of the Black pieces, and finally concludes matters with a decisive attack on the Black king.
Topalov – Shirov
Topalov declines to enter the myriad complexities of the Seville variation of the Exchange Grunfeld, and withdraws his light-squared bishop. Topalov plays a thematic exchange sacrifice, ridding Black’s potent dark-squared bishop for the a1-rook, following the game Najer – Krasenkow, but improves with 25. Qd4. Topalov builds up strong pressure on the kingside with a redeployment of his knight, and the combined threats against the Black king and White’s passed d-pawn is enough to compel Shirov to resign.
Kramnik – Navara
The queens come off the board quickly in a Symmetrical English. Kramnik emerges with a slight edge thanks to Black’s weak c-pawn. After a tactical sequence Kramnik forces entry in to the Black position, but Navara’s active play ensures his position doesn’t complete fall apart. Kramnik enters the endgame with a healthy advantage, but Navara’s stubborn defence splits the points.
Svidler – Ponomariov
Ponomariov has a comfortable Sicilian Najdorf position against Svidler. Through the tense middlegame Ponomariov increases his advantage, but misses an opportunity to have a go at the White king (21… Na3+). Svidler does enough to convince Ponomariov to share the point.
van Wely – Karjakin
Karjakin’s enterprising play makes no impact against van Wely’s Nimzo Indian fianchetto. Karjakin switches to the kingside – offering up a pawn sacrifice on the queenside to stir up trouble against the White king. Another rook sacrifice by Karjakin secures a perpetual check.
Carlsen – Anand
Anand plays a solid Sicilian Najdorf and a draw is agreed when Anand’s queenside produces some activity to balance the position.
Motylev – Aronian
Aronian employs a Steintz variation against Motylev’s Ruy Lopez, and Motylev gains nothing from the opening. A repetition of position concludes matters.