Ivanchuk sews chaos into Topalov’s queenside, and Topalov buckles under the pressure. Anand defends an inferior endgame against Svidler. Aronian’s miscalculated piece sacrifice and Carlsen’s lax defence leaves both scarred players with a draw. Morozevich’s McCutcheon French forces Leko on the back foot, but he battles to a hard fought draw.
Anand – Svidler
Anand’s anti-Marshall Ruy Lopez entices Svidler into active play on the queenside. Svidler sacrifices a pawn for the two bishops and some lively piece play. Anand stumbles and falls into an opposite coloured bishops ending a pawn down. Anand’s activity in the endgame is sufficient to induce a draw.
Aronian – Carlsen
Out of a Catalan, Aronian’s light-squared bishop becomes very powerful early on, but Carlsen forces it to be exchanged off, and sacrifices a pawn to free his position. Aronian looks to be cruising to another win, but he outfoxes himself and sacrifices a piece, missing Black’s key defensive idea (20… f5!) which stems the kingside threats. Carlsen has a lapse in concentration which allows Aronian to draw by perpetual check.
Ivanchuk – Topalov
Ivanchuk’s solid opening play against Topalov lulls Black into a false sense of security. Ivanchuk swops off the light-squared bishops, and his queenside piece play snares the Black rook into undertaking a convoluted manoeuvre. Black is forced to defend his backward d6-pawn, allowing Ivanchuk a free hand to create more weaknesses. This nets Ivanchuk a pawn. Topalov struggles to gain compensation, and the pressure finally forces a blunder at time-control, and Topalov’s position collapses.
Leko – Morozevich
Morozevich essays the McCutcheon French against Leko and saddles him with isolated pawns on the queenside. Leko gradually improves his position, tenaciously denying Black any additional advantage. Leko sacrifices a pawn to get a strong knight on d6. He steers the game into a balanced double rook endgame, and both sides split the point.