Anand fends off a Leko initiative, and sacrifices an exchange to liquidate into a very promising endgame. Ivanchuk grounds down Aronian in a positional contest. Topalov has a slice of luck against Morozevich. Svidler’s little flurry of activity registers a draw.
Leko – Anand
Anand’s rapid queenside expansion against Leko’s Catalan looks risky as Leko builds up a comfortable advantage. Anand defends tenaciously, and gradually takes over the initiative with a strong centralisation of his pieces. In the double rooks and bishops middle game, Anand is on top. Anand sacrifices an exchange to hasten the endgame where his queenside pawns are very strong. Leko resigns knowing Anand’s queenside pawns are virtually unstoppable.
Ivanchuk – Aronian
Aronian gets a solid Queen’s Gambit position from his Ragozin defence. Ivanchuk lands Aronian with an isolated pawn and proceeds to build up pressure. Aronian jettisons the weak pawn in an attempt to gain compensation, but Ivanchuk remorselessly increases his advantage, and grounds Aronian’s position right down.
Topalov – Morozevich
Topalov is a little unsure on the white side of a Classical French. Morozevich plays a thematic pawn sacrifice with 9… g5?! to break up White’s kingside. Black’s initiative is bolstered with a typical (but risky) French knight-sacrifice to remove White’s pawn centre. Morozevich regains his sacrificed material with a forced knight manoeuvre, leaving him a pawn up, but allowing Topalov to take over the initiative late in the middle game. With Morozevich’s king stuck in the centre and his queenside undeveloped, Topalov has ample compensation for his pawn. Morozevich blunders just before time control.
Svidler – Carlsen
Carlsen adopts an Accelerated Dragon against Svidler’s unusual move-order. Carlsen accepts an isolated d-pawn and the two bishops. Svidler builds up an advantage on the queenside, but heads straight for a draw.