Carlsen’s grip crushes Ivanchuk. Aronian and Leko engage in an exciting struggle, so to do Svidler and Topalov.
Carlsen – Ivanchuk
Carlsen employs the Classical Exchange against Ivanchuk’s Grunfeld. Carlsen emerges with a clear advantage, even when both pairs of rooks are swapped off. He locks down on the dark-squares around Ivanchuk’s king. Ivanchuk’s queen is too far away from the kingside, and he can only meekly fend off White’s threats only to walk into a nasty pin on the queenside. Carlsen exploits the pin by a central advance, and wins material, which he easily converts into a win.
Morozevich – Anand
Morozevich unveils an unusual twist in a Queen’s Indian, and its enough to emerge from the opening with a tiny edge in the resulting Catalan-like structure. After Anand defuses an emerging initiative from Morozevich the game settles down into a solid middlegame where neither side can make much progress, so by repetition of position both players are satisfied with a draw.
Aronian – Leko
Leko offers a Modern Benoni, but Aronian opts for a Symmetrical English set-up. The position slides into a Maroczy bind territory, with Aronian striking first with a 16. c5 thrust to seize an advantage. Leko defends and takes over the initiative on the queenside, forcing a series of retreats from Aronian. Leko builds up a dominating position with a clear advantage. Aronian’s tenacious defence reduces Leko’s edge and winning chances. The double rook endgame brings a draw.
Svidler – Topalov
Svidler avoids the miscue that landed him in trouble against the same opponent in Corus 2007. Topalov builds up an initiative on the queenside against Svidler’s king. Svidler defends cautiously and regains the initiative, forcing Topalov into a series of exchanges that hasten the endgame. Svidler sacrifices a knight to open up Topalov’s king and forces a perpetual to settle the draw.