Anand wins in a complicated and tactical game against Aronian. Kramnik sacrifices a piece for positional compensation of a mobile pawn phalanx. Morozevich runs into time trouble in a very complicated position and his position unravels allowing Kramnik to claim his first win of the tournament. Svidler confounds Leko with a rare move in the Marshall, and a draw is agreed after a long struggle. Gelfand and Grischuk share a few fireworks and take a draw.
Kramnik crunches Morozevich in a brilliant blend of strategy and tactics, including a superbly calculated piece sacrifice. Morozevich struggled in the monstrously complicated position, and went down in heavy time trouble. Anand chalks up his first win thanks to a Peter Heine Nielsen novelty and a clever manoeuvre to tame Aronian’s fierce counterplay. Svidler unleashes a surprising novelty on the White side of a Marshall Attack, Leko reacts well and both players play well in the difficult semi-endgame. Gelfand and Grischuk were the first to finish in a shortish, but not uneventful draw.
Svidler – Leko
Its a Marshall Gambit, but Svidler opts for the rare line 15. Qe2 which forces Leko to use up a lot of time. The idea is to hold back the White dark-squared bishop which tends to be on e3 and in some lines is left en prise. Leko has a long think but there’s no convincing tactics that lead to an advantage. Leko looks to be in trouble, but he pulls his position together and the game heads into a like-coloured bishop endgame with the queens on, with Svidler a pawn up. Leko defends the endgame stubbornly, and its a draw.
Gelfand – Grischuk
Grischuk plays an unusual Bogo-like line of the Queen’s Indian. Gelfand gets a small advantage, but its whittled away quite quickly. Grischuk embarks on a plan to install a knight on c3, and Gelfand is forced to temporarily ditch the exchange, and a double attack reclaims it. In a balanced position, both players take a draw.
Aronian – Anand
Anand provokes a Moscow variation of the Semi-Slav, something Topalov previously did and paid a heavy price for it. The opening is wild and complicated, thanks to a novelty courtesy of Anand’s second, Peter Heine Nielsen (17… c5). Aronian temporarily sacrifices a piece, but Anand finds a beautiful zwischenzug that entombs Aronian’s powerful dark-squared bishop. Anand takes a strong hold of the position, and Aronian buckles under pressure and blunders, causing his rook to be locked out of the game. Aronian struggles on an exchange down, but Anand is remorseless and clinically finishes.
Kramnik – Morozevich
Morozevich chooses the same line as Carlsen against Kramnik’s Catalan and tries to hold onto the extra pawn. Kramnik applies pressure and forces in a clever e4-pawn break, and sacrifices a knight. Morozevich accepts the gambit and Kramnik creates a powerful pawn phalanx in the centre of a monstrously complicated position. Morozevich tries to fend off the threats with tactics of his own, but fails to find the best defence, allowing Kramnik to regain his sacrificed material and still retain the upper hand. Morozevich has one single chance of saving the game but misses a key resource in desperate time trouble. Morozevich resigns.