Svidler gets the upperhand against Morozevich but overstretches allowing Morozevich to destroy his queenside and claim his first win. Anand fights hard to defend a draw in a long endgame against Kramnik. Grischuk pulls out of a lethal attack against Aronian, satisfying himself to a draw. Leko finds himself on the backfoot against Gelfand after having a superior position in the middle game, but defends a draw in a long struggle.
Morozevich – Svidler
True to style, Morozevich adopts the Scotch Game. Svidler gets his light-squared bishop strongly into play on c4 supporting the freeing …d5 which rebuffs any Morozevich advantage. Svidler has the advantage out of the opening. Svidler pursues a plan that looks to give him the initiative, this allows Morozevich into the driving seat as he prepares to encircle Svidler’s pieces. Svidler penetrates with his queen deep into White’s position, and its there he realises his initiative is illusory and that his queen is close to trapped. Morozevich misses a strong continuation, but his play is good enough to expose the weaknesses of Svidler’s position. Svidler is in deep trouble. Morozevich uses his two bishops, pawn centre, and takes advantage of Svidler’s besieged queen to create inroads into Black’s position and to scatter his pieces and demolish the Black queenside. Svidler caves in and resigns.
Anand – Kramnik
In a fairly standard classical Petroff sees Anand employ an unusual queen manoeuvre which basically repeats the position and allows Kramnik to exchange off queens. Anand heads into a forcing line which allows Kramnik to win a pawn. But that pawn is not enough to win. Kramnik, however, pushes long into the endgame forcing Anand to defend very carefully. Anand defends by keeping his rook behind Kramnik’s passed pawn, thus making it very difficult for Kramnik to make any headway. Anand neutralises the kingside and setup up a nice finish forcing a stalemate in the pawn ending.
Grischuk – Aronian
Aronian employs the aggressive 9… d5 against Grischuk’s Anti-Marshall Ruy Lopez which leads to open play in a balanced position. Grischuk sacrifices a pawn to break up Black’s kingside pawn structure and begin an attack against the Black king. All of Grischuk’s pieces make their way to the weak light squares around Aronian’s king, but instead of pressing his advantage Grischuk decides to force a repetition of position instead and claim a draw.
Leko – Gelfand
Its Leko’s turn to see if the 5. Nc3 variation of the Petroff can best Gelfand. He tries the unusual 10. h3 which allows Gelfand to smash Leko’s kingside pawn structure. Leko gets the open g-file and an h-pawn battering ram, but Gelfand has counterplay in the centre. Leko regroups, doubling his rooks on the g-file and occupying a central spot with his bishop. Gelfand weakens his kingside which gives Leko a target to aim at. Leko uses this advantage to inflict serious damage on Gelfand’s kingside pawn structure. Gelfand fights back, strongly centralising his major pieces which puts Leko on the back foot. The game heads into a queen and pawns endgame with Gelfand trying to squeeze as much out of the position as possible. Leko defends doggedly, and Gelfand throws in the towel to accept a draw on move 100.