Anand secures his hold of first place with a tough draw against Kramnik. Aronian struggles but overcomes Grischuk in a well calculated finish. Svidler’s enterprising play is almost enough to dispatch Morozevich, but in the tense struggle, Svidler misses the winning continuation. Leko allows a perpetual check.
Kramnik – Anand
The Anti-Moscow Gambit appears again, Anand seemingly comfortable on the Black side after a brilliant win against Aronian in round 2. Kramnik unveils a new move (17. b3), and gets a knight into d6. This convinces Anand to sacrifice the exchange. In the intricate semi-endgame, Kramnik tries to prise open Black’s king. Anand defuses that initiative, so Kramnik switches to exploiting the weak pawns on the kingside, while Anand activates his pieces against the White kingside position. The position returns to balance, and with Anand holding a slight advantage, Kramnik offers a draw.
Aronian – Grischuk
Aronian plays an unorthodox Queen’s Gambit Declined and heads into a Catalan. Grischuk comes out fighting, but the game quickly settles down into a typical Queen’s Gambit structure. Grischuk sacrifices a pawn to fire up his kingside attack, but Aronian’s knights keep the position under control, allowing him to pursue his central ambitions. That gives Grischuk the opportunity to push forward against Aronian’s kingside. Grischuk misses an opportunity to push forward with his hanging pawns, handing the initiative back to Aronian. Grischuk parts with the exchange to hang onto his pawn centre, but Aronian quickly returns it to break it up. In the endgame with seven isolated pawns Aronian cleans up with an elegant mating attack.
Gelfand – Leko
In the well-trodden paths of the Catalan, the players reach a balanced and solid position. Leko’s queenside pawn expansion goes to naught, and he provokes a piece sacrifice on the kingside that enables Gelfand to force a perpetual check.
Svidler – Morozevich
Against Morozevich’s Caro-Kann, Svidler opts for the modern 5. Ng5 treatment. Morozevich produces the first new move by adopting a sideline continuation (15… c5) that hasn’t been seriously tested before. Svidler tries to use his slight advantage to open up kingside operations against the uncastled Black king. This allows Morozevich some counterplay and a space advantage on the queenside which equalises the position. Morozevich manages to untangle his kingside and complete his development. Svidler neutralises Morozevich’s queenside space and prepares to engage the now (artificially) castled Black king, but he misses the most direct continuation by playing an intermezzo which forces Morozevich into a slightly better position. Svidler’s initiative fizzles, and Morozevich emerges with a clear advantage. Svidler sacrifices a pawn to activate his pieces and open lines for an attack, but misses a winning continuation, and has to give back his extra pawn. There’s no more to play for and a draw is agreed.