Aronian outplays Gelfand in a good game. Carlsen squeezes Eljanov. Ivanchuk holds Topalov in a Modern Benoni. Adams holds Leko in a long queen and pawns endgame. Radjabov holds Kramnik in a long endgame. Polgar has an uphill struggle to hold van Wely to a draw. Anand blows a strong position against Mamedyarov.
Gelfand – Aronian
Aronian essays the 4…a6 Slav, locking up the queenside pawn structure. Play switches to the centre where Aronian breaks with a typical …e5 which frees his position, and eliminates White’s c5-pawn and seizes the initiative because of White’s weak e3-pawn. As the lines open, Gelfand fails to get his king into safety. Gelfand forces an exchange of queens, but Aronian’s activity forces the win of a piece, and Gelfand’s resignation.
Carlsen – Eljanov
Carlsen comes out of the Grunfeld opening with a slight edge, Eljanov temporarily sacrificing a pawn to free his position. But Eljanov recoups a poisoned pawn, and Carlsen gains a lead in development with his more active pieces. Eljanov miscues allowing Carlsen to get his rooks into Black’s position. Carlsen increases the pressure and Black’s kingside crumples. The triumphant march of Carlsen’s king is the final victory parade before Eljanov’s resignation as his queenside disappears.
Topalov – Ivanchuk
Ivanchuk surprises Topalov with a Modern Benoni, and Topalov opts for the positional Nimzovitsch plan of routing his kingside knight to c4. Topalov swaps off an active knight for Black’s potentially weak light-squared bishop. With a temporary pawn-sacrifice Topalov creates a passed d-pawn, but Ivanchuk is deft at blockading the pawn. Topalov forces a draw by repetition.
Leko – Adams
Adams opts for a Zaitsev Ruy Lopez instead of the Marshall Attack and emerges from the opening with the two bishops. Leko has some play on the light squares and down the semi-open d-file. Adams gives up the d-pawn to get his rook into the c-file which demolishes White’s queenside. Adams miscues allowing Leko to grab a pawn by a neat exchange manoeuvre. Leko tries to force his way to a win, but Adams holds the queen and pawns endgame. Leko accedes to a draw before the 100 move barrier.
Kramnik – Radjabov
Kramnik fearlessly enters the main line of the classical King’s Indian, and emerges with a slight advantage. But a central break followed by the exchange of queens allows Radjabov to activate his bishops and rooks. Kramnik loses his way a little, and his advantage is whittled away by Radjabov. Kramnik wins a pawn, but Radjabov has enough resources to hold the long endgame.
van Wely – Polgar
Van Wely gets an advantage in a rather messy Nimzo Indian, both players opting to castle queenside. As the game whittles toward an endgame van Wely grows his advantage close to winning. But Polgar battles back hard to force a draw by perpetual
Anand – Mamedyarov
Mamedyarov sidesteps Anand’s Lopez by adopting the ancient Steinitz Defence. Thanks to Anand’s quiet play, Mamedyarov equalises fairly comfortably. But in the middle game Anand gains a large advantage. Anand strays in the endgame sacrificing a pawn for very little gain. He sees his massive advantage disappear, and so agrees to a draw.