Best game of the round was Radjabov against Loek van Wely. A strong Radjabov improvement on Kramnik-Anand in the Anti-Moscow Gambit, but van Wely manages to turn the tables from a desperate looking position, and is on the verge of winning. But an exchange sacrifice by Radjabov gives him defensive chances in the endgame, which he holds.
Aronian’s pawn sacrifice ties up Leko, but Leko manages to unravel his position. Mamedyarov’s aggression gives him the initiative against Kramnik, but its not enough for a decisive result. Anand draws quickly with Eljanov. Ivanchuk and Gelfand clash pawns in the opening, but a forced liquidation produces a clean draw. Carlsen has a brief initiative against Adams, but the queen exchange resolves the game into a draw.
Radjabov – van Wely
Van Wely is prepared to defend the Black pieces of the Anti-Moscow Gambit variation of the Semi Slav despite Radjabov’s mauling of Anand from Round 1. (Van Wely was Anand’s second in the Mexico World Championship tournament, and this variation was hotly contested and proved critical to Anand’s success in the tournament.) They follow Kramnik-Anand from Mexico until Radjabov uncorks a novelty with 16. d5 unleashing strong pressure against the stranded Black king. Radjabov gains a strong initiative and a pawn up. Van Wely reacts aggressively and the game is whittled into an endgame with van Wely having compensation for the pawn, thanks mainly to the restricted scope of White’s bishop and his far-flung passed pawn. Radjabov goes a little astray in the endgame losing his extra pawn, and van Wely is in the driving seat. Radjabov battles hard against van Wely’s strongly centralised army. Radjabov jettisons the exchange to relieve the pressure, and manages to create a solid defensible position with his bishop and pawn. Black’s sole a-pawn makes van Wely’s job of converting the position to the full point difficult – van Wely tries, but finds Radjabov alert, and the position is a book draw.
Aronian – Leko
Leko’s Queen’s Indian averts Aronian’s preferred Catalan. Aronian sacrifices a pawn for better development. Leko struggles to develop his queenside, and his centre squares are weakened. Aronian regains his pawn with his rook entering deep into Leko’s position. But Leko manages to unravel his position leaving an equal endgame.
Mamedyarov – Kramnik
Mamedyarov opts for a sideline in the Petroff. Kramnik emerges with an advantage against Mamedyarov’s insipid play. Mamedyarov’s aggression opens up the position and takes over the initiative. Mamedyarov opts to take the draw by chopping off all the rooks.
Eljanov – Anand
In a classical Nimzo Indian Anand neutralises Eljanov’s early advantage, and a quick draw ensues.
Ivanchuk – Gelfand
An English opening heads for new territory after move 5, with tangled up-pawns. Although Gelfand’s pawns threaten to engulf the centre, Ivanchuk initiates mass exchanges and emerges with a slight advantage, but Gelfand activates his pieces to retain the balance and a draw.
Polgar – Topalov
Judit introduces a novelty in a sideline Najdorf Sicilian and gains a strong advantage, but her over-aggression lets that advantage slip. Topalov fights back to enter a balanced endgame, and after the time control they agree a draw
Adams – Carlsen
Carlsen opts for the Open Ruy Lopez and Adams emerges from the opening with a small advantage. The opposite-coloured bishops offers both sides chances. Carlsen takes control of the only open file and creates some pressure against White’s king. Adams defuses the threats and is on the verge of taking over the initiative. Carlsen swaps off the queens and the resulting position warrants a draw.