Topalov prevails in a long tough struggle against Leko. Kramnik demolishes Aronian’s Anti-Moscow. Carlsen reacts well to Polgar’s early queen trip to earn the full point. Eljanov reacts well to Mamedyarov’s Giuoco, and gains a draw in a lengthy manoeuvring game. Radjabov’s Exchange Ruy Lopez is enough for a draw against Adams. Ivanchuk equalises easily against Anand.
Leko – Topalov
Another duel in the positional variants of the Najdorf Sicilian, the position is balanced out of the opening, both sides manoeuvring finding better squares for their pieces. Topalov takes the initiative creating pawn wedges on the centre and kingside. Leko breaks out on the queenside, installing a strong knight deep into Black’s position. Leko gradually takes over the initiative but Topalov’s pressure pulls the game back into balance. As the position opens Topalov’s pieces find better squares, and Leko finds himself on the back foot fighting for his life the wrong side of a losing endgame. Topalov’s two central passed pawns are incredibly dangerous, and Topalov makes no mistake converting it into a win.
Kramnik – Aronian
Kramnik follows Aronian’s Anti-Moscow Semi-Slav game against Gustafsson from the World Cup last year, but improves with 15. Bg4 sacrificing another pawn to retain the initiative. Aronian gives up a knight for a third pawn, re-establishing material equality. Aronian has a massive pawn phalanx on the queenside, and they threaten to overrun White’s position. Kramnik’s minority attack on the queenside seems to spook Aronian who misses an immediate chance to cash in on his pawns. Kramnik sacrifices a knight to open lines for his major pieces. Kramnik’s pressure forces Aronian’s once-proud queenside pawns to crumble. Kramnik’s endgame is just winning, and Aronian battles another thirty moves before finally throwing in the towel.
Carlsen – Polgar
Polgar’s unusual queen manoeuvre in the Classical Nimzo-Indian sees her regain a pawn and exchange off the queens. After that its all one-way traffic as Carlsen builds up an advantage, converts that to a win of a pawn, and Polgar’s position is hopeless.
Mamedyarov – Eljanov
Mamedyarov plays an ancient variation of the Giuoco Piano and arrives at a solid equal position. Both sides manoeuvre around for a plan. Mamedyarov toils hard, inflicts weaknesses in Eljanov’s pawn structure, but Eljanov holds the position. Eljanov starts to get the upper hand. Neither side can make much progress, so they agree to a draw.
Radjabov – Adams
Radjabov and Adams follow an old line of the Exchange Ruy Lopez, Adams emerges with a slight advantage thanks to a misstep from Radjabov, but is satisfied to split the points with Radjabov.
Anand – Ivanchuk
Ivanchuk tries an unusual knight development in a Classical Caro-Kann. Anand’s reaction allows Ivanchuk to reposition his light-squared bishop on d5 which nullifies any White advantage. Ivanchuk is happy to settle for a draw.
van Wely – Gelfand
The position from a Queen’s Indian is solidly equal. Nothing exciting to play for, so the players agree to split the points.