Topalov smashes Kramnik with a well-prepared knight sacrifice in the super-hot Anti-Moscow Semi Slav. Carlsen’s Breyer is mauled by Leko. Adams’ Sozin Sicilian gets the positional treatment as he forces van Wely’s resignation. Polgar reacts aggressively to Radjabov’s Schliemann Gambit, and sacrifices a piece to force a perpetual check. Ivanchuk has a tense and hard-fought scrap with Mamedyarov that ends in a draw. Eljanov equalises easily against Aronian’s English. Gelfand and Anand split the points.
Topalov – Kramnik
In a main line Anti-Moscow Gambit Semi-Slav played thousands of times Topalov uncorks a knight sacrifice, and follows it with a steady build-up of piece activity around the Black king. Topalov’s other knight wends its way to a strong outpost deep in the heart of Kramnik’s position. Kramnik gives back the extra material by centralising his queen and removing the d-pawn. Kramnik’s king makes its way to the queenside by it comes under fire from Topalov’s rooks supporting a queenside pawn storm. Kramnik makes a decisive error that sets up Topalov’s finish, which involves trading his queen for a rook and knight. Topalov dominates the centre, and both Kramnik’s king and queen are harassed by Topalov’s remaining pieces. With the Black king locked away in the corner, Topalov’s passed e-pawn seals the win.
Leko – Carlsen
Leko gets a slight advantage against Carlsen’s Breyer Ruy Lopez. Carlsen expands on the queenside, but his freeing move of …d5 gets him into difficulties. The mass of exchanges leaves Leko with a pair of connected passed pawns on the queenside. Carlsen’s two knights are unable to deal with the passed pawns. With White’s queen, rook and a-pawn on the seventh rank Carlsen is out of options, and resigns.
Adams – van Wely
Adams adopts a brutal Sozin Sicilian instead of his normal classical approach. With the exchange of dark-squared bishops Adams switches from direct kingside aggression to targeting Black’s weak d-pawn. Van Wely has sufficient resources to defend the pawn, but misses a chance to equalise with …d5, opting for playing on the dark-squares on the kingside. This lets Adams open the c-file with decisive. Van Wely finally manages to play …d5, but its too late. As the exchanges reduce the tension, White’s decisive advantage is enough for van Wely to throw in the towel.
Polgar – Radjabov
Radjabov plays the Schliemann Gambit against Polgar’s Ruy Lopez, an opening system rarely seen at Grandmaster level. Radjabov sacrifices a piece and gets compensation in a strong pair of bishops. Polgar returns the material and sacrifices a piece herself that forces a perpetual check.
Ivanchuk – Mamedyarov
Ivanchuk meets Mamedyarov’s Grunfeld with a Classical Exchange gaining a typical Grunfeld pawn centre. Mamedyarov reacts thematically by advancing his queenside pawn majority, but he struggles to develop his kingside. Mamedyarov manages to break up Ivanchuk’s centre, and safeguard his locked-in rook. Ivanchuk misses a strong continuations (29. Qh4!, 30. Nc7). Mamedyarov blockades the e6-square, holding back the potent white d-pawn and holds a small advantage. A rook sacrifice from Ivanchuk forces a breach through to Black’s king, and Mamedyarov is forced to return the gift sharing the points.
Aronian – Eljanov
Its a quiet position out of a Four Knights English Defence. Eljanov unfurls his game neatly, equalises rather easily. Aronian has no advantage so he’s consoles himself with a half-point.
Gelfand – Anand
Anand defends the Black side of an open Catalan. Anand manages to get his freeing move …c5 before Gelfand can fully extract his central pawn advantage. Anand takes over the initiative. He removes some of the tension from the position and gains a nice edge, but is happy to split the points.