Anand’s exchange sacrifice pays dividends against Shirov. Topalov beats Aronian from a eccentric Nimzo-Indian. Leko bludgeons Radjabov’s Sveshnikov. Carlsen draws with Ivanchuk.
Shirov – Anand
Anand meets Shirov’s aggressive main-line Sicilian Najdorf with an exchange sacrifice to damage White’s queenside. Shirov commences operations in the centre, sacrificing a pawn open lines against the Black king. But Anand takes over the initiative and with a series of threats, the attack on the White king. In desperate trouble Shirov blunders allowing Black an unstoppable mate.
Topalov – Aronian
Aronian gets an edge from the Romanishin Nimzo-Indian, but quickly goes loses it as Topalov’s fianchettoed light-squared bishop makes it hard for Aronian to develop his queenside. Topalov makes full use of his bishop pair and rook pair to prevent Aronian from completing his development. Aronian buckles under the pressure and drops the exchange and his position collapses.
Leko – Radjabov
Radjabov builds up typical kingside play on the Black side of a Sveshnikov Sicilian, but it is Leko’s pressure against the d6-pawn that gives White a slight advantage. Leko turns the screws on the position, and Black’s pawn centre collapses. The White rook enters the seventh rank, and Radjabov drops a piece.
Carlsen – Ivanchuk
Carlsen’s Bc4 line against Ivanchuk’s Sicilian Najdorf allows him thematic pressure down the d-file. In the series of exchanges leaves a semi-endgame where the d6-pawn is still weak. Ivanchuk’s queenside sortie breaks up the position and it dissolves into a rook and minor piece endgame where both parties are contented with a draw.