Things heated up in the third round as fireworks erupted in many of the games. Ehlvest-Smirin went three tiebreaks before a winner could be determined. Ye Jiangchuan (Ye is the surname) is not one to back down from a brawl and his first game showed why he is one of the most tenacious players in the world. The climax of the game ended when Ye had penetrated the dark squares with his heavy pieces and used a passed pawn a diversionary weapon. While holding on for dear life, the Dutch GM's hopes were dashed after Ye's 53
d3! Ye's Chinese compatriot, Zhang Zhong didn't fare as well against Bulgarian GM Vesilin Topalov. Topalov played enterprising chess in both games, sacking his queen (for tremendous piece play) in the 1st game and an exchange (for a crushing bind on light squares) in the 2nd.
Smirin-Ehlvest played battling chess (Smirin's 34.Rxe5+ in game 1 was cute), but went three tiebreaks before Ehlvest would win the last after Smrin lost a rook in time pressure. Anand advanced by dispatching Vladislav Tkachiev, but perhaps his best display was the draw in game 1. The crowd was buzzing after Anand uncorked 27.Qb3!! forcing Tkachiev to defend precisely in order to draw. Ruslan Ponomariov advanced by polishing off Kiril Georgiev in a classic Ruy Lopez battle. The first pawn wasn't exchanged until move 24 when the board erupted. The young Ukrainian pressed forth, seized the initiative and played a nice pawn sacrifice to dominate the dark squares. The Bulgarian GM's clumsy knights could not hold off the onslaught and he had to resign.
Shirov-Motylev was an exciting battle featuring a disastrous 13-move miniature in the 1st tiebreak match. Motylev then beat Shirov forcing a 2nd tiebreak match. In the first game of the 2nd tiebreak, Motylev sacrificed a piece for three pawns in the Slav, exposing Shirov's king. The game picked up momentum and came to an abrupt end when Motylev would lose more material. Sakaev-Bareev featured a theoretical battle in a popular line of the Caro Kann. Bareev did not play his usual French defense either because he respected Sakaev's preparation, or because he did not want to reveal his own preparation until later. Game 2 of the 1st tiebreak featured the 5.g4!? line in the advanced variation of the Caro Kann and Sakaev deviated from the 13.Nxe4 he used to win in game one and played 13.f3. This experiment would be a disaster as Bareev plowed in on the dark squares and white never found a haven for the king.
Pairings (round 4)
Anand-Dreev; Topalov-Shirov; Ivanchuk-Ye; Nikolic-Lautier; Adams-Svidler; Azmaiparashvili-Gelfand; Morozevich-Ponomariov; Bareev-Ehlvest
Results (all rounds)