Anish Giri – Ding Liren ½ – ½
Anish Giri was slightly better for the first half of the game but missed a very nice positional exchange sacrifice that allowed black to have long term compensation. At some point, the Dutchman felt that his opponent wasn’t playing the most optimal moves and decided to sacrifice the exchange back for a chance to attack. This allowed Black to have some real winning chances but it meant running his king down the board, which is a scary decision. Of course, the computers calculated out the win, but for a human being playing such moves is not easy. Instead, he allowed his opponent to give a perpetual.
Veselin Topalov – Maxime Vachier-Lagrave ½ – ½
The players blitzed out 26 moves of theory and surprisingly Veselin Topalov’s first move out of theory was a blunder. He himself seemed surprised as he had looked at the position the night before and knew that the move was a blunder, but for some reason played it anyway. In the postgame interview, he joked that his plan wasn’t to get a pawn down position out of the opening with white. The Frenchman went for the most obvious continuation missing a subtlety that would have given him a big advantage. He was up a pawn in knight vs bishop endgame, but his opponent had enough counter play to draw the game.