The opening in Ponomariov-Naiditsch was a traditional line of the Nimzoindian where White obtains the bishop pair. The Ukrainian obtained a strong initiative in the middlegame by sacrificing a pawn to liberate his bishops. Black then struggled to find safe squares for his pieces and was always under pressure. At the end, despite the limited material, Naiditsch resigned as he faced a direct mating net.
|Name||Rating||Country||Result||Name||Rating||Country||No. of Moves||Opening|
|Peter Leko||2734||HUN||0.5-0.5||Vladimir Kramnik||2790||RUS||31||Catalan Opening|
|Ruslan Ponomariov||2734||UKR||1-0||Arkadij Naiditsch||2684||GER||46||Nimzoindian Defence|
|Le Quang Liem||2681||VIE||0.5-0.5||Shakhriyar Mamedyarov||2761||AZE||52||Catalan Opening|
Both today's Catalans (definitely the most fashionable opening amongst the elite at the moment) led to draws. Leko against Kramnik led to early simplification and assymetric pawns, but the rook and knight ending only led to a repetition.
Mamedyarov played a solid system against Le Quang Liem and then, in order to make progress, the Vietnamese player took some risks on the kingside. Soon however it was Mamedyarov who avoided the repetition and he created some pressure by advancing his king up the board, but it was insufficient for more than half-a-point.
|Posn.||Player's Name||Wld. Ranking||Nation||Rating||Points|
|2nd-3rd||Le Quang Liem||55||VIE||2681||4.5|
With two rounds to go Ponomariov's lead will be difficult to bridge baring a dramatic performance by one of the chasing players.
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