1.d4 When asked to make few comments about the present game, Ponomariov started with the following: "It was very difficult to concentrate on chess in this game because it was very hot in the playing hall". Indeed, the Ukrainian was visibly disturbed by the high temperature and looked really happy that he got out of the playing area to reach some cooler places.
1...Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Be7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Qc2 a6 8.a4 Bd7 9.Qxc4 Bc6 10.Bg5 h6 11.Bxf6 Bxf6 12.Nc3 Bxf3 13.Bxf3 c6 14.Rad1 a5 15.e4 Nd7 16.e5 Be7 17.Be4 Qb6 18.f4 White's aggressive plan looks strong, but it is far from simple to break through. His main problem is the weak pawn on d4. Notice that due to the pin on the a7-g1 diagonal White does not threat to advance f4-f5 yet. Actually a closer look will reveal some weak dark squares in White's position.
18...Rad8 19.Qe2 Carlsen: "I was very happy with my position here". However, after Ponomariov's strong answer it seems that Black faces no particular problems. [19.f5? runs into 19...Nxe5 ]
19...Nb8! Opens the d-file for the rook and transfers the knight to a better position. Actually with this move backwards the knight is heading for square d5.
20.Qf2 [20.f5 The mentioned by Carlsen 20.f5 is an interesting, but of course risky pawn sacrifice.]
20...Na6 21.Kh1 [Again 21.f5 is premature due to the very strong answer 21...f6! and Black's pieces are better placed for the opening of the position.]
21...f5! 22.Bb1 [Both players agreed that better was 22.Bf3 preventing 22...h5 and preparing 23.g4.]
22...h5! 23.h3 g6 24.Ba2 Nc7 Right in time to protect everything.
25.g4 Black is very solid and has no troubles at all to face this advance.
25...hxg4 26.hxg4 Kf7 27.Kg2 Rh8 28.g5! A common quality for many strong players is to feel the danger and switch from their initial aggressive intentions to a more realistic approach. The position started to become dangerous for White and Carlsen rightly leaves aside his ambitions, trying to keep the balance now.
28...Rh7 29.Rh1 Rxh1 30.Kxh1 Rh8+ 31.Kg2 Qa6 "I was happy that we passed the limit of 30 moves and I could finally offer a draw" said Ponomariov immediately after the game. 1/2-1/2