The play through the first five games of both the Hikaru Nakamura vs. Ruslan Ponomariov and Ben Finegold vs. Ray Robson matches had been spotty, but both of today's victors finished off with model games.
In the marquee match, Nakamura won a strategically complete QGD that could go straight to the textbook. Black's pawns were fixed on light squares and his queen's bishop never got into the game, and as a result Ponomariov's forces were suffocated. Ponomariov himself confessed he wasn't sure what went wrong, while Nakamura thought the crucial mistake might have come as soon as 10...a6. Nakamura thus came back from his game 1 loss to win the classical match 3.5-2.5.
Meanwhile, Robson entered the round with a one point lead, and thus needed to hold Finegold off to assure himself of victory in the match. Finegold did manage one important achievement with Black, and that was a messy game. He got that with the Dragon Sicilian, complete with opposite-sides castling and mutual attacks. Unfortunately for the home team, Robson's 23.g4! helped ensure that he got there first. After Finegold's 27...Re2 there's only one way for White to avoid getting mated, and the good news for Robson is that it's by delivering mate himself with a simple but attractive queen sac. Robson thus won his match 4-2.
Tomorrow is a rest day, and then the players will resume battle with 4-game rapid matches starting Tuesday.