After a dry pair of games in the Levon Aronian-Vladimir Kramnik match, today's battle was incredibly complicated - thanks to Aronian. Kramnik played 1.e4 for the first time in a long time, but not as a prelude to anything interesting; rather, he trotted out the disgustingly dull Scotch Four Knights. (The motto of the Scotch Four Knights player: "Not everyone's brave enough to play the London System".) Thankfully, after the exchange on d4 Aronian avoided the boring equalizing line with ...Bb4 and tried ...Bc5 instead, and then a few moves later found a great queen sac that set the board ablaze.
While I'm happy to heap scorn on Kramnik for his horrible opening choice (at least it wasn't a Ponziani), once the game got sharp he rose to the occasion. He played very well in the tactical maelstrom, and it seems that both his tactical sight and his assessments were more accurate than Aronian's. When the smoke (kind of) cleared, White had a small material advantage and an easier position to play, and he turned the tables from game 1, as this time he took advantage of Aronian's time trouble to wrap up the game.
Now this six-game match is even at 1.5-1.5, and Aronian will have White in game 4 tomorrow. Will he go bloodthirstily for revenge and pull out his best openings, or will the trend of the last two games continue, with each player using sidelines to save their main prep for other events? We'll see, but now that both players have tasted the sting of defeat I anticipate that the battles will grow more intense through the finish.
Here is today's game, with my annotations.