Elista F6: Aronian qualifies, Grischuk and Rublevsky in tiebreak

6/12/2007 – Alexander Grischuk introduced a new move and went on the attack against Sergei Rublevsky, but when it came down to a daring sacrifice his nerves failed him and, after half an hour of thought, he went for a perpetual check and the safe draw. Alexei Shirov tried to trick Levon Aronian with a Spanish deviation, but the Armenian equalised and drew. Full pictorial report with GM analysis.

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The Finals of the Candidates Matches for the 2007 World Chess Championship Tournament are being held in Elista, Russia, from June 6th to June 14, 2007. Eight candidates advanced from the first stage and are now playing six-game matches to fill four places in the 2007 World Championship in Mexico City.

Finals: Round six report

Finals Round 6 results: Tuesday, June 12th 2007

Alexei Shirov 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Sergei Rublevsky 
½-½
 Alexander Grischuk

Finals Round Six

Commentary by GM Mihail Marin

The following express commentary was provided by Romanian GM Mihail Marin, who is the author of a number of very popular ChessBase training CDs and articles for ChessBase Magazine. GM Marin will study the games of the Candidates Finals in greater detail and provide the full results of his analysis in the next issue of ChessBase Magazine.

Rublevsky,S (2680) - Grischuk,A (2717) [C45]
WCh Candidates Finals Elista RUS (6), 12.06.2007 [Mihail Marin]

Playing with the white pieces and desperately needing to win, Shirov did not find the key to Aronian's defence.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Nxc6 Qf6 6.Qf3 bxc6 7.Qg3 h5 8.h4 Nh6 9.f3 d5 10.Nc3

10...Bd4. Deviating from 10...Bb4 , as played in the 4th game. Abstractly speaking, moving with the bishop for the second time along the same diagonal looks like a loss of tempo, while the text move can rather be considered a centralization. 11.Bd2 Rb8 Besides, the b-file is available for the rook, now. 12.0-0-0 Be5 13.Qg5 Qd6 14.exd5 0-0

Black has taken his king into safety and threatens ...Qb4, with a crushing attack. 15.Bc4. Parrying the threat by developing a piece. 15...cxd5. Releasing the tension in the centre. 15...Bf5 or 15...Nf5 are worth investigating. 16.Bxd5

16...Qxd5!? Leading to an immediate draw and to... play-offs. 16...Rxb2 would have sacrificed a smaller amount of material, but, paradoxically, would have been a more ambitious decision. After 17.Kxb2 Qxd5 18.Rhe1 Bf5 Black has ample compensation for the exchange, in view of the exposed position of the white king. 17.Nxd5 Bxb2+ 18.Kb1 Bc3+! Only here, so that White cannot interfere the rook in efficient way. 19.Kc1 Bb2+ 20.Kb1 Bc3+ 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


Sergei Rublevsky, preparing to do battle in the final game


Decisions, desicions – Alexander Grischuk decides not to risk all


Shirov,A (2699) - Aronian,L (2759) [C88]
WCh Candidates Finals Elista RUS (6), 12.06.2007 [Mihail Marin]

A tensioned but nonetheless short playing session. In Rublevsky-Grischuk Black played a novelty, sacrificed a pawn and then the queen, but it all ended by perpetual after 20 moves.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.d3. In the semifinals, Shirov managed to equalize the score in the very last game. Now, he finds himself in a similar situation. The most difficult thing is to choose the "best" opening. "Should I jump over my opponent, or leave him commit suicide because of the high nervous tension?" Maybe Aronian also drew some conlcusions after his semifinal match, in which he allowed Carlsen to equalize in the 5th game, the last where Aronian had Black. 8...d6 9.c3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.Nbd2 Nc6 12.Nf1 Re8 13.a3 h6 14.b4 Be6 15.Ng3 d5 16.exd5 Qxd5

The outcome of the opening does not look too encouraging for Shirov. For the first time in this match, when playing with White, he has not managed to put any kind of pressure on his opponent. 17.Be3 Rac8 18.Nd2 Nb8 19.Nge4 Nbd7

20.Bb3!? Qxd3! A brave decision. Aronian correctly estimates that White will not be able to maintain the blockade on e4, which will make the weakness of the double pawns less relevant. 21.Bxe6 fxe6 22.Qf3 cxb4 23.axb4 Nxe4 24.Nxe4 Nf6 25.Nxf6+ Bxf6 26.Rxa6 Qxc3 27.Rb1. White has no advantage at all. In fact, Black has an active position. However Shirov's decision to offer a draw looks slightly premature. With so many mighty pieces on board, things can still happen, especially under the psychological pressure. 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


Aronian's girlfriend Arianna Caoili and his second Vladimir Potkin watch the game


Counting the Russians – Mexican organiser Jorge Saggiante, takes an understandably keen interest in who is qualifying for the World Championship in Mexico City in September


Alexei Shirov and Lev Aronian in the press conference after their final game


Eliminated by Aronian in Elista: Alexei Shirov


Is this the face of victory? Come on, lighten up, Lev!


You can do better than that, dear friend. Lighten up!


Okay, that's better, now it is sinking in: you are going to Mexico!


You can have all the habaneros you want!
Jorge Saggiante briefs Levon Aronian on culinary conditions during the World Championship in Mexico City.

Photos by Frederic Friedel in Elista

Current standings

 Player
Rating
1
2
3
4
5
6
TB
 Tot. 
 Perf. 
 Levon Aronian
2759
1
½
½
½
½
½
 
3.5
 
 Alexei Shirov
2699
0
½
½
½
½
½
 
2.5
 
 
 Peter Leko
2738
1
½
1
½
½
   
3.5
 
 Evgeny Bareev
2635
0
½
0
½
½
   
1.5
 
 
 Alexander Grischuk 
2717
1
½
½
0
½
½
 
3.0
 
 Sergei Rublevsky
2680
0
½
½
1
½
½
 
3.0
 
 
 Gata Kamsky 
2705
½
½
0
½
0
   
1.5
 
 Boris Gelfand
2733
½
½
1
½
1
   
3.5
 


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