Elista Finals round two: All games drawn

6/8/2007 – In the morning, at 10:00 a.m. local time, the computer programs Fritz and Junior, both in their "deep" versions, played a complicated and tactical draw. At 3:00 p.m. the eight human Candidates took the stage and also played more or less interesting draws. Full analysis will follow later, for now we bring you an express report, having arrived in Mockba, on our journey to Elista.

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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. The prize fund is US $40,000 per match, most of the money ($320,000) coming from a personal fund of FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, FIDE ($160,000) and the general sponsor, Rosenergomash.

A Journey to Elista

Report by Frederic Friedel

Before we come to the results and games of round two of the Candidates Finals, we would like to inform friends and well-wishers that we have successfully executed the first part of our daunting journey to Elista. We are now in Moscow, safely in our hotel, on the banks of the River Moskva.

Our adventure started with the Russian Embassy in Hamburg telling us that we could only pick up our visa on the day of departure, a couple of hours before the plane was scheduled to leave. "Don't be nervous," the officer said, "we'll have it ready for you. It is the kind of thing that makes life interesting."

The trip from Hamburg to Moscow, in an Aeroflot Airbus A400, was comfortable and quick. We arrived at Sheremetyevo airport after just two and a half hours' flying time, twenty minutes early. Piece a' cake so far.

Déjà vu! This is my first trip ever to Russia – I have been to Moscow a number of times, but that was when it was the capital of the Soviet Union. The immigration procedure is still conducted from the blue boxes I remember, with the neon light shining on the traveller. Except now you don't have a surly, uniformed guard staring you down, but a nice young lady with a friendly smile. In official matters there were no such things as smiles in the good old USSR days.

Our Kalmykian hosts have arranged everything very nicely for me. I hardly broke my stride when I emerged from the arrival area – a driver was waiting, holding up a big sign with my name in big letters on it. In no time at all we were on the road to Moscow.

Ah, yes, they have funny letters here, and we are going to have to brush up on our Cyrillic. Mockba. The C is an S, the B is like our V. So it translates to Mos-kva. which is what they call it. Like to try the airport? W is SH, P is an R (remember how they used to write SSSR – in Russian it was CCCP), M is M, the b is a softening vowel. So the whole translates to Sheremetyevo, the famous international airport of Moscow. Now you figure out what Cahkt-Netepbypr could stand for.

On the way from Sheremetyevo we got into an hour-long traffic jam, with a Takcn, i.e. Taxi, crawling along the highway next to us.

One more while we are stuck in traffic: the fourth arch-shaped letter is derived from the Greek Pi and, logically, stands for a P. The big A-like letter is from the Greek lamda and is an L, the H is an N. All this just to confuse us foreigners. Fortunately there are often useful little hints given, as on the signs above.

After an hour and a half the traffic suddenly cleared and it was the opposite direction that had to suffer. Moscow has changed dramatically from the Soviet times, but some of the roads haven't.

The hotel I am being put up in is called Mezhdunarodnaya, which translates to "International". It is of the latest standard in luxury hotel, and charges per night – let's see, as much as a John Edwards haircut plus tip. The cupboards have motion detectors that turn on the lights when you approach. They have many nice restaurants ("pectopahs") and, most importantly, a service center that gave me one-hour Internet access cards, allowing me to post this report on our news page.

The spectacular view from my hotel balcony, which looks out on the Moskva River.

The grand Soviet-style former government building, of which there are a number strewn across Moscow. This one, I believe, has been turned into a high-class hotel.

This is a restaurant and entertainment boat, anchored just below my eighth-storey window

And as we go to print, so to speak, night has fallen in Moscow, two hours earlier than it should. The river outside is giving us dazzling reflections of the city lights. Tomorrow morning we will be transported to Vnukova airport for the second leg of our journey, which will take us all the way to Elista and the Candidates Tournament. So we sign off now and promise to tune back in when we reach the capital of the Republic of Kalmykia.


Finals: Round two report

Finals Round 2 results: Thursday, June 7th 2007

Alexei Shirov 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Peter Leko 
½-½
 Evgeny Bareev
Alexander Grischuk 
½-½
 Sergei Rublevsky
Gata Kamsky 
½-½
 Boris Gelfand

Finals Round two

From the narrow perspective of the results (four draws), this could look like a boring day, especially if we compare with the first round. However, there was a lot of entertainment today, too.

True, Rublevsky and Bareev did not seem too determined to reestablish the equality and their games with White against Grischuk and Leko, respectively, ended peacefully without too much fight. However, the other two games were much more exciting.

For a long while, Gelfand-Kamsky looked like a one-way business, with White gradually building up his pressure by means of subtle manoeuvring. However, Kamsky calmly maintained things under control, castled artificially and started a well-timed counterplay in the centre. After a short tactical phase, the position was simplified, entering the "Sofia rule" patterns quite soon.

Gelfand,B (2733) - Kamsky,G (2705) [D15]
WCh Candidates Finals Elista RUS (2), 07.05.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 a6 5.a4 e6 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.e3 Qa5 8.cxd5 exd5 9.Bd3 Ne4 10.0-0 Nxg5 11.Nxg5 Be7 12.f4 Nf6 13.Qc2 h6 14.Nf3 Be6 15.Ne5 Rd8 16.h3 h5 17.Nf3 Kf8 18.Ng5 Bd7 19.Rae1 Qb4 20.Na2 Qb6 21.b4 a5 22.bxa5 Qxa5 23.Rb1 Qa7 24.Nc3 Rh6 25.Qb3 Rb8 26.Nf3 Be8 27.Ne5 Bd6 28.Rf2 Ng8 29.Rfb2 Ne7 30.Qc2 Kg8 31.Nf3 Bd7 32.Rb3 c5 33.Nb5 Bxb5 34.Rxb5 cxd4 35.exd4 Bxf4 36.Qb3 Rc6 37.Rxb7 Rc1+ 38.Kf2 Rxb1 39.Rxb8+ Qxb8 40.Qxb1 Bg3+ 41.Ke2 Qe8 42.Qb5 Nc6+ 43.Kd2 Bf4+ 44.Kc3 Qd7 45.a5 g5 46.a6 g4 47.hxg4 hxg4 48.Ne5 Nxe5 49.Qxd7 Nxd7 50.a7 Nb6 51.Bb5 Bd6 ½-½

Shirov set up "fire on board" from a very early stage of the game, by employing an increasingly popular pawn sacrifice. In order to extinguish the fire, Aronian sacrificed his queen, transposing to a highly interesting endgame. At a certain point, it became rather unclear which of the sides was really playing for a win, but the battery R + 2Bs eventually proved strong enough for just a perpetual check.

Shirov,A (2699) - Aronian,L (2759) [E15]
WCh Candidates Finals Elista RUS (2), 07.05.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.Qc2 Bb7 6.Bg2 c5 7.d5 exd5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.0-0 Be7 10.Rd1 Nc6 11.Qa4 Nf6 12.Nc3 0-0 13.g4 Nb4 14.a3 Nbd5 15.Nxd5 Bxd5 16.g5 Bc6 17.Qh4 Ne8 18.Ne5 Bxg2 19.Rxd7 Bb7 20.Rxd8 Rxd8 21.Be3 Rd5 22.Nf3 Nd6 23.Qa4 b5 24.Qc2 Nf5 25.a4 b4 26.Rd1 Rxd1+ 27.Qxd1 Nxe3 28.fxe3 Rd8 29.Qc2 g6 30.h4 Bd6 31.Kf2 a6 32.Nd2 Bf8 33.Nc4 Bc8 34.Qe4 Be6 35.b3 Rd5 36.Kg3 h6 37.gxh6 Bxh6 38.Qf3 Kh7 39.e4 Rh5 40.Nd6 Bg5 41.Nxf7 Bxh4+ 42.Kg2 c4 43.bxc4 Kg8 44.Nd6 Rg5+ 45.Kh1 Rg3 46.Qf4 Rh3+ ½-½

Rublevsky,S (2680) - Grischuk,A (2717) [C45]
WCh Candidates Finals Elista RUS (2), 07.05.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Be3 Qf6 6.c3 Nge7 7.Bc4 Ne5 8.Be2 Qg6 9.0-0 d6 10.f3 0-0 11.Nd2 d5 12.Kh1 dxe4 13.Nxe4 Bb6 14.Re1 Bf5 15.Bf4 Bxe4 16.Bxe5 Nc6 17.Nxc6 Bxc6 18.Bd3 Qh5 ½-½


Evgeny Bareev and Peter Leko speak to the press after their 15-move game

Bareev,E (2643) - Leko,P (2738) [D11]
WCh Candidates Finals Elista RUS (2), 07.05.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bg4 5.Nc3 e6 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 Nbd7 8.Bd2 Bb4 9.Bd3 0-0 10.a3 Ba5 11.b4 Bc7 12.cxd5 cxd5 13.0-0 Re8 14.Rfc1 Bd6 15.e4 ½-½


Peter's wife Sofi in the audience

Notes by GM Mihail Marin, photos by Kema Goryaeva (FIDE)

Current standings

 Player
Rating
1
2
3
4
5
6
TB
 Tot. 
 Perf. 
 Levon Aronian
2759
1
½
         
1.5
 
 Alexei Shirov
2699
0
½
         
0.5
 
 
 Peter Leko
2738
1
½
         
1.5
 
 Evgeny Bareev
2635
0
½
         
0.5
 
 
 Alexander Grischuk
2717
1
½
         
1.5
 
 Sergei Rublevsky
2680
0
½
         
0.5
 
 
 Gata Kamsky 
2705
½
½
         
1.0
 
 Boris Gelfand
2733
½
½
         
1.0
 


Fritz vs Junior – Game two

This event, which is sponsored by FIDE and Kalmyk President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, takes place from June 6th to June 12th in the venue of the Candidates Matches for the (human) World Championship. The computer games will be played on the same stage, starting at 10:00 a.m. during the final stage of the Candidates.

Deep Fritz - Deep Junior
Fritz vs Junior Match Elista (2), 07.06.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 c5 8.Rb1 0-0 9.Be2 Nc6 10.d5 Ne5 11.Nxe5 Bxe5 12.Qd2 e6 13.f4 Bc7 14.0-0 exd5 15.exd5 Ba5. Computers love to play moves like 16.f5, but Fritz pushes the d-pawn for theoretical reasons: it is still in book. 16.d6 b6 17.Bf3 Rb8 18.Bb2 b5N. Deep Junior comes up with a new move. 19.Ba3 Bf5 20.Rbd1 c4 21.Rfe1 Bd3 22.Re5 b4 23.cxb4 Bb6+ 24.Kh1 Qxd6 25.Bb2 Rbe8 26.Rxe8 Rxe8 27.Qc3 f6 28.Qxf6 Qxf6 29.Bxf6 Kf7 30.Be5 Rd8. Visitors on the Playchess server suggested the exchange sacrifice 30...Rxe5 to help advance the c-pawn. 31.Rc1 Be3 32.Rc3 g5 33.fxg5 Bd2 34.Ra3

34...Re8. Fritz is already two pawns up, but Junior puts one more on the line in order to remove the white bishop from e5 and advance the c-pawn. 35.Rxa7+ Kg6 36.Rg7+ Kf5 37.Bg3 c3 38.Bd1 c2 39.Bxc2 Bxc2 40.Rxh7. Fritz had to give a bishop in order to stop the black c-pawn. Superficially the material balance looks good: bishop for five pawns. But the white positions is quite shaky. 40...Re2 41.h3 Bxb4 42.Rb7 Ba3 43.Ra7 Bb2 44.Kh2 Kxg5 45.Ra5+ Kf6 46.Ra6+ Kf5 47.Ra5+ Ke6 48.Ra6+ Kf7 49.Ra7+ Kg6 50.Ra6+ Kh7 51.Ra7+ Kh8 52.h4. Interestingly Fritz scorns the perpetual. 52...Be4 53.Kh3 Bd4 54.Ra4 Bg1 55.Bf4 Bxg2+ 56.Kg4 Bc6 57.Ra6 Rg2+ 58.Kf5 draw.

Junior has a piece for two pawns, but the position is a theoretical draw. [Click to replay]

Standings

 Computer
1
2
3
4
5
6
TB
 Tot. 
 Deep Junior  
½
½
         
1.0
 Deep Fritz  
½
½
         
1.0

Links


Live coverage by Yasser Seirawan on Playchess


Playchess commentator GM Yasser Seirawan

The games of the Candidates Matches, which start at 15:00h local time (13:00h CEST), will be broadcast live on the official site and on Playchess.com server. On the latter there will be daily live audio commentary by GM Yasser Seirawan, with a minimum of three one hour lectures per round, beginning approximately thirty minutes after play has started. For a charge of ten Ducats (about one Euro) a visitor gets a twelve hour pass to listen to the live lectures. Furthermore, GM Seirawan will be awarding daily prizes of Gambit books to the person or persons who have been of the greatest assistance. "We are interested in verbal commentary about a given position (not computer generated analysis), as well as witty insights," he says. "Each and every one is welcome to join in the fun!”

Ducats are the currency used on Playchess.com. You can purchase Ducats here. The amount will be credited to your playchess.com account. You need to allow one working day for processing. If you want your Ducats immediately you can order them using our Click&Buy service. Ducats can also be used to buy ChessBase products.

Note that you can also purchase Ducats directly from Fritz or the Playchess client using the menu "Edit – Payments – Fill up account". This takes you to a special purchase page with your account name automatically passed on, to simplify the process.


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