FIDE Candidates Semis G2: White wins both games!... Almost.

5/13/2011 – If the first game was fairly quiet, in game two, both Kramnik and Gelfand seemed headed for victory. Kramnik's situation was the less clear, despite the extra pawn, and Grischuk held. Gelfand had a monster positional edge over Kamsky but missed his chance. Tomorrow, don't miss the live commentary by masters as well as 24-core Hiarcs. Game two report with analysis by GM Elshan Moradiabadi.

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May 2011
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From 3 to 27 May 2011 the FIDE Candidates matches are being held in Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, with eight strong GMs competing to qualify as Challenger for the 2012 World Champion match. Time controls in the four regular games are 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game, plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 61. In case of a tie there will be four rapid chess games, and if the tie is still not broken then up to five two-game blitz matches 5'+3". Finally there may be a sudden-death final decider. The prize fund of the candidates is 500,000 Euros.
 

Scoreboard

 
Nat.
Rtg
G1
G2
G3
G4
R1
R2
R3
R4
Tot.
Perf
Vladimir Kramnik
RUS
2785
½
½
           
1.0
 
Alexander Grischuk
RUS
2747
½
½
           
1.0
 

 
Nat.
Rtg
G1
G2
G3
G4
R1
R2
R3
R4
Tot.
Perf
Boris Gelfand
ISR
2733
½
½
           
1.0
 
Gata Kamsky
USA
2732
½
½
           
1.0
 

Semifinals – Game two

After the very slow start to the semifinals, the second game heated up nicely, and after a couple of hours of play, it appeared as if we would see not one, but two wins by White. Kramnik managed to do what he does best, and steered the game into an endgame where he had a very small plus. To spice things up even more, Grischuk seemingly miscalculated a few moves later and suddenly was down a pawn, bringing the smell of blood to both Kramnik and an audience starved of wins. However, whether by miracle or design, Grischuk turned up with a dream blockader and despite Vladimir’s legendary endgame technique things couldn’t be less certain.

Kramnik,Vladimir (2785) - Grischuk,Alexander (2747) [A04]
WCh Candidates Kazan RUS (2.2), 13.05.2011 [Elshan Moradiabadi]

After the disappointing prelude to this match, Kramnik decided to show us some brief flashes of fantastic technique. Nevertheless, it should be mentioned that Grischuk managed to cope with the "flashes" perfectly! 1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 No surprise. Kramnik has used this set up during his career from time to time. 3...e5 4.e3 Nf6 5.d4








But this is a real surprise. After cleaning up the dust collected in my brain I managed to remember some terms describing this line: like "arid". Kramnik does not like the idea and he proved (at least to me) that this term is not applicable to this line anymore. 5...cxd4 6.exd4 e4 7.Ne5 Bd6. An odd choice by Grischuk. 7...Bb4 8.Be2 Qa5 9.Nxc6 dxc6 10.Bd2 0-0 11.0-0 is probably what Kramnik was expecting. 8.c5 Bb8. 8...Nxe5? would be a terrible blunder. 9.cxd6! Ng6 10.h4!








Black cannot develop his pieces anymore, and it is no wonder the game ended just five moves later! 10...Qa5 11.h5 Nf8 12.d5 a6 13.Qd4 h6 14.b4 Qd8 15.Qe5+ 1-0 Shengelia,D (2567)-Grover,S (2434)/Dubai 2010/CBM 135 Extra 9.Nc4 d5 10.cxd6 0-0 11.Bf4!?N A logical novelty which the silicon mind favours a lot. 11.d5 Na5 12.Nxa5 Qxa5 13.Bg5 Bxd6 and Black seized the initiative in Lida Garcia,F (2049)-Pierrot,J (2450)/Mar del Plata 2008/CBM 123 Extra (31) 11...Na5 12.Ne3 Bxd6 13.Bxd6 Qxd6 14.d5. White is now slightly better thanks to his strong knight on e3. The maneuver this knight used was first introduced by Nimzowitsch... Something in the style of "His System"!


Vladimir Kramnik playing "His System"

14...Qe5 15.Be2 Rd8 16.Qd2 Nc6 17.Rd1 Ne7 18.Qd4 Qxd4 19.Rxd4. Kramnik masterfully reaches a slightly better ending. 19...Nf5 20.Nxf5 Bxf5 21.Kd2 Ne8 22.g4 Bg6 23.Rc1. Kramnik brings all his troops to the center of the battle. On the other hand, Grischuk is depending a lot on his d6 outpost. 23...Rac8?








This move loses a pawn. Was it deliberate or did Grischuk just miss it? 24.Nxe4! Rxc1 25.Kxc1 Bxe4 26.Rxe4 Kf8 27.Ra4 a6 28.Rb4 Nd6 29.Kd2








White is a healthy pawn up but Black's superb knight gives him excellent chances to hold. 29...h6 30.Bd3 Ke7 31.Ke3 Kd7 32.f3 Re8+ 33.Be4 g6 34.Kd4 Rc8 35.h4 Rc1. Grischuk activates his rook. It is hard to suggest a specific way for White to break through. 36.Ke5 Ke7 37.g5 hxg5 38.hxg5 Rg1 39.Kf4 f6 40.Bxg6 Rxg5 41.Be4 Rg2 Grischuk opens up the position himself but his active pieces compensate White's material superiority. 42.a4 a5 43.Rb3 Kd8 44.Ke3 Rh2 45.Kf4 Rg2 46.Bb1 Rd2 47.Bd3 Rg2 48.Ke3 Rh2! Grischuk is already preparing his shot on move 51. 49.Kd4 Rh4+ 50.Kc5 Kc7 51.Rb6








51...Rxa4! A spectacular way to conclude the game. 52.b3. The idea is that after 52.Rxd6 he plays 52...Rb4! threatening b6+ which would force White to give up the rook to save the mate, so the only move would be 53.Bb5 (Ex: 53.Rxf6 b6+ and White must take on b6 with the rook.) 53...Rxb5+! 54.Kxb5 Kxd6 and the pawn endgame is drawn. 55.Kxa5 Kxd5 56.Kb6 Ke5 (56...Kc4) 57.b4 Kf4 58.Kxb7 Kxf3 59.b5 f5 60.b6 f4 61.Kc7 Kg2 62.b7 f3 63.b8Q f2 draw.] 52...Rb4 53.Rxb4 axb4 54.Kxb4 b6. Black locks the fortress. The king's only entry is via h5, which is easy to prevent, and the white bishop has no targets. Now it is a dead draw. 55.Kc3 Kd8 56.Kd4 Ke7. A great resistance by Grischuk! 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


In spite of a blunder, Grischuk kept his calm and saved the game

A great save by Grischuk, and the spectacular finish was a small compensation to the audience for being denied a decisive result. On the other board the story was quite another. Kamsky badly misplayed the opening and Gelfand emerged with a terrible bind that looked assured of a win. Not only did he have a nasty rook on the 7th, but Black’s pieces were choking for air and some way out of the cage. The Israeli missed a big chance to lock it up in his favor, and then a few moves later failed to spot another last opportunity. Instead an error allowed the American to free up his position and restore balance after which he held his nerve to the end.

Gelfand,Boris (2733) - Kamsky,Gata (2732) [D80]
WCh Candidates Kazan RUS (2.2), 13.05.2011 [Elshan Moradiabadi]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5. Not a surprise. The Gruenfeld has become Kamsky's usual "pet" line in matches, and it worked pretty well in the quarter-final against Topalov. 4.Bg5. Gelfand chooses a solid line which is in accordance with his "strategy" in this event. He has not taken drastic measures with White so far, and stays faithful to this approach once more. 4...Ne4 5.Bh4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 dxc4!?








A correct decision by Kamsky. He is fully aware of his opponent's skill in technical positions, therefore it is logical to avoid simplifications, which are mostly forced after 6...c5. 7.e3 Be6 8.Nf3 Bg7 9.Be2 c5 10.0-0 0-0 11.Rb1. A rare choice by Gelfand. 11.Ng5 Bd5 12.e4 h6 is the sharp line which has been favored among the players so far.] 11...Bd5 Not a novelty, but a rare choice which I am skeptic of. [11...cxd4 12.Nxd4 Bd5 13.f3 b6 14.e4 Bb7 15.Bxc4 Nc6 (40) 1/2-1/2 And Black had no problems in the very recent Vuckovic,B (2626)-Sanikidze,T (2542)/Aix les Bains 2011/CB13_2011 12.Qc2. Now White threats e4, and I believe that Gelfand had managed to obtain a small plus at this point. 12...cxd4 13.cxd4








13...b6?! But this is too much. Kamsky's plan is too slow, and now White is going to develop a strong initiative by gaining full control over the c-file. 14.Bxc4 Nc6 15.Rfc1 Bxc4 16.Qxc4 Na5 17.Qc7!








Simple and effective. Now White's chances in the upcoming ending are indisputable. 17...f6 18.Qxd8 Rfxd8 19.Rc7 Kf7 20.Rbc1 Ke8 21.Bg3. 21.g4!? Rd7 22.Bg3 was an alternative which adds the g-pawn to White's strong arsenal. 21...Bh6 22.Kf1 Rd7 23.Rxd7 Kxd7 24.Rc7+ Ke8 25.Nd2 Black is running out of moves while White is just improving his pieces. 25...b5 26.Ne4 a6








27.Nc3? Gelfand has conducted the game masterfully so far, but here he goes astray for the first time in this game. White had not one, but two very strong continuations here.


Gelfand had Kamsky square in his sights

The first was the strong tactical 27.Bd6! Bf8 (The point is that if the bishop is taken with 27...exd6 White's rook is treated to a self-service buffet in Black's position. 28.Rxh7 Bf8 29.Nxf6+ Kd8 30.Rd7+ Kc8 31.Rf7 Bh6 32.h4! and the bishop has nowhere to hide.) 28.Bc5 Nc4 29.Nc3 Rd8 30.Rc6!;

The second choice is the more positional squeeze with 27.Nc5! Bf8 28.d5! Nc4 29.Ke2 h5 30.Ne6. Black is completely tied down here.

27...Bf8 28.Nd5 Rd8 29.e4?








This was Gelfand's last chance to maintain control of the game and his advantage. Unfortunately, this pawn move lets Black simplify which will give him some counterplay. Gelfand could go for a more timid but more effective 29.Nf4 Kf7 30.Nd3 Nc4 31.Ke2 Re8 32.Nc5 Ra8 (32...a5








33.a4! bxa4?? 34.Ne4+- If the knight moves, Nd6+ ends it.) 33.d5 And White would have pushed Black's pieces off the board. 29...f5! Kamsky seizes his chance! 30.f3 fxe4 31.fxe4 Rd7 32.Ke2 Bg7 33.Bf2 e6 34.Rc8+ Kf7. Kamsky has managed to pull himself out of the fire. After the more or less forced sequence that follows, he manages to keep the balance. 35.Nb6 Rb7


Kamsky is proving to have more lives than a cat

36.d5. The computer likes 36.Na8 b4 (36...Nc4? 37.Rc7+ wins a pawn) 37.e5 b3 38.axb3 Nxb3 39.Nc7 Nc1+ after which White has some pressure, nevertheless Black should be able to hold due to reduced material on the board. 36...exd5 37.exd5 Be5 38.Ra8 Nc4 39.Rxa6 Nxb6 40.Bxb6 Bxh2 41.Kf3 Rd7 42.Ke4 Re7+ 43.Kd3 Rd7 44.Kd4 Bg1+ 45.Ke4 Re7+ 46.Kf4 Bxb6 47.Rxb6 Re2 48.g4 h5! An active move which accelerates the simplifications.The fate of the game is sealed. Kamsky has slipped through the Gelfand's hands. 49.Rb7+ Kf8 50.g5 h4 51.Rh7 b4 52.Rxh4 Ke7 53.Rh6 Rxa2 54.Rxg6 Rd2 55.Re6+ Kf7 56.Ke5 b3 57.Rf6+ Kg7 58.Rb6 b2 59.d6 Kg6 60.Ke6 Re2+ 61.Kd5 Rd2+ 62.Kc6 Kxg5 63.d7 Rc2+ 64.Kd6 Rd2+ 65.Ke6 Re2+ 66.Kf7 Rf2+ If the Black rook were on b1 and White's king on d8 it would be winning for White with the help of famous maneuver from Lasker-Keres or Lasker-Keres-Mahjoob (the latter term has a funny story in Iranian chess!). 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Pictures courtesy of the Russian Federation


Remaining schedule

All games start at 15:00h local time – 13:00h Berlin/Paris, 07:00 New York (check your local time here)

Day Date Game
Commentary on Playchess
Thursday May 12 Round 2 Game 1 Sam Collins wrap-up
Friday May 13 Round 2 Game 2 Dejan Bojkov wrap-up
Saturday May 14 Round 2 Game 3 Sam Collins live
Sunday May 15 Round 2 Game 4 Daniel King live

Monday

May 16 Tiebreaks    
Tuesday May 17 Free day    
Wednesday May 18 Free day    
Thursday May 19 Round 3 Game 1 van Wely/Gustafsson   live
Friday May 20 Round 3 Game 2 Dejan Bojkov live
Saturday May 21 Round 3 Game 3 Sam Collins live
Sunday May 22 Free day    

Monday

May 23 Round 3 Game 4 Loek van Wely live
Tuesday May 24 Round 3 Game 5 Daniel King live
Wednesday May 25 Round 3 Game 6 Daniel King live
Thursday May 26 Tiebreaks, closing    
Friday May 27 Departure    

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Harvey uses two very fast machines. One is a sixteen core (with hyperthreading) system with each core running at 3.2 GHz with 12 GB of RAM. The second is a 24-core system, with the CPUs currently overclocked at 4.2 GHz. That machine has 48 GB of RAM. Naturally they have every tablebase known to man, and the latest opening books on board. These computers have helped some very strong players in their preparation for some very important matches.

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This is Deep Hiarcs 13.285 analysing during the second Kramnik-Grischuk game


Deep Fritz working on Gelfand-Kamsky


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