Khanty-Mansiysk Final: Shirov fails to equalise

12/15/2007 – In his second must-win game with the white pieces Alexei Shirov had a promising position, but once again his American opponent, Gata Kamsky, defended solidly and held the Latvian-Spanish GM to a draw. This means that Kamsky leads by 2.0:1.0 points and Shirov has to win the final game with the black pieces. The adage for tomorrow must be: fire on the board! Pictorial report.

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A total of 126 participants turned up on November 23 for the World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, located about 1400 miles (2250 km) east of Moscow. The competition is taking place from November 24 to December 18.

  Name Nat Rtng
G1
G2
G3
G4
R1
R2 B1 B2 SD
Tot.
 Shirov, Alexei   ESP 2739
½
0
½
 
       
1.0
 Kamsky, Gata USA 2714
½
1
½
 
       
2.0

Round seven (Final) Game three – Saturday, December 15th

The official bulletin writes: "The final match of the World Cup approaches its end. Alexei Shirov had white in the third game, but didn't succeed in leveling the score, and now needs to win as black on demand to proceed to the tie-break. Gata Kamsky is content with a draw. Winning a game on demand with the black pieces is a highly difficult task, considering the level of development of opening theory. At this World Cup, only Ponomariov managed to accomplish such a task in round two."

Paul Lillebo of Asheville, NC, writes: "I don't want to jinx the man, but with (possibly) one game to go, Gata Kamsky has not lost a single game in Khanty-Mansiysk. After playing 17 games he has 7 wins and 10 draws. In only one round four did he play more than the minimum number of games, giving two extra draws to Svidler."


The handshake at the beginning of game three


The game is under way, Shirov is playing 4.Ba4


A couple of photographers, a TV camera – that sums up the audience


Kamsky ponders his ninth move (9...Bg4), Shirov returns from the rest area...


... and paces the stage while Kamsky thinks


It is Shirov's turn to rack his brains: position before 16.Re3


... while the arbiters and chess dignitaries discuss in the background

About the game three the experts wrote: "Shirov didn't go for broke, as one could have expected, but selected a poisonous variation, in which Black has neither significant problems nor clear-cut equality. Kamsky felt uncomfortable about such a course of events, and, trying to clarify the situation, made a couple of inaccuracies, yielding the center of the board to his opponent. Black's position became objectively inferior, and maybe even losing. However, here Kamsky's natural calmness along with Shirov's impatience started to tell. In mutual time trouble Gata spiced up the position by abandoning his queenside and activating all the pieces. Prior to the time control, Alexei lost the grip of the position, and after the 41st move the players agreed to a draw."

Shirov,A (2739) - Kamsky,G (2714) [C91]
World Cup Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (7.3), 15.12.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.d4 Bg4 10.Be3 exd4 11.cxd4 Na5 12.Bc2 c5 13.Nc3 cxd4 14.Bxd4 Nc6 15.Bb3 Rc8 16.Re3 Nd7 17.Nd5 Bg5 18.Rc3 b4 19.Rc4 Bxf3 20.gxf3 Nxd4 21.Rxd4 a5 22.f4 Bh6 23.Qg4 Rc5 24.Ne3 Nf6 25.Qf3 Qa8 26.Rad1 g6 27.Nc4 a4 28.Nb6 Qc6 29.Nxa4 Rc1 30.Rxb4 Rxd1+ 31.Bxd1 Qc1 32.e5 dxe5 33.fxe5 Qg5+ 34.Kf1 Qxe5 35.h3 Bd2 36.Rc4 Rd8 37.Bb3 Kg7 38.Kg2 Qg5+ 39.Qg3 Qd5+ 40.Qf3 Qg5+ 41.Qg3 Qd5+ ½-½. [Click to replay]

All pictures by from Khanty by Eugene Atarov for the official World Cup web site

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