(1) 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.

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.]

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 ]

Now White threats e4, and I believe that Gelfand had managed to obtain a small plus at this point.

12...cxd4 13.cxd4

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

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. [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.]

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 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 maneuve from Lasker-Keres or Lasker-Keres-Mahjoob (the latter term has a funny story in Iranian chess!). 1/2-1/2