Elista F5: Leko and Gelfand qualify

6/12/2007 – Peter Leko was the first to qualify, with a draw against an apparently dejected Evgeny Bareev. Boris Gelfand pulled off a black pieces win against Gata Kamsky to also qualify for the world championship in Mexico. Aronian and Shirov drew, so that the latter must win tomorrow to stay in the race, while Grischuk and Rublevsky are tied at 2.5:2.5. Full report with pictures and commentary.

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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 five report

Finals Round 5 results: Monday, June 11th 2007

Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Alexei Shirov
Peter Leko 
½-½
 Evgeny Bareev
Alexander Grischuk 
½-½
 Sergei Rublevsky
Gata Kamsky
0-1
 Boris Gelfand 

Finals Round five

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.

Quite a dissapointing round. Grischuk-Rublevsky was a rather uneventful draw. The most interesting game was Aronian - Shirov where we could see a high class theoretical duel, but all the same, the game ended in a draw in about an hour. The other two games were quite intriguing when we consider the right attitude in decisive games. In Leko-Bareev, the latter played as if he was very much interested in ensuring a draw, which he did – and got eliminated. Kamsky decided to play with a pawn down, instead of more or less forcing a draw – and got eliminated, too.


Aronian arrived late for the game, after photogaphers had left the hall


Alexei Shirov, ready to play

Aronian,L (2759) - Shirov,A (2699) [D89]
WCh Candidates Finals Elista RUS (5), 11.06.2007 [Mihail Marin]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5. That's more like it! The Grünfeld not only suits Shirov's style much better than the QGA but also served him quite well during the match he won against Kramnik. It is not the opening's fault that Shirov never got to play the match against Kasparov... 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 c5 8.Ne2 Nc6 9.Be3 0-0 10.0-0 Bg4 11.f3 Na5 12.Bd3 cxd4 13.cxd4 Be6 14.d5 Bxa1 15.Qxa1 f6 16.Bh6 Re8 17.Qd4 Bf7 18.Bb5 e5 19.Qf2 Re7 20.f4 exf4 21.Qxf4 Qb6+ 22.Kh1 Bxd5 23.exd5 Qxb5 24.Qxf6 Qe8 25.Qd4

All these moves were played rather quickly, which made obvious that both players were very well prepared. Indeed, only with the next move the game deviates from a previous experience of Shirov. 25...Rf7. An improvement over 25...Rd8 26.h3 Rf7 27.Rxf7 Qxf7 28.Qc3 b6 29.Ng3 Nb7 30.Ne4 Qe7 31.Nf6+ Kf7 32.Nxh7 Kg8 33.Nf6+ Kf7 34.Ng4 with advantage for White, Topalov-Shirov, Wijk aan Zee 2007. 26.Rxf7 Qxf7 27.Bd2 Qg7 28.Qe4 Qf7 29.Bc3 Rc8 30.h3 Nc4

Black has regrouped his pieces and threatens to become active. It is a good moment for White to force a perpetual, especially that the situation in the match does not require exagerated risks. 31.Qd4 Kf8 32.Qh8+ Qg8 33.Qd4 Qf7 34.Qh8+ 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


Alexei Shirov, who must win tomorrow's game with white to stay in the finals


Kamsky,G (2705) - Gelfand,B (2733) [B52]
WCh Candidates Finals Elista RUS (5), 11.06.2007 [Mihail Marin]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.c4. Given Kamsky's tendency to avoid topical lines, this looks like a safe choice of opening. In the Rossolimo variation White cannot claim an objective advantage, but obtains more space in a relatively stable position. Judging from the further course of the game, Kamsky did not anticipate how "relative" this evaluation really is... 5...Nf6 6.Nc3 g6 7.0-0 Bg7 8.d4 cxd4 9.Nxd4 0-0. Black has delayed the development of his queen's knight, but could still transpose to the old main lines with 10...Nc6. However, Gelfand had other plans. 10.f3 Rc8 11.b3

11...d5!! Boom! Forget about stability in the centre; with this "delayed Grünfeld" blow Black gives the position an open character. Judging from Kamsky's long thinking starting with this moment, he must not have been aware of the fact that this move had been played in several dozens of games already... 12.exd5 [Personally, I would be more concerned about 12.e5 , but the move played by Kamsky belongs to main stream of "theory" still.] 12...Nxd5 13.Nxd5 e6 14.Bh6! exd5 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.c5. This had been played just once before. Most of the games went 16.Nb5 with equal play. 16...Na6 17.Nc2. This is a strong novelty maintaining... equality! After 17.Qd2 Nxc5 Black was a pawn up in Kovalevskaya-Kosintseva, Krasnoturinsk 2005. 17...Nxc5 18.Qd4+ f6 19.Ne3 Ne6

20.Qh4? With so many short draws around, Kamsky probably felt like proving his fighting spirit, but he will never get even a faint shadow of compensation for the pawn. 20.Qxd5 would have most probably led to a draw. 20...Rc5 21.Rad1 d4 22.Ng4 Rf8 23.Rfe1 Rh5 24.Qg3 Rd5 25.Rd2 Qd6 26.Qh4 h5 27.Nf2 g5 28.Qe4 Re5 29.Qb1 Rxe1+ 30.Qxe1 Rd8 31.g3 Nc5 32.Qe2 a5 33.Qb5 b6 34.a3 Qe6 35.Rb2 d3 36.b4 axb4 37.axb4 Nb3 38.Qa4 Nd4 39.Kg2 Nc2

40.Rxc2 In view of the threat ...Ne3+, this exchange sacrifice was virtually forced, but it is much less effective than the sacrifice from the yesterday's game between the same players. 40...dxc2 41.Qxc2 g4 42.fxg4 hxg4 43.Kg1 Rd4 44.Qc7+ Kg6 45.Qc2+ f5 46.Qc3 Rc4 47.Qd2 Kh7 48.h3 gxh3 49.Nxh3 Qc6 50.Qe3 Rc1+ 51.Kf2 Qc2+ 52.Kf3 Rf1+ 53.Nf2

According to the server, Gelfand took his time before delivering the deadly blow 53...Rxf2+! with mate on e4 to follow. 0-1. [Click to replay]


Qualified! World Championship candidate Boris Gelfand of Israel


Grischuk,A (2717) - Rublevsky,S (2680) [B85]
WCh Candidates Finals Elista RUS (5), 11.06.2007 [Mihail Marin]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 Qc7 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Be3 Be7 9.f4 d6 10.a4 0-0 11.Kh1 Re8 12.Bf3 Bf8

Compared to the previous game with the same variation, Rublevsky delays the development of his queen's bishop. This makes some sense since after Nb3 followed by g4, Black has to retreat with the bishop to c8, in order to clear the d7-square for the knight. 13.Qd2 Rb8. This is rarely played. 13...Na5 is more common.] 14.Qf2 e5 15.Nde2 b5N. The game Adams-Anand, Linares 2005 went 15...exf4 16.Bb6 Qe7 17.Nxf4 Be6 18.Rad1 g6 19.Qd2 Ne5 and soon ended in a draw. 16.axb5 axb5 17.f5 Nb4 18.Ng3

Not a typical drawish posiiton. 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


Satisfied with the round five result: Sergei Rublevsky


Facing a last round decider with black: Alexander Grischuk


Leko,P (2738) - Bareev,E (2643) [B19]
WCh Candidates Finals Elista RUS (5), 11.06.2007 [Mihail Marin]

1.e4 c6. Quite a risky move. Not from purely chess point of view, of course, but from the perspective of the unfavourable score. It seems like if Bareev had not prepared any "emergency case" openings for this match. In a game where he desperately needs to win, he sticks to his ultra-solid repertoire. 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 h6 7.Nf3 Nd7 8.h5 Bh7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 e6 11.Bd2 Ngf6 12.0-0-0 Be7 13.Ne4 Qb6 14.Nxf6+ Bxf6 15.g4 c5 16.Bc3 0-0-0 17.dxc5 Qxc5 18.Bd4 Qc6 19.Rhe1 Rhe8

Having completed his development, Bareev offered to his opponent a draw - and the qualification for Mexico. 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


Out of this world championship cycle: Russian GM Evgeny Bareev


A ticket to Mexico: world championship candidate Peter Leko


Mexico organiser Jorge Saggiante and Sofi Leko plan for the September visit

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
   
3.0
 
 Alexei Shirov
2699
0
½
½
½
½
   
2.0
 
 
 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
   
2.5
 
 Sergei Rublevsky
2680
0
½
½
1
½
   
2.5
 
 
 Gata Kamsky 
2705
½
½
0
½
0
   
1.5
 
 Boris Gelfand
2733
½
½
1
½
1
   
3.5
 


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Playchess commentator GM Yasser Seirawan

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