FIDE Candidates Semis Tiebreak: G-Day for the Ks

5/16/2011 – It was G-Day for the Ks, as both Kramnik and Kamsky bowed out to Grischuk and Gelfand respectively. Grischuk pursued his "draw with white" plan into the rapids, and pushed into the blitz, where he manhandled Kramnik and went through. Kamsky beat Gelfand in game three, but the Israeli clinched the fourth, and then won the blitz. Surprise finalists. Big illustrated report.

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May 2011
M T W T F S S
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30 31          

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
Blitz
Tot.
Perf
Vladimir Kramnik
RUS
2785
½
½
½
½
½
½
½
½
0.5
4.5
 
Alexander Grischuk
RUS
2747
½
½
½
½
½
½
½
½
1.5
5.5
 

 
Nat.
Rtg
G1
G2
G3
G4
R1
R2
R3
R4
Blitz
Tot.
Perf
Boris Gelfand
ISR
2733
½
½
½
½
½
½
0
1
1.5
6.0
 
Gata Kamsky
USA
2732
½
½
½
½
½
½
1
0
0.5
4.0
 

Semifinals – Tiebreaks

The match between Kramnik and Grischuk was quite odd overall, not so much because of its distinctly lacklustre play with one exception (game four), but because of Grischuk's very clear opening strategy: draw with white, and hold with black until the Blitz. This might seem an exaggeration, or distortion, of what happened, but consider how quickly Grischuk drew in every white game, whether classical or rapid. In fact, in the Rapid tiebreak games, he drew in fourteen moves in game two and just eight moves in game four as White. It is as if he were clearly stating that Kramnik is a much more fearsome opponent as Black, or simply that he was confident that once in the Blitz, he would have a clear edge worth all this. Whatever the reason, his strategy worked, and after eight draws, he scored his first win in the initial blitz game, and was crushing Kramnik in the second blitz before steering it to a safe draw and his qualifying spot in the finals.


Young spectators in Kazan, listening to headphone commentary during the games

Kamsky-Gelfand was another story altogether, and Gelfand eschewed his pet Petroff for the Najdorf once more, using it to good effect, though not without a few scares. He actually lost in the third game of the rapids, but came right back with a win of his own in the fourth, and scored first blood in the blitz. Kamsky came out of the corner swinging in his last chance, but it was not enough, and the Israeli made it through. While his combativity has not been in doubt, one worrisome aspect of Gelfand's game so far has been the sheer number of missed shots after building up huge positions. He had numerous chances to put Kamsky out earlier during the classical games but failed to capitalize on any of them.

Certainly no one could have predicted Gelfand and Grischuk in the finals, with higher profile names such as Aronian, Kramnik and Topalov in the initial line-up, but it was up to them to prove their case, and the Gs are there on their merit.

Kramnik,Vladimir (2785) - Grishuk,Alexander (2747) [A04]
WCh Candidates - Rapids Kazan RUS (2.5), 16.05.2011
1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.g3 e5 6.Nb5 Bb4+ 7.N1c3 d6 8.Bg2 a6 9.Na3 Bxc3+ 10.bxc3 0-0 11.0-0 h6 12.Nc2 Qc7 13.Ne3 Be6 14.Ba3 Rfd8 15.Bb4 Rac8 16.Rb1 e4 17.Qa4 a5 18.Ba3 Ne5 19.c5 dxc5 20.c4 Neg4 21.Nxg4 Bxg4 22.Qc2 Qd7 23.Bb2 Qd2 24.Qxd2 Rxd2 25.Bxf6 gxf6 26.Bxe4 Bxe2 27.Rfc1 Rcd8 28.Bxb7 Rxa2 29.Bd5 Rd7 30.Rb5 Rc7 31.Rcb1 a4 32.Ra5 Kg7 33.Kg2 Bd3 34.Rb8 f5 35.Rba8 Bc2 36.Kf3 Be4+ 37.Bxe4 fxe4+ 38.Ke3 Rc2 39.Rxa4 Re7 40.Rd8 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Gelfand,Boris (2733) - Kamsky,Gata (2732) [A10]
WCh Candidates - Rapids Kazan RUS (2.5), 16.05.2011
1.c4 g6 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Qa4+ Bd7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 a6 7.g3 b5 8.Qb3 c5 9.Bg2 c4 10.Qd1 Nc6 11.b3 cxb3 12.axb3 Bg7 13.d4 0-0 14.0-0 Rc8 15.Bb2 Qb6 16.Ne5 Rfd8 17.Nxd7 Rxd7 18.e3 e6 19.Rc1 Rdc7 20.Ne4 Nxe4 21.Bxe4 a5 22.Qd2 a4 23.bxa4 bxa4 24.Ba3 Na5 25.Bc5 Qb5 26.Rb1 Nb3 27.Qa2 Bf8 28.Bc2 Rb8 29.Bxf8 Kxf8 30.Rb2 Rc3 31.Ra1 Qc4 32.Bd1 Rb4 33.Rab1 Kg7 34.Rc2 Qd3 35.Rxc3 Qxc3 36.Bc2 f6 37.h4 h6 38.Kh2 g5 39.Bxb3 Rxb3 40.Qxa4 Rxb1 41.Qd7+ Kg6 42.g4 gxh4 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


Boris Gelfand is always very expressive during his games


... and he will often play with a piece, twirling it around with his fingers

Grischuk,Alexander (2747) - Kramnik,Vladimir (2785) [D37]
WCh Candidates - Rapids Kazan RUS (2.6), 16.05.2011
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.c5 Nh5 8.b4 Nxf4 9.exf4 c6 10.Bd3 b6 11.0-0 a5 12.a3 Qc7 13.g3 Ba6 14.Bxa6 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Kamsky,Gata (2732) - Gelfand,Boris (2733) [B90]
WCh Candidates - Rapids Kazan RUS (2.6), 16.05.2011
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nf3 Be7 8.Bc4 0-0 9.0-0 Be6 10.Bb3 Nc6 11.Qe2 Na5 12.Rfd1 Qc7 13.Bg5 Rac8 14.Bxf6 Bxf6 15.Rac1 Nxb3 16.axb3 Qc6 17.Nd5 Bd8 18.c4 f5 19.exf5 Bxf5 20.h3 Qe8 21.Rc3 Qg6 22.Nh2 Bh4 23.Nf3 Bd8 24.Kh2 Kh8 25.b4 Be6 26.Re3 Qf7 27.b3 b5 28.Kh1 Qb7 29.Re4 Bf5 30.Re3 Be6 31.Re4 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Gelfand,Boris (2733) - Kamsky,Gata (2732) [A10]
WCh Candidates - Rapids Kazan RUS (2.7), 16.05.2011
1.c4 g6 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.g3 Bg7 6.Bg2 0-0 7.0-0 c5 8.Qa4 Nb4 9.d3 Bd7 10.Qd1 Bc6 11.Be3 Nd7 12.Rc1 Rc8 13.Qb3 e6 14.Rfd1 a5 15.Bg5 Qe8 16.a3??

Do you see the combination? Just stare at the diagram (Black to play and win) without peeking at the moves.


Boris Gelfand plays the fatal move 16.a3?? and immediately realizes...


... that he has blundered. Gata Kamsky, of course, finds the refutation

16...c4! The queen is trapped. 17.Qxc4 (17.dxc4 only makes it worse: 17...Nc5 and the queen is still lost) 17...Bxf3 18.Bxf3 Rxc4 19.dxc4 Nc6. Black has a queen for rook and knight. Kamsky knows how to play it and brings home the bacon. 20.Nb5 Nc5 21.b4 axb4 22.axb4 Nxb4 23.Rb1

23...Nba6 24.Nd6 Qa4 25.Nxb7 Nxb7 26.Bxb7 Qxc4 27.Bf3 h6 28.Be3 Nb4 29.Rbc1 Nc2 30.Ba7 Qa4 31.Bb6 Nd4 32.Bxd4 Bxd4 33.Rd3 Bf6 34.Rc7 Rd8 0-1. [Click to replay]

Kramnik,Vladimir (2785) - Grischuk,Alexander (2747) [A04]
WCh Candidates - Rapids Kazan RUS (2.7), 16.05.2011
1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5 4.e3 Nf6 5.d4 e4 6.Ne5 g6 7.Rb1 h5 8.Be2 Qe7 9.b3 cxd4 10.exd4 d6 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bg5 Bf5 13.0-0 Bh6 14.Bxh6 Rxh6 15.Qc1 Rh8 16.Qf4 Kf8 17.b4 Kg7 18.Rb3 h4 19.h3 Rae8 20.b5 c5 21.Qe3


Alexander Grischuk with a smiling portrait of his opponent on the backdrop

21...Rd8 22.a4 d5 23.cxd5 Nxd5 24.Nxd5 Rxd5 25.dxc5 Qxc5 26.a5 Qxe3 27.fxe3 Rb8 28.Rc1 a6 29.Rcb1 Be6 30.Rb4 axb5 31.Rxb5 Rbxb5 32.Bxb5 Rd2 33.Ra1 Bd5 34.a6 Rb2 35.Bf1 Kf6 36.Ra5 Rd2 37.Rc5 Ke6 38.Ra5 Kd6 39.Bc4 Rd1+ 40.Kh2 Ba8 41.Bxf7 Rd3 42.a7 Kc7 43.Rb5 Bb7 44.Ra5 Ba8 45.Re5 Kb6 46.Re7 g5 47.Bg6 Rxe3 48.Kg1 Ra3 49.Bxe4 Bxe4 50.Rxe4 Kxa7 51.Kf2 Kb6 52.Re5 g4 53.hxg4 Rg3 54.Re4 Kc5 55.g5 Rxg5 56.Rxh4 Kd5 57.Rf4 Ke5 58.Rf8 Ke6 59.Rf3 Ke5 60.Rf7 Ke6 61.Rf8 Ke5 62.Kg1 Rf5 63.Rxf5+ Kxf5 64.Kf1 Kf4 65.Kf2 Kg4 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Grischuk,Alexander (2747) - Kramnik,Vladimir (2785) [D37]
WCh Candidates - Rapids Kazan RUS (2.8), 16.05.2011
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.c5 Nh5 8.Bd3 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


Boris Gelfand looks over to the other table...


... and shakes his head over the eight-move draw

Around here Garry Kasparov called and asked whether we would be covering the Nakamura-Ponomariov match in St. Louis. Hearing a note of yearning in his voice we said: "Of course we are. You're dying to see some top-level, fighting chess, right?" "Yes," he replied, "and games that last longer than eight moves!"

Kamsky,Gata (2732) - Gelfand,Boris (2733) [B32]
WCh Candidates - Rapids Kazan RUS (2.8), 16.05.2011
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Qb6 5.Nb3 Nf6 6.Nc3 e6 7.Bd3 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.a4 d6 10.Be3 Qc7 11.f4 b6 12.Qf3 Bb7 13.Nb5 Qb8 14.c3 e5

15.f5 a6 16.Na3 d5 17.Nd2 Qd8 18.Bf2 d4 19.Qe2 Re8 20.Nb3 Nd7 21.Kh1 Bxa3 22.Rxa3 Nc5 23.Bc4 Na5 24.Nxa5 bxa5

Boris Gelfand had to win this final rapid game with the black pieces to stay in the Candidates, but it is Kamsky who now has it in his reach to settle matters: the tactical blow 25.Bxf7+ Kxf7 26.Qc4+ Bd5 (26...Kf8 27.Qxc5+) 27.exd5 should be enough to guarantee the US grandmaster at least a draw and move into the finals. However he plays 25.Qh5? which hands the initiative over to Gelfand. 25...Qc7 26.Bd5 Bxd5 27.exd5 Ne4 28.Bg1. Things are going from bad to worse for Gata Kamsky. 28...Qc4 29.Raa1 Qxd5 30.Rad1 d3 31.Qf3 Rad8 32.Rfe1 Nf6 33.Qxd5 Rxd5 34.c4 Rd7 35.Bb6 e4 36.c5 Rc8 37.h3 h5 38.Kg1 h4 39.Bxa5 Rxc5 40.Bc3 Rc4 41.Bxf6 gxf6 42.b3 Rb4 43.Kf2 Rd5 44.Ke3 Rxf5 45.Rc1 Rg5 46.Rc4 Rxc4 47.bxc4 Rxg2 48.c5

It is all over and the game is elegantly wrapped up by Gelfand with 48...Re2+ 49.Rxe2 dxe2 50.Kxe2 Kf8 0-1. [Click to replay]


This is how Deep Fritz tracked the evaluation during the game on our Chesslive broadcast page

Kramnik,Vladimir (2785) - Grischuk,Alexander (2747) [A04]
WCh Candidates - Blitz Kazan RUS (2.9), 16.05.2011
1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Be2 Bg7 8.Be3 0-0 9.0-0 Bd7 10.Qd2 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 Bc6 12.Bd3 a5 13.Rfe1 a4 14.Nd5 Nd7 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.Re3 e5 17.Rh3 h5 18.Ne3 Rh8 19.Rg3 Nc5 20.Rd1 h4 21.Rh3 Bxe4 22.Bf1 Bc6 23.Nd5 Bxd5 24.Qxd5 Ra6 25.Re3 Qf6 26.b4 axb3 27.axb3 Rb6 28.h3 Rxb3 29.Rxb3 Nxb3 30.Qxd6 Qxd6 31.Rxd6 Rc8 32.Rd5 Kf6 33.Rd6+ Ke7 34.Rb6 Nc5 35.g3 hxg3 36.fxg3 Rc6 37.Rb5 f5 38.Kf2 b6 39.Ke3 Rd6 40.h4 Kf6 41.Be2 g5 42.hxg5+ Kxg5 43.Kf3 Rh6 44.Rb1 Ne6 45.Kg2 Nd4 46.Bd1 Rc6 47.Rb5 Nxb5 0-1. [Click to replay]


Fateful: Vladimir Kramnik lost his first blitz game against Alexander Grischuk

Kamsky,Gata (2732) - Gelfand,Boris (2733) [A45]
WCh Candidates - Blitz Kazan RUS (2.9), 16.05.2011
1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 c5 3.e3 e6 4.c3 b6 5.Nf3 Bb7 6.Nbd2 Be7 7.Bd3 cxd4 8.cxd4 Nc6 9.a3 Nh5 10.Bg3 0-0 11.Ne5 g6 12.Nxc6 dxc6 13.Be4 Qd7 14.Nc4 c5 15.Ne5 Qc8 16.Bxb7 Qxb7 17.0-0 Rfd8 18.Qf3 Qxf3 19.Nxf3 Nxg3 20.hxg3 Bf6 21.dxc5 bxc5 22.Rab1 Rab8 23.Rfc1 Rxb2 24.Rxb2 Bxb2 25.Rxc5 Rd1+ 26.Kh2 Rd5 27.Rxd5 exd5 28.a4 Kf8 29.Ne1 Ke7 30.Nd3 Bc3 31.g4 Kd6 32.Kg3 Kc6 33.Kf3 Kb6 34.Nf4 Ka5 35.Nxd5 Bg7 36.Ne7 Kxa4 37.Nc6 a5 38.Ke4 Kb5 39.Nxa5 Kxa5 40.Kd5 g5 41.Kd6 Bc3 42.Ke7 f6 43.f4 Kb5 44.Kf7 Kc4 45.Kg7 Kd3 46.Kh6 gxf4 47.exf4 Ke4 48.g3 Kf3 49.g5 f5 50.Kxh7 Kxg3 and our engines tell us it is mate in 13. 0-1. [Click to replay]


Kamsky resigns in the first blitz playoff game

Grischuk,Alexander (2747) - Kramnik,Vladimir (2785) [B06]
WCh Candidates - Blitz Kazan RUS (2.10), 16.05.2011
1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 a6 4.Be3 b5 5.h4 h5 6.Nh3 Bb7 7.Ng5 d6 8.Bd3 Nd7 9.a4 c6 10.Ne2 e5 11.axb5 cxb5 12.c4 Ngf6 13.cxb5 axb5 14.Rxa8 Qxa8 15.dxe5 dxe5 16.0-0 Bc6 17.Qb3 0-0 18.f3 Qb7 19.Rc1 Nb8 20.Nc3 Nh7 21.Bxb5 Nxg5 22.hxg5 Rd8 23.Bc4 Qc7 24.Nd5 Qd7 25.Rd1 Qe8 26.Nf6+ Bxf6 27.gxf6 Nd7 28.Rd6 Rc8 29.Qd3 Nf8 30.b3 Bd7 31.Bh6 Be6 32.Bxf8 Bxc4 33.bxc4 Qxf8 34.c5 Kh7 35.c6 Qh6 36.Qd2 Qxd2 37.Rxd2 Rxc6 38.Rd7 Rxf6 39.Re7 Kh6 40.Rxe5 g5 41.Kh2 Kg6 42.Ra5 Rd6 43.Kg3 Rc6 44.Rb5 f6 45.Ra5 Rc1 46.Kh2 Re1 47.Rb5 g4 48.Kg3 gxf3 49.gxf3 Re3 50.Rf5 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Gelfand,Boris (2733) - Kamsky,Gata (2732) [A04]
WCh Candidates - Blitz Kazan RUS (2.10), 16.05.2011
1.Nf3 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.0-0 Bg7 5.d4 0-0 6.b3 e6 7.Bb2 h6 8.c4 d6 9.Nbd2 g5 10.Qc2 Nc6 11.e4 g4 12.Nh4 f4 13.e5 f3 14.Bxf3 gxf3 15.exf6 Qxf6 16.Ndxf3 Bd7 17.Rae1 Be8 18.Re3 Bh5 19.Rfe1 Rae8 20.Bc3 Nd8 21.d5 e5 22.Rf1 Nf7 23.Nd2 Qd8 24.Ng6 Bxg6 25.Qxg6 Ng5 26.Ne4 Nf3+ 27.Kg2 Nd4 28.Bd2 Kh8 29.Rd3 Nf5 30.Rf3 Qd7 31.Qh5 Kg8 32.Kh1 b5 33.g4 Nd4 34.Rxf8+ Rxf8 35.Bxh6 bxc4 36.bxc4 Nf3 37.Qg6 Nh4 38.Qxg7+ Qxg7 39.Bxg7 Kxg7 40.Ng5 Rb8 41.Ne6+ Kg6 42.Nxc7 Rc8 43.Nb5 Rxc4 44.Nxd6 Rc2 45.Nf5 Nf3 46.Kg2 e4 47.Rd1 Ne5 48.d6 Nd7 49.Rd4 Rxa2 50.Rxe4 Rd2 51.h4 a5 52.Re6+ Nf6 53.g5 Kxf5 54.Rxf6+ Ke5 55.h5 a4 56.h6 1-0. [Click to replay]


Gelfand reaches across to get a white queen for the upcoming promotion...


... and Kamsky resigns (with the chessboard insert still a few moves behind)


The two finalists, Boris Gelfand and Alexander Grischuk in the press conference
after the match (led by press officer Boris Kutin in the middle)


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
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    

Live broadcast

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When you go to the Chesslive broadcast page you get a list of all the games that are currently available in the broadcast room. The ones with the most viewers are on top, so it is easy to access the most important games. You can load and follow multiple games by clicking on "Games" on the left, to get the list. Each loaded game has its own icon, and clicking on these will jump to that game. If there is a "public engine" running its assessment of the position will appear as a bar chart below the notation. Note that you can resize the windows in the game applet.


Deep Fritz displays the evaluation changes in the game Kramnik-Grischuk


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