Improve your chess with Boris Gelfand (1/2)

by Sagar Shah
4/28/2016 – ChessBase editor Sagar Shah met Boris Gelfand at the Candidates tournament 2016 in Moscow and did an hour long interview with him. In this first part we ask Boris about how he became such a strong blindfold player, how one should work on the three phases of the game, his best games of chess and how much importance he gives to computer engines. Besides this, you will also have a chance to test yourself with a study that Boris himself struggled with!

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Improve your chess with Boris Gelfand (1/2)

Interview by Sagar Shah

I was standing at the crowded reception of the Cosmos Hotel in Moscow for the Aeroflot Open 2016, waiting to hand in my passport and get the keys to my room. I turned around for a moment and noticed Boris Gelfand standing right behind me. Wearing a waistcoat to beat the Russian cold, he was talking in an animated manner with a friend. I greeted Boris and asked him to go ahead and take my spot in the queue. "Thank you" and a smile erupted on Boris' face as he submitted his passport.

It was the first time I had met and seen this great champion in person. With the gruelling time control of the Aeroflot Open, in which I too was playing, I hardly found any time to speak with Boris again. On the last day, after he finished the tournament as joint first, I asked Boris if he could spare an hour for an interview that would be published on the ChessBase newspage. Yes, of course. But tomorrow I will be playing in the Blitz tournament and then will be leaving immediately for some work. I will be there on the first two days of the Candidates. I will be doing commentary but I am sure that we will be able to find some time."

I was happy that Boris was interested for the interview but deep down I knew that it would be difficult to fit it in during the Candidates. After all as a super-strong grandmaster and an expert he would be in great demand at the venue. The first day of the Candidates saw Gelfand doing the commentary for nearly four hours. "Tomorrow is my last chance," I said to myself. I went back to my room and prepared a list of questions for the interview. The next day I reached the Central Telegraph building and looked around for Boris. He was not to be seen. I went inside the press room and as I was putting my stuff on the chair, I heard a voice from behind: "So, shall we do the interview?"

I was amazed! Instead of me finding Boris, this man had looked for me and had specially allocated time in his schedule for our chat. Here was a person who stayed true to his word. I immediately sat down with Boris, opened my sheet of questions, turned on the live games page on my laptop so that Boris could follow the Candidates games. For the next hour I grilled Boris on all sorts of matters that could help the readers get an insight as to how a top player thinks. 

Sagar Shah:Boris, let us begin with the Aeroflot Open that you played from 1st to 10th March. How was your experience playing the tournament and why did you choose to play this event?

Boris Gelfand: It was a strong event. Recently, I didn’t have many opportunities to play classical games. It’s important to play tournaments to keep yourself sharp. I am a very ambitious player and I want to keep playing. Those were the reasons why I decided to take part in the Aeroflot Open and the experience was quite good. It had its share of ups and downs but basically I am happy with the result. What makes Aeroflot Open different from other open events is that whatever you do, you will get a strong opponent. It was very intense with lot of youngsters coming from all over the world. I am glad I took part in it.

SS: Was the seven hour time control one of the reasons why you decided to play the Aeroflot Open?

BG: I like to play long games so this time control was preferable. But I am fine with shorter ones as well. [The time control at the Aeroflot Open was 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, then 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and 15 minutes for the rest of the game, with an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from the first.]

SS: You drew the first two rounds against Artyom Timofeev and the unheralded Haik Martirosyan. What was your mindset going into the third game?

BG: I was very positive. It is obvious that this boy [Haik Martirosyan] whom I played in the second round is much stronger than his rating suggests. At the end of the event he finished with a positive result of +1. He played a good tournament and will be one the stars of the future.
I was glad that I was paired against Anton Demchenko in the third round, because I looked at his repertoire and I saw that he goes for the Open Sicilian. Of course, this opening gives chances to both sides. I was happy to see this fact and I think I played a good game. I didn’t check it in great detail yet but from what I saw it was a good game. He missed some finesses and it was enough to get into trouble.


Boris scored 6.5/9 and finished joint first at the Aeroflot Open with Evgeniy Najer

SS: Three of your games in this tournament lasted for seven hours: against Bartel, Grachev and Jumabayev. You are not so young anymore! How did you withstand this pressure?

BG: It was very tiring and having no rest days was quite a huge problem. When you play round robins there is always some time to relax, while here especially at the end it was tough. After the games I had my dinner, went for a massage, and after coming back to the room I would invariably fall asleep. I did not analyze my games. In the morning there were some hours because the round began in the afternoon. So I went for a walk each morning in the nearby park and then I prepared before going to the game. I stuck to this routine and it worked. Unfortunately the weather was the horrible until the eighth round. It was grey and dark and raining and snowing, but I managed. On the last two days especially the blitz tournament it was really fantastic weather and my mood was better.

SS: Do you follow a routine every time you play a tournament?

BG: More or less I always follow a routine. There are usually some adjustments depending on the time of the start of the round and other factors, like weather. For example, at the Aeroflot Open after the games ended it was already very dark and it was not so nice to go for a walk at night. So I preferred to go out in the morning and relax in the evening.

SS: One of the most amazing things when someone sees you play is your ability to spin pieces, right from the pawn to the queen, in your hand while playing. How are you able to spin them so perfectly and how did this habit come about?

Watch this video captured by Amruta Mokal at the Aeroflot Blitz where
Gelfand flips his queen to perfection without any difficulty!

BG: 40 years of experience, you see. 40 years of experience! (Smiles) Everybody laughs at it. In the past 40 years of my playing career two players were not happy with this (Portisch and Vallejo) and complained to the arbiter and I stopped it immediately because I don’t do it to disturb my opponents. It’s just a habit. Maybe a bad habit, I don’t know. Most of the people find it funny. I have seen a lot of people trying to catch it with their camera and film it.

SS: One more habit of yours while playing is that you do not sit at the board. You are walking around and thinking at the same time. Are you able to calculate in as much depth while thinking blindfold, as much as you could have had you been sitting on the board?

BG: Yes I try to think in as much depth in both the cases. Sometimes while thinking blindfold I try to widen my horizons. Often you focus on one line but it can be useful to pause and think whether there are some other options. Maybe you are stuck within a framework and forget about the other possibilities in the position. When I walk I am as focused as I am when sitting at the board. The only problem in Moscow was that there were many people who came to meet me and they smiled, so it was a bit distracting. But usually when I approach time control and I am in time pressure I sit at the board.

Not seeing the board is not such a huge handicap for Boris

SS: What would you recommend to players who would like to improve their blindfold chess?

BG: I don’t think I am extremely strong in blindfold chess. I played in the Melody Amber tournament, specially known for blindfold chess and did well sometimes. But there are other guys like Kramnik or Morozevich who are really incredible. I think it’s important to keep the position that is on the board in your head. I spoke a lot about it with great trainer and grandmaster Yuri Razuvaev, who unfortunately passed away, and he put utmost importance on young players learning to do it. So I developed this skill in the following manner: Let’s say after the game I walk or have dinner with my seconds or other players, we would discuss positions in the head and try to analyze what happened in the game. We would not rush to the computer to check but preferred to discuss with each other. This develops the ability to think blindfold immensely. This ability to keep the position in the head and calculate is extremely important according to me.

This picture was taken on Lilienthal's 90th birthday in Moscow. Lilienthal is surrounded by grandmasters: Boris Gelfand, Vladimir Kramnik, Yuri Averbakh, Evgeni Vasiukov, Sergei Makarichev and Yuri Razuvaev. [A huge thanks to legendary photographer Boris Dolmatovsky for sharing one of Boris Gelfand's favourite pictures with the chess world]

SS: If you were given a position, can you easily set it up in your mind and start thinking?

BG: Yes it is important to learn to do it. Also what I do at home when I go for a walk is to get a study and solve it while I am walking. That’s what Razuvaev taught me. It’s a good idea and I often do it.

SS: I have a study for you. Can I give it to you?

BG: (With excitement) Yes, tell me!

SS: White king is on b2, pawn a5, rook a6. Black king is on f3, rook is on f8 and pawn on g4. And it is Black to play and win. [While I dictated this position to Boris he would say the square out aloud. For example when I said rook is on "f8", he would respond with the words f8. It meant that he had placed that piece in his head. We would recommend the readers to try and have a crack at this problem blindfold. If you are unable to do that then you can click on the board diagram link below to see the board position. Once you have solved it you can read Boris’ thought process and the answer in PGN]

The instant I gave Boris the position, he was down to business! And just look at the dedication!

BG: [Thinking hard about the position and trying to understand the nuances and after exactly 60 seconds] 1…g3 doesn’t work, yeah. 2.Rg6 g2 3.Kb3 4.Rf4 a6 and it’s a draw. Other options are (thinks for a bit) either 1…Rf5, Rg8 or Rb8+

SS: One of them is correct!

BG: [With a smile] yeah, yeah! Candidate moves are always useful you see! Let’s see 1…Rf5 2.Kb3 g3 3.Kb4 Rg5 4. Rf6 Ke2 Re6 Kd2 Rd6 Kc2 Re6 g2 Re1 and it’s a draw. So let’s consider other options 1…Rg8 2.Rf6 Ke2 3.Re6 nowhere to go, yeah? Rf6+ Ke4 maybe.

SS: Why don’t you consider the line starting with 1…Rf5 again.

BG: [In a flash] Yes, got it. 1…Rf5 2.Kb3 g3 3.Kb4 g2 4.Rg6 Rf4+! and Rg4 and wins. Intermediate moves are important! And another point is that 1…Rf5 2.Ra8 g3 3.a6 you keep following the pawn with Rf6 4.a7 Rf7 and wins. This is standard rook endgame technique.

SS: Perfect! I have given this position to many grandmasters and they couldn’t solve it even looking at the board! You solved it blindfold in less than five minutes!

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.04.12"] [Round "?"] [White "Study Solution"] [Black "?"] [Result "0-1"] [Annotator "Boris Gelfand"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "5r2/8/R7/P7/6p1/5k2/1K6/8 b - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "7"] {Rf5 is the right move and was one of Gelfand's candidate moves. A small nudge after initial miscalculation was good enough for him to figure out all the variations.} 1... Rf5 $1 ({This is the first line that Gelfand considers.} 1... g3 2. Rg6 g2 3. Kb3 Rf4 4. a6 $11) (1... Rg8 {was another move suggested by Boris} 2. Rf6+ Ke2 3. Re6+ {leads nowhere.}) 2. Ra8 (2. Kb3 g3 3. Kb4 g2 4. Rg6 {Gelfand thought that this position was a draw but later he spotted} Rf4+ $1 5. Kb5 Rg4 $19) 2... g3 3. a6 Rf6 $1 4. a7 Rf7 $1 $19 {A very nice idea of following the a-pawn and the g-pawn now queens.} 0-1

Coming to your openings, you usually begin the game with 1.d4 and recently you have stuck to this move. Are you not afraid that your opponents would come prepared with computer analysis?

BG: Of course I am afraid, but it’s a risk whatever you do! If you prepare a lot of moves, you cannot go too deep and your opponents might be better prepared. Also, I play a lot of different systems, sometimes the Catalan, sometimes 3.Nf3 and 4.Nc3, and I keep varying. I don’t think my opening repertoire is narrow.

SS: What is your opinion about the opening? Should players focus on the openings since young age or they should first work on other phases of the game?

BG: I think it is always better to focus on other aspects of the game apart from openings at an early age. Let’s say learning basic endgames, to get some tactical alertness, to learn pattern recognition, to study the classics. I think all these are much more important than focusing on the openings.

SS: At some point, however, one would have to learn openings. At that moment how would you advice players to go about working on this first phase of the game?

BG: It’s different for different people. I believe that young players must try to follow the repertoire of a player whom they like the most.  You can easily get the opening ideas and you are also able to follow the complete games. For example, if you like a classical player you can take Kramnik’s repertoire. But you also have to be alert. You cannot just blindly follow the sharp lines. Your idol might have worked a lot while you just don’t know what to do! I would also suggest playing openings that suit your style.

SS: Who was your idol when you were young?

BG: I loved Rubinstein. But I looked at books of selected games of most of the top players like Geller, Polugaevsky, Alekhine, Botvinnik, Tarrasch, Fischer, Larsen and many more. Unfortunately there is no good book on Spassky. He hasn’t written any books and we can have his games only with comments by someone else. I also studied a lot of books written by Keres, his best games and also his book on the World Championship Tournament 1948. Keres was a good writer. A lot of top level players were good writers but not all of them wanted to spend time penning down their thoughts.

SS: Talking about good players being good writers, you have recently written a book together with Jacob Aagaard for Quality Chess on Positional Decision Making in Chess. And part II is coming out soon. Do you think writing the book has helped you evolve as a player?

Download and read a sample or just have a look at the reviews for this book by top players over here

BG: One of my favorite authors, Somerset Maugham, wrote his autobiographical book "Summing up" and somehow wrote his best novels after that. I hope the same is the case with me! I collaborated with Jacob Aagaard on this project. We usually worked on Skype. I live far away from Jacob but thanks to the modern technology we can not only speak but also see each other. Basically, I gave him a file, then we discussed it and he asked questions which helped me to explain things better. He is a strong grandmaster and an experienced trainer. The questions Jacob asked made me think many times. Often I would reply: “Okay let me think! We will return to it next time.” This process of thinking over his questions made me learn quite a few things which I wasn’t aware of.

SS: In the first book I really liked the games where you grind out a small edge with white against the Slav Defence, slowly improving your pieces. Is that one of your most favourite ways to play?

BG: Well I would say that the games of Slav suited the topic of the first book Positional Decision Making. If it was some other topic, I am sure there would be games from other openings, like in book two where we focus on dynamic chess. I am not sure how many parts this series of books is going to last – definitely more than three. I hope we will have the energy, motivation and time to work on future books. I like this idea and I think it is well received. Many people praised the work and it gives you a good feeling.   

SS: Extremely impressive when seeing you play is the intensity with which you think. You are completely focused and often your face turns red. Are trying to create a masterpiece in every game that you play?

BG: I try to make the best moves. I understand that one cannot make masterpieces in every game that one plays, but deep inside whenever I sit down at the board I have the feeling that today I really want to play a great game and create a masterpiece.

SS: Could you tell us about some of the masterpieces that you have created in your chess career.

BG: Well let me think… If I had to create a list of my favourite games, then I would put the one against Shirov from Polanica Zdroj 1998, against Sergey Karjakin from World Cup 2009, against Wang Yue 2010, against Alexander Grischuk from the last game of the Candidates 2011 which brought me to the World Championship Match. These are the ones I would start with, although I am sure there are many more that I am missing out on.

[Ed- We do not want to put the entire game boards here of Boris' favourite games and distract you from reading the interview, but if you would like to see these gems, all you have to do is click the link below for the boards to open]

[Event "Rubinstein Memorial 35th"] [Site "Polanica Zdroj"] [Date "1998.08.20"] [Round "4"] [White "Gelfand, Boris"] [Black "Shirov, Alexei"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D85"] [WhiteElo "2675"] [BlackElo "2720"] [Annotator "Gelfand/Huzman"] [PlyCount "77"] [EventDate "1998.08.17"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "11"] [EventCountry "POL"] [EventCategory "17"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "1998.11.30"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. c4 Bg7 4. Nc3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. e4 Nxc3 7. bxc3 c5 8. Rb1 O-O 9. Be2 cxd4 10. cxd4 Qa5+ 11. Bd2 Qxa2 12. O-O Bg4 13. Bg5 h6 14. Bh4 a5 (14... Rd8 15. d5 g5 16. Bg3 b6 $6 17. Re1 Bxf3 18. Bxf3 Nd7 19. e5 $16 { Anand,V-Illescas Cordoba,M,Madrid,1998}) (14... g5 $1 15. Bg3 Nc6 16. d5 Rad8 17. Rxb7 e6 (17... f5 $1 {Chernin,A} 18. Qe1 (18. Bc7 fxe4 $1) 18... Bxf3 19. Bxf3 Nd4 20. exf5 Nxf3+ 21. gxf3 Qxd5 22. Rxa7 Rxf5 $11) 18. Bc7 $16 {1-0 Chernin,A-Horvath,Jzsef/Magyarorszag (ch) 56/547 1992 (36)}) 15. Rxb7 g5 16. Bg3 a4 17. h4 a3 18. hxg5 hxg5 {Both of the players definitely new Lautier, J-Sokolov,I game they were following.But they had different opinion about it. I believed that it is extremely dangerous for Black to rely only on a-pawn,and Alexey thought that this is a strong trump and it would help Black to hold the position.} 19. Rc7 $1 $146 {No,this is not an elaborated home preparation,as many people suggested later,but an over the board decision.This is multi-functioned move:White want to win a pawn by Rc2 and Ng5 or put their Bishop on important c4 square.I spent more than 1 hour trying to make this idea work.} (19. Rb5 {also looked very tempting,but Black managed to survive.} Nc6 20. Rxg5 Bxf3 21. gxf3 Qb2 22. Bc4 Rfd8 23. f4 Rxd4 24. Bxf7+ Kxf7 25. Qh5+ Kg8 26. e5 Qb3 27. Qg6 Qf7 28. Qxc6 Rad8 29. Qa6 Rd3 30. f5 Rf3 31. Ra1 Rxf5 32. Rxf5 Qxf5 33. Qxa3 e6 34. Qe7 Rf8 35. Qd6 Qg6 36. Rd1 Rf5 37. Qb8+ Kh7 38. Rd4 Rxe5 39. Rh4+ Rh5 40. Rxh5+ {A-A Lautier,Joel-Sokolov,Ivan/Sigeman & Co Malmoe (4) 1998}) 19... Na6 $2 {Black are going for the most forced line,which however doesn't solve their problems. I was more concerned about other options:} (19... Nd7 20. e5 $1 {Cutting both g7 and Ad7 out of game by just 1 move} (20. Bc4 Qb2 21. Rxd7 Bxd7 22. Nxg5 {is too aggressive} Qb6 $1 23. e5 ( 23. Qh5 Qh6 24. Bxf7+ Kh8) 23... Qg6) (20. Rc2 $6 {It is too straightforward} Qb3 21. Nxg5 Bxe2 (21... a2) 22. Rxe2 (22. Qxe2 $6 a2 (22... Bxd4 23. e5 Qxg3 24. Qh5 Qd3 25. Rd2 Qg6 $14) 23. Rb2 Qa3 24. Ra1 Bxd4 25. Rbxa2 Qxg3 26. Rxa8 Qxg5 $19) 22... Qxd1 23. Rxd1 Ra4 (23... a2 24. Ra1 Bxd4 (24... Ra5 25. e5 Rfa8 26. Rb2 $16) 25. Raxa2) 24. Nf3 Nb6 $44 {with full compensation}) (20. Re1 Qb2 21. Rc2 Qb6) 20... Qb2 (20... Rfc8 21. Bc4 Qxc4 (21... Qb2 22. Bxf7+ Kh8 23. Rxc8+ Rxc8 24. Qd3 $16) 22. Rxc4 Rxc4 23. Qb3 Raa4 24. Nxg5 $16) 21. Rc2 Qb3 ( 21... Qb6 22. Nxg5 Bf5 23. Ra2 $16) 22. Nxg5 a2 (22... Bxe2 23. Qxe2 a2 24. Ra1 Qb1+ 25. Rc1 Rfb8 $140 26. e6 Qxc1+ 27. Rxc1 Rb1 28. exf7+ Kf8 29. Ne6+ Kxf7 30. Ng5+ $18) 23. Rxa2 (23. Rc1 Qxd1 24. Bxd1 Bxd1 (24... a1=Q 25. Rxa1 Rxa1 26. Bxg4 Rxf1+ 27. Kxf1 Nb6 $14) 25. Rcxd1 (25. Rfxd1 Bh6 26. Bf4 Ra4 27. Be3 Rfa8 28. Ra1 Nb6 $44) 25... Nb6 $44) 23... Qxd1 24. Rxd1 Rxa2 25. Bxg4 Nb6 $14) (19... Qb2 20. Rc2 (20. Bc4 {also deserves attention,but I prefer 20. Ac2} a2 ( 20... e6 21. Bd6 Rd8 $5 (21... a2 22. Qa1 Qb6 23. Bxf8 Qxc7 24. Bxg7 Qxc4 25. Ne5) 22. e5 Nd7) 21. Qa1 Qxa1 22. Rxa1 Bxf3 23. gxf3 Na6 (23... Bxd4 24. Rxa2 Rxa2 25. Bxa2 e5 26. Bc4 $14) 24. Rxe7 Nb4 25. Rd7) 20... Qb3 (20... Qb6 21. Nxg5 Qxd4 (21... Bxe2 22. Qxe2 Nd7 23. e5 Ra4 24. e6 $16) (21... a2 22. Rxa2 Rxa2 23. Bxg4 Bxd4 (23... Qxd4 {-21...Od4}) 24. Be6 $1 fxe6 25. Qh5 Rfxf2 26. Qg6+) 22. Qxd4 Bxd4 23. Bxg4 a2 24. Rxa2 Rxa2 25. Ne6 Nc6 26. Nxf8 Kxf8 $14 { maybe this was one of the best possibilities,as it is very difficult for White to win this ending(but Black would suffer for around 100 moves)!}) 21. Nxg5 a2 22. Rxa2 Qxd1 23. Rxd1 Rxa2 24. Bxg4 $14 {EAe6.During the game I thought that this position is critical,and I still believe it! Similiar position could also happen from 19...Ad7 line.White are definitely better.They have to plans:to create passed d-pawn or try to bother Black's King.Black ,in my opinion should try to exchange rooks ,what would minimize White's advantage. }) (19... Bxf3 20. Bxf3 {doesn't give extra opportunities for Black}) 20. Rxe7 (20. Bxa6 $6 {is senseless} Rxa6 (20... Bxf3) 21. Qd3 Bxf3) (20. Bc4 Qb2 21. Rxe7 {would force matters,but I dont see a way Black could avoid this position anyway.}) 20... Qb2 (20... Bf6 21. Rb7) 21. Bc4 Qb4 (21... Bf6 {Black are following main line,otherwise they were going to get mated.} 22. Rxf7 Rxf7 23. e5 $1 (23. Bxf7+ Kxf7 24. Nxg5+ Bxg5 25. Qxg4 $18) 23... Be7 (23... Qb7 24. exf6 Bxf3 25. Qd2 Be4 26. Re1) 24. Bxf7+ Kxf7 25. Nxg5+) (21... a2 22. Rxf7 Rxf7 23. Bxf7+ Kxf7 (23... Kh8 24. Qa1 (24. Bd5)) 24. Nxg5+ $18) 22. Bxf7+ (22. Rxf7 $6 Qxc4 23. Rxg7+ Kxg7 24. Qd2 Bxf3 25. Qxg5+ Kh7 26. gxf3 Qf7 {and white could hardly hope even for a draw.}) 22... Kh8 {it looks like White's Rook is traped and their attack was incorrect.} (22... Rxf7 23. Rxf7 Bxd4 24. Be5 Bxe5 25. Qd5 $18) 23. Rd7 $3 {This is main move of the game,and I am proud that I foreseen it from quite far.Shirov ,in his turn, called 23.Rd7 a 'prosaic 'move (and I have to agree with him!) and was afraid of even more imaginative idea: it looks like White Rook is traped and their attack was incorrect.But I prepared a suprise for my opponent.} (23. Be6 $1 Bxf3 (23... Qxe7 24. Bxg4 { a-pawn is still far and White already have a material advantage}) 24. Rxg7 Bxd1 25. Be5 $3 {the point of Alexey's idea.Now mate in 2 is a threat} Qb5 {the only defence} 26. d5 $1 (26. Bd5 {Bishop is trying to protect his more important colleage,but} Rf5 $3 {Now White have few possibilities,but it looks like they dont have an advantage} (26... Qxd5 27. exd5 Ba4 (27... Be2 28. Ra1 $18) 28. Ra1 Rf5 29. Rxg5+ Rxe5 30. dxe5) 27. exf5 (27. Rb7+ Rxe5 28. Rxb5 Be2 (28... Rxd5 29. Rxd5 $13) 29. dxe5 Bxb5 $11) 27... Qxd5 28. Rd7+ (28. Rxg5+ Kh7 29. Rxd1 a2 30. Kh2 (30. Rd3 a1=Q+ 31. Kh2 Qxe5+ 32. dxe5 Qxe5+) 30... Qe4 31. Kg3 Qb1 32. Rh5+ Kg8 33. Rdh1 Kf7 $13) 28... Qxe5 29. dxe5 {I was really amazed,when my opponent showed me this line in post-mortem.During the game Alexey was not sure about Black's chances here,but as analysis show,draw is most likely result here.} Bc2 (29... Bg4 30. Rd4 Bxf5 31. Ra4 Nc7 32. Rxa8+ Nxa8 33. Ra1 Nc7 34. Rxa3 Ne6 $14) 30. g4 Nc5 31. Rc7 a2 32. Kg2 a1=Q 33. Rxa1 Rxa1 34. Rxc5 Be4+ $11 35. f3 Ra2+ 36. Kg1 Bxf3) 26... Qb2 $1 {finally getting the Bishop} 27. Rg8+ Kh7 28. Bxb2 Rxg8 (28... axb2 29. Rxf8 b1=Q (29... Rxf8 30. Rxd1) 30. Rxa8) 29. Bxa3 $1 Bc2 30. Bf5+ {No,we are not going to exchange our nice Bishop for a passive Rook} Kh6 31. Rc1 Ba4 32. e5 $16 {And White are better,but it is difficult to claim something more being a Rook down!}) 23... Bxd7 {After making a difficult route a1-b1-b7-c7-e7-d7,Rook has no plce to go, but 24. d6 is a threat,soBlack has no choice,but to take.} (23... Bf6 24. Bd5 ( 24. Bd6 Qb5) (24. Be6 $1) 24... Bxd7 25. Nxg5) (23... Qb5 24. Rd5) (23... a2 24. Bxa2 (24. Bd6) 24... Rxf3 (24... Bxd7 25. Nxg5) 25. gxf3 Bxd7 26. Kg2 Bxd4 27. Rh1+ Kg7 28. Be5+) 24. Nxg5 Qb6 25. Be6 $1 {This is a point.Black has to give up Queen to revent a decisive check from h-line} Qxe6 (25... Be8 26. Qg4 Bxd4 (26... Rf6 27. Be5 Rxe6 $140 28. Nf7+) 27. Qh4+ Kg7 28. Qh7+ Kf6 29. e5+ Kxg5 (29... Bxe5 30. Qf5+ Ke7 31. Qxe5 $18) 30. Qg7+ Bg6 31. Bh4+ Kf4 32. Qxg6 $18) 26. Nxe6 Bxe6 27. Be5 $5 (27. Bd6 a2 (27... Rfd8 28. Be5 Bc4 (28... Ra7 29. Qc1 (29. Qh5+ Kg8 30. Ra1 a2 31. d5)) (28... Rd7 29. Qh5+ Kg8 30. Qg6 Bb3 31. Bxg7 Rxg7 32. Qb6 $18) 29. Qh5+ Kg8 30. Qg6 Ra7 31. Ra1 a2 32. Qc6 Bf7 33. Bxg7 Kxg7 34. d5 Nc7 $16) 28. Bxf8 Rxf8 (28... Bxf8 29. d5 Bg7 30. Qh5+ Kg8 31. dxe6 $18) 29. Qh5+ (29. Qa4 Nc7 30. d5 (30. Qc6 Bxd4 31. Qxc7 a1=Q (31... Ra8 32. Qd6) 32. Rxa1 Bxa1) 30... Ra8 31. Qc6) 29... Kg8 30. Qa5 Bc4 31. Qa4 Rc8 32. Rc1) 27... Rf7 (27... Bc4 28. Qc1 (28. Qh5+ Kg8 29. Qg6 Ra7 30. Ra1 a2 31. Qc6 Bf7 32. Bxg7 Kxg7 33. d5 Nc7 $16 34. Rxa2 Rxa2 35. Qxc7 {We believe that this type of position ,which could arise from a lot of lines is in a long run won for White}) 28... Bxe5 29. Qxc4 Bg7 30. Ra1 (30. Rc1 a2 31. Ra1 Rfc8 32. Qd3 Nb4 $1 (32... Nc5 33. Qh3+ Kg8 34. Rxa2 Bxd4 35. e5 $1) 33. Qh3+ Kg8 34. Qb3+ Kh7 35. Qxb4 Rcb8) 30... Rfc8 31. Qd3 Nc5 (31... Bf8 32. e5) 32. Qh3+ Kg8 33. e5) 28. Qh5+ (28. d5 Bd7 29. Qd4 Nc7 30. Ra1 Nb5 31. Bxg7+ Rxg7 32. Qe3) 28... Kg8 29. Qg6 Bd7 (29... Bc4 30. Qc6) (29... Bb3 30. Bxg7 Rxg7 31. Qb6) 30. Bxg7 (30. Qg3 {this difficult to find move,proposed by fritz5 was more practical(but maybe not stronger).Very often You see diffirent picture-computer's proposal is sometimes stronger,but much less practical.} a2 (30... Nb4 31. Bxg7 Rxg7 32. Qb3+ Kh8 33. Qxb4 Bh3 34. Ra1) 31. Ra1) 30... Rxg7 31. Qd6 Kh7 {Alexei misses an exelent practical chance,which is strange,as he is, in my opinion,maybe the best defender in chess world.} (31... Rf8 32. Qxa3 (32. Qxa6 Bh3)) (31... Nc7 $3 {was the best try.} 32. Qxc7 Bh3 {would put me under a tough choice,taking in consideration,that I had less than 10 minutes left.} (32... Bb5 33. Qc5 Bxf1 34. Qd5+ Kh7 35. Qxa8 Bxg2 36. Qxa3 Bxe4+ 37. Kf1 {looks winning,as Black's pieces are very poorly coordinated.}) 33. Qc6 ( 33. Qxg7+ Kxg7 34. gxh3 Ra4 $3 {Exellent move} (34... a2 35. Ra1 Ra4 36. f3 { 3 extra pawns should be enough}) 35. Ra1 Rxd4 36. Rxa3 Rxe4 {Theory considers such a position drawish,but as far I know,a lot of strong grandmasters question this assessment.}) (33. Qc4+ Kh7 34. Qd5 Ra6) 33... Ra5 34. Rc1 $1 { The most precise decision,but I admit that I am not sure that I'll find it being very short of time.As the following lines showes,White are winning.} Rxg2+ (34... Bxg2 35. Qc8+ Kh7 36. Rc7 Rag5 37. Rxg7+ Rxg7 (37... Kxg7 38. Qc7+ $18) 38. Kh2) (34... a2 35. Kh2 Bxg2 (35... Bd7 36. Qc4+ Kh8 37. Qc3 Rag5 38. g3 Rh5+ 39. Kg2 Rgh7 40. d5+ Kg8 41. Kf3) 36. d5 $1 Kh7 37. Qf6 Ra8 38. d6 $5 $18) 35. Kh1 a2 36. Qe8+ Kh7 37. Qe7+ Kh6 38. Rc6+ (38. Qh4+ Rh5 39. Qf6+ Rg6) 38... Rg6 39. Qf8+ Kg5 40. Qd8+ Kf4 41. Qxa5 Rxc6 42. Qxa2 $18) 32. Qxa3 Nc7 33. Qe3 Ne6 34. d5 Ng5 35. f4 Nh3+ (35... Nf7 36. f5) 36. Kh1 Ra2 (36... Rag8 37. gxh3 Rg3 38. Rf3) 37. f5 $1 {Avoiding last trap} (37. gxh3 $2 Rgg2 $1 $11) 37... Ng5 38. f6 Rg6 39. f7 {40.f8N is White's threat,so Black Resign.I was very happy po play this game in memorial of one of my favorite players A. Rubinstein.I don't think it was done in his style,but I believe it worth his memory!} 1-0

[Event "World Cup"] [Site "Khanty-Mansiysk"] [Date "2009.12.06"] [Round "6.1"] [White "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Black "Gelfand, Boris"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C55"] [WhiteElo "2723"] [BlackElo "2758"] [Annotator "Gelfand,B"] [PlyCount "66"] [EventDate "2009.11.21"] [EventType "k.o."] [EventRounds "7"] [EventCountry "RUS"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2010.01.18"] {I think that this game was my best achievement in the World Cup. It is not so often that you beat such a strong player with Black by a mating attack and without him making an obvious mistake. Ich denke, dass diese Partie meine beste Leistung im World Cup war. Es kommt nicht oft vor, dass man einen derart starken Spieler als Schwarzer bezwingt, mit einem Mattangriff und ohne dass er einen offensichtlichen Fehler macht.} 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 {So, no Petroff today. Sergey had already played the Bishop's Opening once against me in a rapid game in Nice in 2008. Also, kein Russisch heute. Die Läufereröffnung hatte Sergey bereits einmal gegen mich gespielt, in einer Schnellpartie in Nizza 2008.} Nc6 {I had played 3...c6 that time, as well as 3 times in in 2009 (including twice in Khanti Mansiysk). However, it is always nice to change from time to time. Damals hatte ich 3...c6 gezogen, ebenso wie dreimal im Jahr 2009 (darnter zweimal in Khanti Mansiysk). Aber eine Abwechslung von Zeit zu Zeit zu tut immer gut.} 4. Nf3 Be7 5. O-O O-O 6. Bb3 ( 6. Re1 d6 7. a4 {is another possibility. Morozevich played it against me in Astana 2001. I had improved on that game and won against Sutovsky with White in Dagomys 2006. ist eine weitere Möglichkeit. Morozevich spielte dies gegen mich in Astana 2001. Zu dieser Partie hatte ich eine Verbesserung gefunden und in Dagomys 2006 gegen Sutovsky mit Weiß gewonnen.}) 6... d5 {The most straightforward system. Das gradlinigste System.} (6... d6 7. c3 {leads to a slower game, similiar to the Ruy Lopez. führt zu langsamerem Spiel, ähnlich wie im Spanier.}) 7. exd5 Nxd5 8. h3 ({The most challenging move is Der kritischste Zug ist} 8. Re1 Bg4 9. h3 {when Black has to choose beetween the pawn sacrifice , wonach Schwarz sich entscheiden muss zwischen dem Bauernopfer} Bh5 ({and und} 9... Bxf3 10. Qxf3 Nd4 11. Qxd5 Qxd5 12. Bxd5 Nxc2 13. Rxe5 { with an unclear position mit unklarer Stellung.}) 10. g4 Bg6 11. Nxe5 Nxe5 12. Rxe5 c6 13. Qf3 Bf6 (13... Bd6 $1 14. Re2 f5 (14... Kh8 {- 36/(395)}) 15. g5 f4 16. h4 Kh8 $13 {Kramnik,V}) 14. Re2 Kh8 15. Bxd5 cxd5 16. Nc3 Bxc3 17. bxc3 Rc8 {1/2-1/2 Kramnik,V (2715)-Kasparov,G (2805)/Novgorod 1995/Inf 63/[Kramnik,V] (58)} 18. Bd2 $16 {Kramnik,V}) 8... a5 $1 {Black is chasing the Bb3, and creating the eventual possibility for the R to enter into the game. Schwarz jagt den Bb3 und eröffnet sich die eventuelle Möglichkeit, den R ins Spiel zu bringen.} 9. a4 (9. a3 a4 10. Ba2 Kh8 11. Re1 f6 12. d4 exd4 13. Nxd4 Ndb4 14. axb4 Qxd4 $11 {1/2-1/2 Kramnik,V-Kasparov,G/New York PCA 1995 (41)}) (9. Ba4 { allows erlaubt} Nd4 $1 10. Nxe5 Nb6 11. c3 Nxa4 12. Qxa4 Ne2+ 13. Kh1 Bf6 { with a strong attack in Shirov,A-Mozetic,D,Tilburg, 1993. mit starkem Angriff in Shirov,A-Mozetic,D,Tilburg, 1993.}) 9... Nd4 ({Another solid plan was chosen by Alexander Onischuk twice. Ein anderer solider Plan wurde zweimal von Alexander Onischuk gewählt.} 9... Be6 10. Re1 Bf6 11. Nbd2 Nf4 12. Bxe6 Nxe6 13. Nc4 Re8 14. Bd2 (14. Nfxe5 Nxe5 15. Nxe5 Nd4 16. Bf4 Qd6 17. c3 Bxe5 18. Rxe5 Rxe5 19. Bxe5 Qxe5 20. cxd4 Qxd4 {1/2-1/2 Kudrin,S-Onischuk,A/Stillwater USA 2007 (41)}) 14... Nc5 15. Bc3 e4 16. Bxf6 {1/2-1/2 Tiviakov,S-Onischuk,A/ Sochi RUS 2007 (16)}) 10. Nxd4 (10. Nxe5 Nxb3 11. cxb3 Nb4 {gives Black more than enough compensation for the pawn. gibt Schwarz mehr als genug Kompensation für den Bauern.}) 10... exd4 11. Re1 {When my opponent made this move I was not glad. I intended to meet 11.Nd2 with Ra6 followed by Rg6. At first I thought that now Ra6 is not possible, as Black loses a piece, but then I had an idea... Als mein Gegner diesen Zug machte, war ich nicht erfreut. Ich hatte vor, 11.Nd2 mit Ra6 nebst Rg6 zu begegnen. Zuerst dachte ich, dass Ra6 jetzt nicht möglich sei, da Schwarz eine Figur verliert, doch dann kam mir eine Idee...} (11. Nd2 Ra6 12. Nf3 (12. Qf3 Nb4) 12... Rg6 13. Ne5 Re6 14. Qh5 c6 {leads to an approximately equal game. führt zu ungefähr gleichem Spiel.}) 11... Ra6 $3 {When I saw this move I immediately got excited. It would be a shame to see such a move and not to make it! But fortunately, I found out that this idea works! Als ich diesen Zug sah, wurde ich sofort aufgeregt. Es wäre eine Schande, einen solchen Zug zu sehen, und ihn nicht zu machen! Aber zum Glück stellte ich fest, dass diese Idee funktioniert!} (11... Be6 12. Na3 { with a balanced game. mit ausgeglichenem Spiel.}) 12. Qh5 ({If White accepts the piece sacrifice Falls Weiß das Figurenopfer} 12. Bxd5 Qxd5 13. Rxe7 Rg6 { then he would have a problem defending the g2-pawn: annimmt, dann hätte er ein Problem, den g2-Bauern zu verteidigen:} 14. f3 (14. g4 $6 Qh5 $1 {I hoped I would find this winning move, as originally I intended to play 14...f5: Ich hoffte, ich würde diesen Gewinnzug finden, denn ursprünglich beabsichtigte ich 14...f5:} (14... f5 {when after worauf nach} 15. c4 $1 Qd6 16. Qe2 fxg4 17. h4 g3 (17... Be6 18. Bg5 h6 19. c5 Qd5 20. h5 Rxg5 21. Qxe6+ Qxe6 22. Rxe6 g3 23. f4) 18. f3 Be6 ({Also possible is Ebenfalls möglich ist} 18... g2 19. Qe5 Qxe5 20. Rxe5 Rxf3 21. Bg5 Bd7 $13 {with an unclear game mit unklarem Spiel}) 19. Bg5 h6 20. c5 Qd5 21. h5 Qxg5 22. Rxe6 Rxe6 23. Qxe6+ {it is likely that the game would end up in a draw. es wahrscheinlich ist, dass die Partie remis enden würde.}) 15. Re4 (15. f3 f5) (15. Qf3 Bxg4 16. hxg4 Rxg4+ 17. Kf1 Rg1+ 18. Kxg1 Qxf3) 15... Qxh3 16. g5 f5 17. Re5 f4 18. Qf1 Qh4 19. Qg2 Rf5 $19) 14... Bxh3 15. Re2 Qxf3 16. Qf1 {All white's moves are forced Alle weißen Zügen sind erzwungen.} Bxg2 (16... Qh5 17. Bf4 Bxg2 18. Rxg2 Re8 19. Nd2 Re2 20. Rxg6 Qxg6+ 21. Kh1 Qh5+ 22. Kg1 Qg4+ 23. Kh1 $11) 17. Rxg2 Rxg2+ 18. Qxg2 Qd1+ $11 {with a perpetual check. As my opponent said in the press conference, he saw this line, but decided to fight for more. A brave decision, but it backfired in this game. mit ewigem Schach. Wie mein Gegner in der Pressekonferenz sagte, sah er dieses Abspiel, beschloss aber, um mehr zu kämpfen. Eine mutige Entscheidung, doch in dieser Partie ging sie nach hinten los.}) ({Black would react in similiar fashion to the game after all other replies. Nach allen anderen Erwiderungen würde Schwarz auf ähnliche Weise reagieren wie in der Partie.} 12. Qf3 Re6 (12... Nb4 $5)) (12. Nd2 Rg6 13. Qf3 Nb4) (12. Na3 Rg6 13. Qf3 Be6 14. Bd2 Bb4 15. Bxb4 Nxb4 $15 {as shown by Yu. Yakovic wie von Yu. Yakovic gezeigt.}) 12... Nb4 $6 {As soon as I made this move, I regretted it. Sobald ich diesen Zug gemacht hatte, bereute ich es.} ({ Stronger was} 12... Bb4 $1 {continuing to ignore the hanging Nd5. When I was a junior player, it was brought to my attention that it was Fischer's trademark - to attack an opponent's piece instead of defending your own! , was weiter den hängenden Nd5 ignoriert. Als ich ein Jugendspieler war, wies man mich darauf hin, dass dies Fischers Markenzeichen war - eine gegnerische Figur anzugreifen, statt die eigene zu verteidigen!} 13. Re2 (13. Bd2 Nf4 14. Qf3 Rf6 ) 13... Re6 14. Rxe6 (14. Bg5 Rxe2 15. Bxd8 Re1+ 16. Kh2 Nf4) 14... Bxe6 15. Nd2 Re8 $15) 13. Na3 ({In the event of Im Fall von} 13. Nd2 {I would have to find hätte ich} Rh6 $5 {finden müssen:} ({Here Hier ist} 13... Rg6 14. Nf3 Be6 {is weaker because of schwächer wegen} 15. Rxe6 $1 Rxe6 (15... fxe6 16. Ne5 Rgf6 17. Bg5) 16. Bxe6 fxe6 17. Qg4 $14) (13... Be6 14. Bxe6 Rxe6 15. Rxe6 fxe6 16. Qd1 Qd5 17. Ne4 Qc6 18. Bd2 $11) 14. Qxa5 $140 b6 15. Qa8 (15. Qe5 Nxc2 16. Qxe7 Qxe7 17. Rxe7 Nxa1 $17) 15... Nc6 {with full compensation for the pawn. The Qa8 really looks weird. mit voller Kompensation für den Bauern. Die Dame Qa8 wirkt wirklich seltsam.}) 13... Rg6 {White has a few moves at his disposal, but none of them gives him chances for an advantage. Moreover, he'll have to be careful to equalise. Weiß stehen eine Reihe von Zügen zur Verfügung, aber keiner davon gibt ihm Chancen auf Vorteil. Mehr noch, er wird sich bemühen müssen auszugleichen.} 14. Bf4 (14. Nb5 Be6 15. Rxe6 (15. Bxe6 fxe6 16. Qe2 Qd5) 15... fxe6 16. Qe5 Kh8 17. Qxd4 Qxd4 18. Nxd4 e5 $17) (14. Bd2 b6 15. Re4 (15. Nc4 Bb7) 15... Na6) (14. Nc4 Be6) 14... b6 {Played with the idea of fianchettoing the B and bringing it into the attack. Mit der Idee, den B zu fianchettieren und ihn in den Angriff einzuschalten.} (14... Be6 $5 { deserved serious attention here as well, but I still didn't realise that it is a strong idea. As it turned out, I played it in better circumstances. verdient auch hier ernste Aufmerksamkeit, aber ich hatte noch immer nicht realisiert, dass dies eine starke Idee ist. Wie sich herausstellte, spielte ich es unter besseren Umständen.} 15. Bxe6 (15. Nc4 Bd5) 15... fxe6 16. Bg3 (16. Re4 Nd5) 16... Bd6 $15) 15. Qf3 {White is trying to prevent Bb7, but the B has another way to join the game. Weiß versucht, Bb7 zu verhindern, aber der B hat noch einen anderen Weg, ins Spiel einzugreifen.} (15. Nc4 Bb7 16. Bg3 Bd5 {and strangely enough it is hard to find a good move for White. und seltsamerweise fällt es schwer, einen guten Zug für Weiß zu finden.}) ({Probably better was Vermutlich besser war} 15. Bg3 $1 Bd6 (15... Bb7 16. Nb5) ({or} 15... Be6 16. Bxe6 fxe6) 16. Bxd6 Qxd6 17. Re4 Qf6 {when it is easier to play for Black, but probably he has no more than that. wonach die Stellung mit Schwarz leichter zu spielen ist, aber womöglich hat er nicht mehr als das.}) 15... Be6 $1 {An important idea. As White is forced to exchange Bs, Rf8 had get into attack. Eine wichtige Idee. Da Weiß gezwungen ist, die B zu tauschen, wird der Rf8 in den Angriff eingeschaltet.} (15... Bd7 16. Bxc7) 16. Bxe6 (16. Re2 {allows erlaubt} Nxc2 $1 17. Bxe6 (17. Bxc2 Bd5 18. Qh5 Rxg2+ 19. Kf1 Rg6) 17... Nxa1 18. Bc4 c6 19. Be5 Bxa3 20. bxa3 b5 {and the N would get out from the corner. , und der N würde aus der Ecke entkommen.}) ({Too hazardous is Zu gefährlich ist } 16. Rxe6 fxe6 17. Qe4 Na6 $1 {Shipov,S}) 16... fxe6 17. Qe4 Bd6 $1 {Black is winning the fight for the key square f4. Then he intends to bring his N to this square. Schwarz gewinnt den Kampf um das Schlüsselfeld f4. Danach beabsichtigt er, seinen N hierhin zu überführen.} ({I don't see an advantage for Black after Keinen Vorteil für Schwarz sehe ich nach} 17... Nd5 18. Be5 Bd6 19. Nc4 $1 Nf4 (19... Bxe5 20. Nxe5) 20. Bxf4 Rxf4 21. Qc6 Qh4 22. Nxd6 Qxf2+ 23. Kh1 cxd6 24. Rf1 Qxf1+ 25. Rxf1 Rxf1+ 26. Kh2) 18. Bxd6 (18. Bd2 Nd5 19. Nc4 (19. g3 Bf4) 19... Bf4 {and the N gets to f4. und der N gelangt nach f4.}) ({Sergey had thought about the inventive Sergey hatte an dem kreativen} 18. Bc1 {but failed to find a defence after überlegt, vermochte aber keine Verteidigung zu finden nach} Nd5 19. Nc4 Qf6 20. Re2 Bf4 21. Ne5 Bxe5 22. Qxe5 Qf3) ({Probably the best defence was Die beste Verteidigung war wahrscheinlich } 18. Bg3 Qg5 19. h4 Qh5 {but Black's advantage is indisputable. , aber der Vorteil von Schwarz steht außer Zweifel.}) (18. Be5 Bxe5 19. Qxe5 Qh4) 18... cxd6 19. Qxd4 ({More stubborn was Hartnäckiger war} 19. g3 {but after , aber nach} e5 {White's position is in ruins. liegt die weiße Stellung in Trümmern.}) 19... Qg5 {White is helpless. All the black pieces are attaching the opponent's K (the N will join in soon via the d5-square) and nobody can help it. Weiß ist hilflos. Alle schwarzen Figuren zielen auf den gegnerischen K (der N wird bald über das d5-Feld dazukommen), und niemand kann ihm helfen.} 20. g3 (20. Qe4 Nd5) (20. Qg4 Qf6 21. Qe2 Nd5) 20... Qf5 21. g4 (21. h4 e5 22. Qe3 Nd5 23. Qe2 Nf4 {with a mating attack. mit Mattangriff.}) (21. Kh2 Nxc2 $1 22. Nxc2 Qxf2+ {transposes into a won R ending. leitet in ein gewonnenes R-Endspiel über.}) 21... h5 ({According to engines, there was a stronger move: Laut den Engines gab es einen stärkeren Zug:} 21... Nd5 22. Kh2 Qg5 {, but I think that both moves are equally strong. , aber ich denke, dass beide Züge gleich stark sind.}) 22. Re4 d5 23. Kh2 ({Or Oder} 23. Re5 Qf6 24. Qe3 hxg4 25. h4 Qxh4 26. Rxe6 g3) 23... Qf3 ({Black could also finish the game with a mating attack, but I went for the simplest solution. Schwarz konnte die Partie auch mit einem Mattangriff beenden, aber ich wählte die einfachste Lösung.} 23... Qg5) 24. Ree1 hxg4 25. Qe3 gxh3 26. Qxf3 Rxf3 27. Rg1 Rxf2+ 28. Kxh3 Rxg1 29. Rxg1 Nxc2 30. Nb5 Rf3+ 31. Kg4 Rxd3 32. Nd6 Ne3+ 33. Kf4 Nc4 0-1

[Event "Bazna Kings 4th"] [Site "Medias"] [Date "2010.06.14"] [Round "1"] [White "Gelfand, Boris"] [Black "Wang, Yue"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D15"] [WhiteElo "2741"] [BlackElo "2752"] [Annotator "Gelfand,B"] [PlyCount "163"] [EventDate "2010.06.14"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "10"] [EventCountry "ROU"] [EventCategory "20"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2010.07.15"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 a6 ({This was my 3rd meeting with Wang Yue in recent months. In the first 2 games he tried} 4... g6 {, but both times I got an advantage from the opening. So it came as no surprise that he decided to play another line.}) 5. Nf3 b5 6. c5 ({I met the Chebanenko system for the first time back in 1990. I'll include htat game in these annotations, as it shows similiar ideas to ones in this game.} 6. b3 g6 (6... Bg4) 7. Be2 Bg7 8. O-O O-O 9. Ne5 Bb7 10. f4 Qd6 11. Bf3 Nbd7 12. Qe2 Rab8 13. g4 Rfd8 14. g5 Ne8 15. Qg2 bxc4 16. bxc4 e6 17. Rb1 Ba8 18. c5 Qe7 19. Bd2 Rxb1 20. Rxb1 Rb8 21. Rxb8 Nxb8 22. Na4 Bb7 23. Ba5 Bxe5 24. dxe5 Nc7 25. Nb2 Nb5 26. a4 Qxc5 (26... Na3 27. Bb4 Nc4 28. Nxc4 dxc4 $18) 27. axb5 Qxe3+ 28. Qf2 Qxf4 29. Bd2 Qxe5 30. Nd3 Qf5 31. Qa7 Nd7 32. Ne1 Bc8 33. Qc7 {1-0 Gelfand ,B (2680)-Hort,V (2545)/ Novi Sad olm 1990/[Gelfand]}) 6... g6 7. Ne5 (7. Be2 Bg7 8. Ne5 O-O 9. O-O Be6 10. f4 Qc7 11. g4 $6 Ne4 12. Bf3 f5 13. Bd2 Nd7 14. Be1 Nxe5 15. fxe5 Nxc3 16. Bxc3 Bh6 $15 {0-1 Gelfand,B (2717)-Bareev,E (2675)/Khanty Mansyisk RUS 2005 (34)}) 7... Bg7 8. f4 a5 {This plan was tried twice by my opponent vs E. Bacrot and both times he had no problems from the opening.} 9. Be2 (9. Bd3 Bf5 10. Bxf5 gxf5 11. Bd2 e6 12. Qe2 h5 13. O-O-O b4 14. Na4 Ne4 15. Nb6 Ra7 16. Nd3 Nd7 17. Nxd7 Kxd7 18. Rdg1 Qb8 {1/2-1/2 Bacrot,E (2705)-Wang Yue (2736)/ Elista RUS 2008 (47)}) 9... Qc7 10. O-O O-O 11. a3 $1 {This is a new and important idea. I was waiting for a chance to use it for a couple of years. We had analysed my game vs Bareev with Alexander Khuzman and had realized that e4 is the key square in such a position.} (11. Bd3 Bf5 12. Bxf5 gxf5 13. Bd2 Nbd7 14. Be1 e6 15. Rf3 Ne4 16. Nxe4 dxe4 17. Rh3 Rfe8 18. Nxd7 Qxd7 19. Qh5 h6 20. Bh4 Ra7 21. Rg3 Kh7 22. Bg5 Rh8 23. Qh4 Qe8 24. Bf6 Bxf6 25. Qxf6 Rg8 26. Rxg8 Qxg8 27. Kf2 Rd7 28. Rg1 Qd8 29. Qxd8 Rxd8 30. g4 fxg4 31. Rxg4 f5 { 1/2-1/2 Bacrot,E (2705)-Wang Yue (2736)/Dresden GER 2008}) 11... Be6 ({If} 11... Ne4 {then} 12. Nxe4 dxe4 13. a4 b4 14. Qc2 {keeping an advantage.}) 12. Bf3 {Taking control of the e4-square.} Nbd7 13. Nd3 $1 {Of course, White is avoiding any exchanges as Black's pieces are very cramped and he does not have enough space for them.} h6 $6 {Faced with a new plan my opponent thought for a long time and decided to build "a wall".} ({I would rather go for} 13... Bf5 { trying to exchange the poor B.}) 14. g4 $1 {It was easy to let slip the advantage:} ({After} 14. Bd2 Bf5 15. Nf2 g5 {Black has nothing to worry about.} ) 14... Nh7 (14... h5 15. h3 hxg4 16. hxg4 g5 17. Kg2 {just plays into White's hands.}) 15. h4 f5 16. g5 hxg5 ({During the game I thought that} 16... h5 { would be even worse as h5 becomes a target and White would sacrifice a N on h5 in good circumstances, for example} 17. Ne2 Bf7 18. Ng3 e6 19. Bd2 Rfb8 20. Nxh5 gxh5 21. Bxh5 {However, now things do not seem so clear to me, as Black would sac a piece, let's say, by} Bxh5 22. Qxh5 Ndf6 23. gxf6 Nxf6 {with good defending chances.}) 17. hxg5 {So, White has won some more space. The pawns on c5 and g5 are limiting Black's pieces to the last 2 ranks. The next step in White's plan is to regroup his pieces. Black has no counterplay whatsoever and has to wait.} Kf7 18. Kg2 Rfb8 19. Bd2 Nhf8 20. Be2 {B is going to d3 and the Ns to f3 and g3} Ke8 21. Ne1 Bg8 22. Nf3 Rb7 23. Bd3 Nb8 24. Ne2 Qd8 25. Ng3 { White is threatening a sacrifice on f5 and Black is obliged to play e6} e6 26. Rh1 Bh7 $2 {Black wanted to hide his K on g8, but it allows White a strong regrouping. I still believe that waiting passively was the best option.} ({ Here I was looking for a plan how to break through, if Black simply waits. It seems possible, that the piece sac e3-e4 would work, for example} 26... Nbd7 27. Qe2 Nb8 28. Rae1 Nbd7 ({probably better is} 28... Re7 {However it is difficult for Black to defend against all the ideas - White wants to play Bc3, Qd2, Ne2-c1-b3, forcing a4, then he can play e3-e4 in good circumstances: then he can bring the N to e5 through d3 etc.} 29. Bc3 Qc7 30. Qd2 Nbd7) 29. e4 fxe4 30. Bxe4 dxe4 31. Nxe4 {/\Nd6,Ne5. Another plan would be to move the N to d3, Qe1, plan a4 and sac a N on b4 after b5-b4, followed by the advance of the b-pawn. However, it is very hard to say, if White's advantage is enough for victory.}) 27. Qc2 Kf7 28. Rh3 {There is no need even to consider an e3-e4 breakthrough, as White has a better plan at his disposal.} Kg8 29. Rah1 { Now the B cannot return to g8.} Raa7 30. Kf1 Qe8 31. Be1 Bh8 32. Rh6 Bg7 33. R6h4 Bh8 34. R1h3 {White is tripling his major pieces on the h-file according to Alekhine's advice - first the pair of rooks and the Q behind them.} Re7 35. Qh2 Reb7 36. Rh6 Re7 37. Ne2 Reb7 38. Nc1 Re7 39. Nb3 {It is important to force Black to play a4, as it gives White the b4-square and the possibility to open the position by b3, if nessesary. Even though the main action would most likely take place on the kingside, you should never neglect such a detail.} a4 ({Or} 39... Qd8 40. Qd2 $1 a4 41. Nc1 $18) 40. Nc1 Reb7 41. Be2 Re7 42. Nd3 Reb7 43. Nh4 $1 {White has placed his pieces ideally - it is time to go for an attack!} Bg7 (43... Re7 44. Nxg6 Nxg6 45. Bh5 Bg7 (45... Rg7 46. Ne5) 46. Bxg6 Bxg6 47. Rh8+ $18) (43... Nbd7 44. Nxg6 $18) 44. Rxh7 $1 Nxh7 (44... Kxh7 $2 45. Nxg6+ Kg8 46. Rh8+ Kf7 47. Nde5+ Bxe5 48. Nxe5+) 45. Nxg6 Nd7 $1 {the only defence} (45... Qxg6 $2 46. Bh5 $18) (45... Bxd4 46. exd4 Qxg6 47. Ne5 $18) 46. Bh5 Qd8 (46... Ndf8 47. Nxf8 Qxf8 48. Bf3 {winning the N.}) 47. Nb4 Rc7 (47... Nb8 48. Ne5 Bxe5 49. dxe5 Rg7 50. g6 Nf8 51. Bh4 Qe8 52. Bf6 {with an easy win. }) 48. Nh8 $3 {A beautiful way to launch the final attack. I got really excited when I saw this possibility. Strangely enough no engine on my computer indicates it even set to a depth around 20ply.} ({I was also thinking about} 48. Ne5 {, but I was not sure how to progress after} Nxe5 49. dxe5 Nf8 50. Nc2 Nd7 51. Bb4 Qe7 52. Nd4) 48... Ndf8 ({I believe that the most stubborn was} 48... Kxh8 49. Bf7 (49. Bg6 Ndf8) 49... Ndf8 50. Rxh7+ $1 Nxh7 51. g6 Bh6 $1 { The only defence} 52. Qxh6 Rxf7 53. gxf7 Rxf7 54. Nxc6 {and despite being an exchange down, White is going to win - for example} Qe8 55. Ne5 Ra7 (55... Rf6 56. Qh4 $18) 56. Bb4 Rc7 57. Ke2 Rc8 58. Kd2 Rc7 59. c6 Rxc6 60. Nxc6 Qxc6 61. Qg6 $18) (48... Bxh8 {allows the nice} 49. Bf7+ $3 Kxf7 50. Rxh7+ Bg7 51. g6+ $1 Kf8 (51... Kg8 52. Rh8+) (51... Ke8 52. Rxg7 Nf8 53. Rg8 Rg7 54. Rxf8+ Kxf8 55. Nxc6) 52. Rxg7 $18) 49. Nf7 Rxf7 50. Bxf7+ ({White had another way to victory} 50. Nxc6 Qa8 51. g6 Nxg6 52. Bxg6 Qxc6 53. Bxf7+ Rxf7 54. Rxh7 $18) 50... Rxf7 (50... Kxf7 51. Nxc6 $18) 51. Rxh7 Qe8 ({Or} 51... Nxh7 52. g6 $1 Rc7 53. Qxh7+ Kf8 54. Bh4 $1 Qe8 55. Bg5 $18 {winning easily, for example} Qd7 56. Bh6 Bxh6 57. Qh8+ Ke7 58. Qxh6 Qe8 59. Qh7+ Kd8 60. g7 $18) 52. Rh3 { Already here I saw it till the end. White exchanges Qs, plays b3, then a4, exchange Rs on a line and penetrate by B and N into the enemy's camp.} Ng6 53. Qe2 Rc7 54. Qh5 Kf7 55. Qh7 {Black cannot avoid the exchange of queens.} Qg8 ( 55... Nf8 56. g6+ Nxg6 57. Rg3) (55... Qd8 56. Rh6 Nf8 57. Nxc6 Rxc6 58. g6+) 56. Qxg8+ Kxg8 57. Nd3 Ra7 58. Ke2 Kf7 59. Nb4 Ne7 60. Kd1 Ra8 61. Kc2 Rg8 62. Nd3 Ra8 63. Rh7 Ng6 64. b3 Nf8 65. Rh2 axb3+ 66. Kxb3 Ke8 67. Ra2 Kd7 68. a4 bxa4+ 69. Rxa4 Rxa4 70. Kxa4 Kc8 71. Ba5 Ng6 72. Nb4 Kd7 ({Or} 72... Kb7 73. Bd8 $1 {with the idea of Ka5, Na6.}) 73. Na6 Kc8 74. Bc7 Bf8 75. Ka5 Kb7 76. Bd6 Be7 77. Bxe7 ({It is never too late to blunder} 77. Nc7 $2 Bd8) 77... Nxe7 78. Nb4 Ng8 79. Nd3 Ne7 80. Ne5 Ng8 81. g6 Nf6 82. g7 1-0

[Event "Wch Candidates"] [Site "Kazan"] [Date "2011.05.25"] [Round "3.6"] [White "Gelfand, Boris"] [Black "Grischuk, Alexander"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D76"] [WhiteElo "2733"] [BlackElo "2747"] [Annotator "Gelfand,B"] [PlyCount "69"] [EventDate "2011.05.05"] [EventType "k.o."] [EventRounds "3"] [EventCountry "RUS"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2011.07.15"] {This was the decisive game of the final candidates match. After few unsuccessful attempts in the English Opening, I decided to try my luck in the g3-system of the Grünfeld Defence.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. g3 d5 { Alexander has chosen the most popular system. He had also tried the c6, d5 setup of the King's Indian or transposed to Benoni Systems by 4...c5 during recent years.} 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nb6 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. e3 O-O 9. O-O Re8 10. Re1 a5 11. Qe2 {We had quickly reached the modern tabiya of this system.} Bg4 { The computer prefers this move, even though it is not very logical. h3 is more likely to be a useful move, rather than a weakness.} (11... Bf5 12. Rd1 a4 13. d5 Na5 14. Nd4 Nac4 15. Nxf5 gxf5 16. Qc2 {and White was clearly better in Gelfand,B-Topalov,V blind/Monaco 2011.}) (11... Be6 {is the most popular and brought Black a few exciting victories during the last Olympiad in Khanti-Mansiysk.}) (11... e5 {leads to another type of position.}) 12. h3 Be6 13. b3 $1 {This is a novelty which we prepared and it came as a surprise to my opponent.} (13. Nd2 Nb4 14. Rd1 Qc8 {This short variation illustrates very well the idea behind ...Bg4 - Black is preparing ...c5 with tempo.}) ({In earlier games} 13. Rd1 {was tried with a complicated game after both} Bc4 14. Qc2 Nb4 15. Qb1 a4 ({and} 15... Qc8 16. a3 N4d5 17. Nd2 Nxc3 18. bxc3 Bd5 19. e4 Bc6 20. Qd3 Ba4 21. Re1 c5 {0-1 Leitao,R (2624)-Wang Yue (2732)/Khanty Mansiysk 2010/CBM 139 (67)}) 16. e4 c5 17. dxc5 Bd3 18. Rxd3 Qxd3 19. cxb6 Qxb1 20. Rxb1 Bxc3 21. a3 Red8 22. Bg5 Bf6 23. Bxf6 exf6 24. axb4 Rd3 {1/2-1/2 Blagojevic,D (2481)-Zhou Jianchao (2660)/Khanty Mansiysk 2010/CBM 139 (32)}) 13... a4 14. Rb1 {Of course it seems that opening of the a-file is in Black's favour. However I took into consideration that there are no squares to invade on the a-line. My idea was to block the Be6 from both sides by the h3- and b3-pawns. The B is poorly placed on e6 as there it prevents the liberating breakthrough ...e7-e5 and thus the Re8 also cannot join the battle.} axb3 15. axb3 Qc8 16. Kh2 ({Also possible was} 16. g4 $5 {but I was reluctant to weaken my position.}) 16... Ra5 {Alexander decided to move the R into attack to h5 and try to use the slightly weakened position of my K.} ({Other options were} 16... Na5) ({and} 16... Rd8) 17. Rd1 {After long consideration I allowed the R transfer, as I found the defensive idea Nh4 and f4.} ({I had also considered} 17. Nb5 Nb4 $1 (17... Bf5 18. Bd2 $1 Bxb1 19. Bxa5 Be4 20. Bxb6 cxb6 21. Nd2 Bxg2 22. Kxg2 $14 {leaves White with some edge}) 18. Bd2 {However, probably White is slightly better after} c6 19. Nc3 (19. Na7 Rxa7 20. Bxb4 Nd5 {but I assessed this position as equal.}) 19... Rh5 20. h4 Bg4 21. Na4 Nxa4 22. bxa4 Na6 23. Qd3 $14) (17. g4 {was possible here as well, but I liked the game continuation.}) 17... Rh5 ({I was more worried about} 17... Rd8 {. The idea is to try to force White to make some not very useful move.} 18. b4 $5 Rh5 19. Nh4 {but I still like White's position, for example} Bf6 (19... Nd5 20. Bd2 $5 Ncxb4 (20... Ndxb4 21. Nb5 Nd5 (21... Na6 22. Bxc6 bxc6 23. Na7 Qd7 24. Qxa6 Bd5 25. Qe2 $16) 22. e4 Nb6 23. d5 Nxd5 24. exd5 Bxd5 $14 {with hardly sufficient compensation for the piece}) 21. Nxd5 Nxd5 22. e4 Nf6 23. d5 Bd7 24. Bf3 {and White is clearly better}) 20. Bf3 Rxh4 (20... Bc4 21. Qc2 Rh6 22. b5 Na5 23. e4 Rxh4 24. gxh4 Rxd4 (24... Bxd4 25. Bg4 $14) 25. Bf4 $14) (20... Rh6 21. d5 Bxc3 22. dxe6 Qxe6 23. Rxd8+ Nxd8 24. Qd3 Qa2 25. Qxd8+ Kg7 26. Bd2 Qxd2 27. Qxd2 Bxd2 28. Bxb7 Bc3 29. Nf3 $14 {Black still needs to solve the problems of his rook.}) 21. gxh4 Bxh3 {with compensation for the exchange.}) 18. Nh4 $1 Bf6 19. f4 $1 {I liked the fact that ...e7-e5 is prevented forever.} ({Another possible continuation was} 19. Bf3 Rxh4 $5 (19... Ra5 20. Ng2 $1 Bxh3 (20... Bf5 21. b4 Ra8 22. b5) 21. b4 Ra8 22. Nf4 (22. g4 $5 Bxg2 23. Kxg2 $44) 22... Bf5 $5 23. b5 Nxd4 (23... Na5 24. e4 Bd7 25. Nfd5) 24. exd4 Bxb1 25. Nxb1 {and White is better}) 20. gxh4 Bxh3 $5 {with certain compensation for the exchange. It is hard to say for whom it is easier to play this position.}) (19. d5 Bxc3 20. dxe6 Qxe6 21. e4 Ra5 {doesn't provide White with sufficient compensation.}) 19... Rd8 (19... Bxh4 $2 20. gxh4 Rxh4 $2 21. Kg3 $1 Rh5 22. d5 Bxh3 23. Bf3 {was bad.}) 20. Qf2 {I had improved the position of my Q and overprotected the d4-pawn, thus ensuring that if the Bf6, Nc6 or Rd8 were to leave its place White would be able to play e3-e4, which is obviosly his dream in this position.} ({Meanwhile, White had the interesting tactical possibility } 20. f5 $5 Bd7 $5 (20... Bxf5 21. Nxf5 Rxf5 22. b4 $1 $44 {and White is going to win an exchange, as the Rf5 is trapped}) (20... Rxh4 21. fxe6) 21. b4 Rxh4 22. gxh4 Bxf5 23. b5 $1 Na5 24. e4 Be6 25. e5 Bg7 26. d5 Bf5 27. Rb4 $14 { and White's chances seem preferable to me.}) (20. Bf3 Ra5) {This is the critical position, where Black had a big choice.} 20... Bxh4 $2 {Very natural, but not the best decision.} (20... Ra5 {this move looks strange as the R just went to h5 and is returning back now. White has a slight advantage after both} 21. g4 $5 ({or} 21. b4 Ra8 22. b5 Na5 23. e4 Bb3 24. Rd2 Qd7 25. Nf3 e6 26. Ne5 ) 21... Nb4 22. Qg3 Na2 23. Ne4 $14) ({Engines suggest that the immediate} 20... Nd5 $5 {was better:} 21. Nxd5 (21. Ne2 Bxh4 22. gxh4 f5 23. Bf3 Rh6 24. Qg2 {is another option, where the position remains very unclear, but it is easier to play with White}) 21... Rhxd5 ({or the engines' choice} 21... Rdxd5 { when after the most natural} 22. Bf3 Bxh3 23. e4 Rxd4 24. Bxh5 gxh5 25. Rxd4 Nxd4 26. b4 $16 {White is clearly better}) 22. Bb2 (22. Bxd5 Bxd5 23. Nf3 Qe6 { with full compensation for the exchange}) (22. Qe2 Bxh4 23. gxh4 f5) 22... Rb5 23. Qe2 Rh5 24. Bf3 Ra5 25. Bc3 Ra8 {However the maneouvre Ra5-h5-d5-b5-h5-a5-a8 would be unlikelyto cross the mind of any human being and I have no interest whatsoever in arguing with an engine.} {still after simple} 26. Bg2 {White is better.}) (20... Nb4 {leads to a passive position, where White has some advantage.} 21. e4 c5 22. Ne2 (22. Be3 cxd4 23. Rxd4 Bxd4 24. Bxd4 Nd3 25. Qe3 Rxd4 26. Qxd4 Nxf4) 22... cxd4 23. Nxd4 Nc6 24. Be3 Nxd4 25. Bxd4 Rxd4 26. Rxd4 Bxd4 27. Qxd4 $14) 21. gxh4 Nd5 22. Nxd5 Rhxd5 {Black is trying to prevent e3-e4.} (22... Bxd5 $2 {loses a piece after} 23. e4) 23. Bb2 $1 ({The tricky} 23. e4 $5 {was also possible, but hardly stronger than 23. Bb2,} {after} Rxd4 24. Rxd4 Rxd4 25. f5 Bd7 26. h5 f6 $1 $14 {White's advantage is not so big.}) ({Obviously that Black can only be better after} 23. Bxd5 $2 Bxd5) 23... Rb5 $2 {I was surprised by this weak move} (23... f5 $5 { was the only chance} 24. h5 $1 {with a strong attack would follow, for example} Kf7 25. Bf3 Qd7 26. Qh4 Rg8 27. Rg1 Ke8 28. Ra1 $1) ({Some commentator had suggested} 23... Qd7 24. e4 {then} Rxd4 25. Bxd4 Nxd4 {but after} 26. b4 c6 27. h5 {Black's position is bad.}) 24. Qe2 ({I realised that my position is won and was choosing between 2 options:} 24. e4 {was also strong} Bxb3 (24... Rxb3 25. Ba1 $1 (25. d5 Bxh3 26. dxc6 Bxg2 27. Qxg2 bxc6 28. Ba1 $16) 25... Na5 26. d5 $18) 25. Rdc1 e6 (25... Ba2 26. Ra1 Nb4 27. Bf1) (25... Na5 26. Bf1 Rb6 27. d5) 26. Ba1 Qa8 27. d5 $18) 24... Rh5 (24... Rxb3 $2 25. d5) 25. e4 Bxb3 (25... Rxh4 {is 'as usual' answered by} 26. Kg3 $1 $18) 26. Rdc1 Na5 (26... Qe6 27. Qf3) (26... e6 27. Qd3) 27. d5 {White has reached his dream position. Black is helpless.} b6 28. Be5 c5 29. dxc6 ({I had also considered} 29. Qb5 $1 $18 { but decided to calculate one line till the end and follow it. Of course, there are few ways to win in such a position.}) 29... f6 30. Ba1 ({Or} 30. c7 Rd7 31. Qb5) 30... Rc5 31. Rxc5 bxc5 32. Qb5 ({Or} 32. e5 Qf5 (32... Bc4 33. Qe3 Nxc6 34. Qxc5) (32... Bd5 33. Bxd5+ Rxd5 34. exf6 (34. Qa2 $2 c4) 34... exf6 35. Rb8 $18) 33. c7 Rc8 34. exf6 exf6 35. Qe7 $18) 32... Qc7 ({Black's last practical chance was} 32... Ba2 $1 {but after} 33. Rb2 $1 Qc7 34. e5 $1 Be6 35. Qb6 Qxb6 (35... Rc8 36. Qxc7 Rxc7 37. Rb7 $1 {I had finished my calculation here}) 36. Rxb6 Rc8 {I would have to find} 37. f5 $1 {which leads to a forced win, although probably White can win by other ways too.} gxf5 (37... Nc4 38. Rb7 gxf5 39. Rxe7) (37... Bxf5 38. Bc3 $18) 38. c7 Kf7 39. Bf3 Nb3 40. Bh5+ Kf8 41. Rxe6 Nxa1 42. exf6 Rxc7 43. f7 $18 {Black is losing his knight!} Nc2 (43... Rc8 44. Re1 Nc2 45. Rg1) 44. Rh6) 33. Rxb3 Nxc6 ({Or} 33... Nxb3 34. Qxb3+ { followed by 35.e5.}) (33... Qxf4+ 34. Rg3 Nxc6 35. Qxc6 Rd3 36. Qe8+ (36. Qe6+ Kf8 37. Qg4 {is also good}) 36... Kg7 37. Qxe7+ Kh6 38. Be5 $1 {I wanted to make this final touch, but my opponent didn't allow me.}) 34. e5 Nd4 35. Qc4+ { And Alexander warmly congratulated me with on victory in the match and in the cycle.} 1-0

SS: You told us about how one should work on one's openings. Coming to tactics, how does one become tactically strong?

BG: For becoming tactically strong, one should solve a lot of tactical positions. Also a good way to train is to analyze your own sharp and complicated games without the help of a computer. It helps you to improve your tactical awareness. In general one should always work on the things that one would like to improve. There are no short cuts. You should solve positions, think about them, analyze and get sharp situations in your games. If you don’t practice you can never improve!

SS: While solving tactics would you recommend practical game positions or composition and studies?

BG: Both are good and important. Studies improve your imagination and feeling of harmony, while positions from the games develop more practical qualities.

SS: Can you suggest any books which you think can be useful for improving the tactics and calculation of a player?

BG: There are many books. The Grandmaster Preparation series by Jacob Aagaard is good. I also like Perfect Your Chess  by Volokitin and Grabinsky. Earlier books of Dvoretsky were excellent. The classic, however, is Hort and Jansa. I was arranging the books in my library and I found this one. I am going to go through it now. In Russian it is called “Together with grandmasters”. [Ed – In English it is named as “The best move” and it has 230 grade-yourself test positions]. The book is from the 70s. I liked it when I was young and recently it just fell from the shelf! I started solving it and there are really some amazing positions. I discussed it with Jacob and he said that vast majority of positions are correct under computer scrutiny. This is amazing. I solved them in my childhood and I have some very nice memories. When you solve from recent books and articles, all the positions are computer checked and hence it is clear that there exists only one solution. However while working with books like the one Hort and Jansa wrote you always risk spending a lot of time and not finding the win because it doesn’t exist! But it doesn’t matter. Your work is not wasted. I recently met Vlastimil Jansa and we spoke about this book. After going back home I will work with it again!

If you looking to flex a few tactical muscles,
this book by two Vlastimils might be a good idea to work with

SS: Coming to endgames, which one would you say is your favourite endgame book?

BG: The Levenfish and Smyslov book that deals with rook endgames was excellent. Also when I was young I spent a lot of time on the Minev’s book on rook endgames, and I refuted quite a few positions in that book. But I liked it. Also Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual is a high quality book. The good thing about Averbakh’s books is that they give you quite a comprehensive picture about the material in a particular endgame, but you have to check it carefully with tablebases like Nalimov.
In general I like books which show ideas, not just variations and evaluations. These days whenever you reach endgames you are already on 30 second increment with almost no time on clock. Hence it is much more important to learn the method of how to play endgames. Under time pressure even if you know the positions by heart, you can easily forget them under stress. Therefore I think it is important to know ideas and how to play a particular endgame.

SS: Reminds me of the cases of players unable to mate with the bishop and knight in the World Blitz Championship 2015. Of course they knew it, but with less time they weren’t able to execute it.

BG: Yes, exactly. Under normal circumstances I would mate with the bishop and knight quite easily, but once I got it against Judit Polgar in the World Blitz Championships and it took me 52 moves! Fortunately she didn’t count! The reason for this was simple: stress. It was a game with lot of ups and downs, and when we reached the endgame I was already quite spent. It is a bit extreme in blitz, otherwise even in a rapid it shouldn’t be a problem.

SS: Which books in general have made a huge impact on your chess?

Boris is a voracious reader as can be seen from the number of books lying on his work desk at home

BG: Books written by Keres. Yuri Razuvaev’s books on Rubinstein, Polugaevsky’s book Grandmaster Preparation in which he discusses opening as well as some fantastic endgames against Gligoric, Gheorghiu, Geller, etc. Kasparov’s books are really great. My Great Predecessors are nice but his book on the two Matches, as well as “Test of time”, were at an unprecedented level. Fortunately for us, there are a lot of good books. Even though we live in the age of computer, books are quite important – even more these days because we are overloaded with information. So a good book helps you to focus on really the important points. Because there are many databases like Correspondence, Computer, Mega Database, etc. You can easily get lost. So the importance of books suddenly grows. Earlier books were the main source of information. Then they were replaced by databases, but now we have so much material available that one needs to be guided through this.

SS: You are a player who has passed through this transition of books to computer. I was once listening to one of your press conferences. It was the game between you and Magnus Carlsen from Candidates 2013. The following position was reached in analysis:

White’s last move was Re1-d1. The commentators said that computer recommends 20…Qf8!? But you were convinced that 20…Qb6 followed by Qb3 was the right way to play. You didn’t seem to have the amount of respect that young players have these days for engines. Is my assessment correct?

Magnus Carlsen vs Boris Gelfand at the London Candidates 2013

BG: First of let me say that this game played by Magnus against me was simply fantastic. Maybe it is Magnus’ best game of his career to date. Yes, I remember this episode with me going for 20…Qb6-Qb3 and sticking to it in press conference even when commentators and engines were suggesting 20…Qf8. Qb6-b3 is trying to equalize the position while Qf8 is admitting that you are worse. In general it is very rare that spectators watching the game with an engine try to look into a player’s mind. Sometimes computer moves are great but they are not something that humans would even consider. These days it’s funny that the more you work with the computer, the more you become like it. But this has its advantages and disadvantages.
Rejecting the computer’s ideas can be quite stupid because its suggestions are often good especially related to opening preparation. But there is a danger of becoming over dependent on it. I have seen episodes of young strong players refusing to analyze other moves and options once they see the strongest computer move. This is a very common phenomenon. And this is the thing that I tried to put emphasis on in my book. One should be able to tell the difference between one move and another. Of course, I use computers quite a lot in opening preparation because the price of a mistake would be very high here. But whenever I watch live tournament games online I try to follow them without silicon assistance, because seeing the games live with an engine makes no sense and it blocks your thinking ability. Also a good exercise can be to choose between the first two lines of the computer. You must try to think whether you will go for one line or the other. Maybe the evaluation is the same but the ideas are completely different. In general my advice would be use the computer when the price of neglecting the best move would be very high.

SS: You have nothing to lose when you see the games of others and hence it is a good idea to test your thinking skills without using a computer.

BG: Yes exactly. Also another important point is to analyze your own games at first without an engine. It could be a very good idea to discuss variations and ideas after the game with your opponent – to discuss the feelings that you had during the game and also understand his train of thought. You can always analyze with an engine when you get home, but it is not often that you get a chance to discuss with another human being. I think it is really great.

SS: So, according to you analyzing with your opponent after the game is very important?

BG: I don’t think it is important, but I enjoy it. And many players of my generation prefer that, like Topalov, Kramnik and others. I have also analyzed after the game with young generation players like Carlsen, Caruana, Giri. It is clear that they are extremely strong and have learnt the art of using the computer to their advantage and not become slaves to it. You should always make the engine work for you and not the other way around.

Press conference with one of the best players of the young generation!

Also another thing which I would like to point out, and this really annoys me, is that after coming back from their game you see some of the players writing on Twitter, “Amazing, I missed this move in my game today. It was +5.” I think this is absolutely senseless information.A player should analyze why he didn’t make a particular move, why he missed it, is he not good in calculation or if there was a lapse in concentration. We are humans and we are going to make mistakes, but the point is to learn why you do it. This is exactly what I focused in my book with Jacob [Aagaard] – why certain mistakes are made and what are the shortcomings of human and the limitations of a computer.

A young Boris, like always, thinking without seeing the pieces!

Part II of this interview will follow shortly. In it Boris gives us special insights in his World Championship Match with Anand in 2012, his views on the eternal dilemma of whether to become a chess professional or not, role of parents in a chess player's development and last but not the least how his family helped him to become what he is today.

Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


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