Khanty-Mansiysk Final: Kamsky wins, to challenge Topalov

by ChessBase
12/16/2007 – American GM Gata Kamsky has won the FIDE World Cup. In the fourth game he was able to force a perpetual check and hold Alexei Shirov to a draw, which meant that he had won the Final with a score of 2.5:1.5 (three draws, one win). Kamsky won, did not lose a single game and performed 102 points higher than his nominal 2714 rating. Congratulations Gata!

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

  Name Nat Rtng
 Shirov, Alexei   ESP 2739
 Kamsky, Gata USA 2714

Round seven (Final) Game four – Sunday, December 16th

On move 27 Kamsky sacrificed an exchange for a passed pawn on the e-file. On move 31 Black gained an additional pawn, but Black could advance his pawn to e7 and force an immediate draw by perpetual check. The final score was 2.5:1.5 for the American GM, who had drawn three games and won one. Congratulations to Gata Kamsky, who temporarily retired from chess to study medicine and law, but who has now staged an incredible comeback and will occupy the attention of the chess world for many years to come.

Kamsky,G (2714) - Shirov,A (2739) [B31]
World Cup Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (7.4), 16.12.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.0-0 Bg7 5.c3 Nf6 6.Re1 0-0 7.d4 d5 8.e5 Ne4 9.Bxc6 bxc6 10.Nbd2 Bf5 11.Nh4 e6 12.Nxf5 exf5 13.f3 cxd4 14.cxd4 Ng5 15.b4 a5 16.bxa5 Rxa5 17.Nb3 Ra7 18.Bxg5 Qxg5 19.Qc2 Rc8 20.a4 Bf8 21.a5 Bb4 22.Re2 Qd8 23.e6 fxe6 24.Rxe6 Qd7 25.Qe2 Kf7 26.Re5 Bd6 27.f4 Bxe5 28.fxe5 Qb7 29.Nc5 Qb4 30.e6+ Kg8 31.Rd1 Qxa5 32.e7 Re8 33.Qe6+ Kg7 34.Qe5+ Kf7 35.Qe6+ ½-½. [Click to replay]

Originally the winner of the FIDE World Cup was supposed to challenge the reigning World Champion, but in a special edict delivered last June FIDE decided that the winner had to play former FIDE world champion Veselin Topalov first. The winner of that match then gets to play for the world championship title against the winner of the match Anand vs Kramnik, scheduled for October 2008. The match Kamsky vs Topalov is expected to take place after the Anand-Kramnik world championship.

A number of readers have suggested that the Kamsky-Topalov match could become really exciting if the American reactivates his famously belligerent father Rustam, to counter the activities of Topalov's manager Silvio Danailov. "That would be a wonderfully thrilling matchup," wrote one wag, "with explosive off-the-board play. We look forward to daily blow-by-blow reports on your news page."

Picture gallery

Sunday and the final game of the FIDE World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk

Alexei Shirov ponders before moving 5...Nf6

The battle on the stage with the trophy in the foreground

Alexei Shirov and Gata Kamsky in their final encounter

In focus: the trophy which the winner gets to take home

Gata can hardly believe it: I've won the FIDE World Cup!

What could I do, you forced the draw... Shirov and Kamsky after the game

Alexei Shirov, not at all happy with the turn of events...

...but still a little melancholy smile

Gata, as some readers remarked, never smiles. Ever.

Though sometimes he comes dangerously close to doing so

... and sometimes he just can't help himself!

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


In Khanty Mansiysk Gata Kamsky played a total of 18 games, 16 at regular time controls and two rapid chess tiebreak games (against Peter Svidler). He lost none of his games, won six regular games and one tiebreak game to win the FIDE World Cup 2007. A very economic effort. But what about his performance. We consult ChessBase (the program) and get the following for the regular games:

We see that his performance in this tournament, against opponents averaging 2679 rating points, was a tremendous 2816. For the uninitiated: this means that we could expect the performance Kamsky displayed from a player rated 2816, statistically speaking. His actual rating is 2714, so he was playing 102 points better than his nominal rating on the FIDE list. In the next list he will be rated higher, though we have not yet projected how many points he will gain (just 15 day before the new FIDE rating list appears).

Incidentally, if you evaluate all 18 games he played, including the two rapid ones against Svidler, Kamsky performed at a level of 2822, with seven wins, 11 draws and no losses.

All games and final table

tables of this 128-player event are too large to show normally, so we have made a reduced, scrollable version for you. Firefox users will need to click the image to enlarge it to the intended size.

You can also view the original table if your browser and your monitor allow you to:


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