Khanty-Mansiysk World Cup: Shirov through in the tiebreaks

12/11/2007 – The 17-year-olds are both out: after Magnus Carlsen lost to Gata Kamsky in their regular games, today it was Sergey Karjakin who drew the shorter straw against Alexei Shirov, former FIDE world championship finalist and one of the most interesting currently active GMs. Shirov will play Gata Kamsky in the four game finals. Pictorial report with full commentary by GM Dorian Rogozenko.

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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.

Round six Tiebreaks (Tuesday, December 11th)

Alexey Shirov became the second finalist of the World Cup. In the tiebreak versus the Ukrainian Sergey Karjakin he drew the first game and won the second one, qualifying into the Finals, where he will meet the American Gata Kamsky.

Surprise guest: Rustam Kasimdzhanov doing audio/video commentary on

The former FIDE World Champion speaks impeccable, eloquent English and is very profound in his analysis. Occasionally he allows his humour to sparkle through. We have asked Rustam, who currently has a somewhat tight playing schedule, to do multimedia commentary for the final match (Thurday to Sunday).

Round six results

No.   Name Nat Rtng
R1 R2 B1 B2 SD Tot.
 1  Carlsen, Magnus   NOR 2714
 Kamsky, Gata USA 2714
 4  Shirov, Alexei ESP 2739
 Karjakin, Sergey UKR 2694

The tiebreak games

Commentary by GM Dorian Rogozenko

Photographers at the start of the game Karjakin (left) vs Shirov

Tiebreak game one is under way...

Large projection screens for the public, that is, let us say, sparse

Karjakin,Sergey (2694) - Shirov,Alexei (2739)
World Cup Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (6.3), 11.12.2007

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5

The famous Sveshnikov Sicilian – an opening variation named after the Russian grandmaster Evgeny Sveshnikov, who contributed a lot to its theory. Just few years ago Sveshnikov Sicilian used to be the most topical opening subject in tournaments of different levels, including the very top. Lately top players "/portals/all/_for_legal_reasons.jpg" the Marshall Attack and the consequence was that Sveshnikov Sicilian became a slightly less frequent guest in practice. In the introductory part of my theoretical article in ChessBase Magazine 121 I reflected about the reasons behind the decrease of its popularity. Without entering into details now, I will just bring up the following sentence from my article: "...this partial loss of its recent popularity represents first of all a complex process of evolution, which is rather typical for any fashionable opening". With other words: the Sveshnikov Sicilian still represents a dangerous weapon.

6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Nd5 Just like many top grandmasters, at the beginning Karjakin used to play the lines starting with 9.Bxf6, but later switched to the "more solid" 9.Nd5, being nowadays one of the leading experts in this line. 9...Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.c3

In this position the strategical battle is around square d5. Karjakin and Shirov have played it two times before. In both games Shirov tried a different set-up with black, but failed to equalize and both games were won convincingly by the Ukrainian (the last victory in November 2007). This time Alexey finally goes for the main line. 11...Bg5. 11...0-0 12.Nc2 Rb8 13.h4 Be7 14.g3 Be6 15.a3 a5 16.Nce3 Re8 17.a4 b4 18.Bb5 with a very unpleasant position for Black, Karjakin,S (2694)-Shirov,A (2739)/Crete 2007. 12.Nc2 0-0. 12...Ne7 13.h4 Bh6 14.a4 bxa4 15.Ncb4 0-0 16.Qxa4 Nxd5 17.Nxd5 a5 18.Bb5 Kh8 19.b4 f5 20.Bc6 Ra7 21.exf5 Bxf5 22.bxa5 Bd3 23.Bb5 Bxb5 24.Qxb5 Raf7 25.0-0 Qxh4 26.Qe2 and again it turned out that Black is in troubles, Karjakin,S (2678)-Shirov,A (2715)/Wijk aan Zee 2007. 13.a4 bxa4 14.Rxa4 a5 15.Bc4 Rb8 16.b3 Kh8

17.Nce3. This plan to delay castle short became very popular after the game Ponomariov-Kramnik, Wijk-aan-Zee 2005. Since then its theory developed a lot. White's idea is to wait for the answer ...g7-g6 and then sacrifice the h-pawn in order to create an attack on the h-file. 17.0-0 f5 18.exf5 Bxf5 19.Nce3 Bg6 20.Be2 Bf7 21.Nc4 Nd4 22.cxd4 Bxd5= Shirov,A (2710)-Kramnik,V (2790)/Monte Carlo (rapid) 1998. 17...g6 18.h4 Bxh4 19.g3 Bg5

20.Qe2. A new move. Usually White was trying to use the second rank for the transfer of his rook to the h-file. Karjakin's idea is to transfer the queen on h2. The main theoretical variation continues 20.f4 exf4 21.gxf4 Bh4+ 22.Kd2 Ne7 with wild complications, where Black seems to have enough resources to keep the balance. 20...f5 21.f4 exf4 22.gxf4 Bh4+ 23.Kd1 Rb7 24.Qh2 g5 25.Ba6.

Difficult to say what went wrong in the Karjakin's preparation, but after this move Shirov takes over the initiative with a rather obvious exchange sacrifice. 25...Rxb3! 26.Kc2 Bxa6 27.Kxb3 fxe4

28.fxg5 Qb8+ 29.Rb4. A sad necessity, in order to avoid mate. 29.Kc2? Bd3+ 30.Kd2 Qb2+ 31.Kd1 Rf2 and Black will mate soon. 29...axb4 30.Qxh4 bxc3+ 31.Kxc3 Qa7 32.Qxe4 Ne5 33.g6 Bd3

It is very likely that Black could achieve even more, since now Karjakin succeeds in entering an endgame with big chances to escape. 34.Rxh7+ Qxh7 35.Qxe5+! dxe5 36.gxh7 Bxh7

Only precise analysis can tell whether the endgame is winning for Black or not. 37.Ng4 Rc8+ 38.Kb4 e4 39.Ngf6 Bf5. 39...Kg7? 40.Nxh7 Kxh7 41.Nf6+ Kg7 42.Nxe4=. 40.Nh5 Bg4 41.Ng3 Bf3 42.Nf5 Rc1 43.Nc3 Kh7 44.Kc4 Rc2. 44...Kg6 45.Ng3 e3 46.Kd3=. 45.Kd4 Kg6 46.Ne3 Rd2+ 47.Ke5 Rd3 48.Ned5 Rd2 49.Nxe4. This is a draw, but Shirov checks the resistance of his young opponent until the end. 49...Ra2 50.Nf4+ Kh6 51.Ne6 Ra5+ 52.Kf4 Bd1 53.Nd4 Kg6 54.Nc3 Bh5 55.Ne4 Rd5 56.Ke3 Rd8 57.Nc6 Re8 58.Kd4 Ra8 59.Ne5+ Kg7 60.Nd6 Kf6 61.Ne4+ Ke6 62.Nc5+ Kf5 63.Nc6 Re8 64.Nb4 Rd8+ 65.Ke3 Be8 66.Nbd3 Bb5 67.Nb4 Rh8 68.Nbd3 Rh3+ 69.Kd4 Rh4+ 70.Ke3 Rc4 71.Nb3 Re4+ 72.Kd2 Rh4 73.Kc3 Ke4 74.Nd2+ Kd5 75.Nb4+ Kd6 76.Nc2 Rh3+ 77.Kb2 Kd5 78.Na3 Ba4 79.Nc2 Kc5 80.Kc1 Rd3 81.Ne1 Rc3+ 82.Kb2 Kb4 83.Nb1 Rb3+ 84.Kc1 Rh3 85.Nc2+ Kc4 86.Ne1 Rh1 87.Kd2 Rh2+ 88.Ke3 Bd1 89.Nd2+ Kd5 90.Nef3 Re2+ 91.Kf4 Re8 92.Kg3 Rf8 93.Kg2 Bxf3+ 94.Nxf3 Ke4 95.Nd2+ Kd3 96.Nf1 Rf6 97.Ng3 Rf4 98.Nh5 Rf8 99.Ng3 Ke3 100.Nf1+ Ke2 101.Ng3+ Ke1 102.Ne4 Rf7 103.Ng3 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Alexei Shirov at work in game one of the tiebreak...

... and Karjakin struggling

Frustration: Shirov cannot believe that this game is a draw

But draw it is – the second game must bring the decision

Some pictures need no caption – well shot, Atarov!

Shirov,Alexei (2739) - Karjakin,Sergey (2694)
World Cup Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (6.4), 11.12.2007

In the second game it was again Karjakin who produced a novelty. The Ukrainian grandmaster repeated the game Shirov-Jakovenko from the previous round in Khanty-Mansiysk and tried to improve on move 18. Black got an endgame where his bishop pair seemed to offer compensation for the pawn. Nevertheless only White could play for a win and Shirov fully used his chances, showing great technique and squeezing a full point. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.d3 Bd6 13.Re1 Bf5 14.Qf3 Qh4 15.g3 Qh3 16.Bxd5 cxd5 17.Qxd5 Rad8 18.Qg2

18...Qxg2+. In Shirov,A (2739)-Jakovenko,D (2710)/Khanty-Mansiysk 2007 Black continued 18...Qh5 19.Be3 Bxd3 20.Nd2 Bf5 21.Qc6 but wasn't able to prove sufficient compensation. Formore details about the variation and the game see the report of the respective round. 19.Kxg2 Bxd3 20.Be3 Rfe8 21.Nd2 f6 22.Bb6 Rb8 23.Rxe8+ Rxe8 24.Nb3 Bc4 25.Rd1 Bf8 26.Be3

With a precise defense Black might be able to achieve a draw. But the question is whether it makes sense to go straight from the opening into an worse endgame, only hoping for a draw... 26...Kf7 27.Na5 Be6 28.a3 Rc8 29.f3 Rc7 30.Rd8 Rc8 31.Nb7 Rc7

32.Nd6+ Bxd6. Worse is 32...Ke7 33.Ra8 since after 33...Kxd6 White has 34.Bf4+ winning. 33.Rxd6 Bc8 34.Kf2 Ke7 35.Rb6 Kd7 36.g4 Rc6 37.Rb8 g6 38.Ra8 Ke6 39.Bd4 h5

White is a pawn up and has better pieces. His plan is to advance the kingside pawns, trying to create weaknesses in Black's pawn structure. As long as the rooks are on the board, the opposite-coloured bishops don't make Black's life any easier. 40.h4! Ke7 41.Ra7+ Bd7 42.Kg3 Re6 43.Kf4 Ke8 44.gxh5 gxh5 45.Kf5! Rd6+ 46.Kg6

Mission completed. Black has three week pawns. Besides, the difference between the activity of the kings is obvious. Now White is winning. 46...Bc6 47.f4 Be4+ 48.Kxh5 Rd5+ 49.Kh6 Rf5 50.Be3 Bf3 51.Kg6 Be4 52.Kg7 Rh5 53.Kxf6 Bd3 54.Ra8+ Kd7 55.Ra7+ Kc6 56.Rxa6+ Kd5 57.Ra8 Rxh4 58.Rd8+ Ke4 59.Kg5 Rh2 60.Bc5 Rg2+ 61.Kf6 Bc4 62.Rd4+ Kf3 63.a4 Rxb2 64.a5 Ra2 65.Bb4 Re2 66.f5 Re8 67.Rxc4 bxc4 68.Kg7 Re4 69.f6 Rg4+ 70.Kf8 1-0. [Click to replay]

Shirov vs Karjakin: the game after White's 50th move

...and after 70.Kf8 and Black, Karjakin, resigns

The general impression of the tiebreak is that Karjakin came quite superficially prepared in the opening. In spite of the fact that it was the Ukrainian who both times made new moves, it turned out that in the end it was Shirov who got the better positions. The Final between Kamsky and Shirov will consist of four games and will certainly feature a high class and tense match. So far both players showed best chess in Khanty-Mansiysk.

FIDE has announced that the semifinal players, i.e. both Carlsen and Karjakin, plus the loser of the final, are automatically qualified for the next World Cup cycle.

Note that tomorrow, Wednesday, is a free day. The Final begins on Thursday, December 13.

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


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