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World Chess Championship Candidates 2011 (Semi-Final Gm4)

Both FIDE Candidates Semi-finals go to playoffs

Grischuk played his part in an exciting draw against Kramnik in the final standard timerate game of their match.

Grischuk played his part in an exciting draw against Kramnik in the final standard timerate game of their match. |

Vladimir Kramnik and Alexander Grischuk drew an exciting game where black emerged well from the opening but the position was complicated and eventually the initiative passed to white and both players believe Kramnik must have missed a win somewhere. In the end this fascinating game ended in a draw by perpetual check. Gata Kamsky has had to work hard for everything he's got in the candidates so far but today he got in a nice bit of opening preparation which he played in just 7 minutes at which point his opponent Boris Gelfand accepted the draw. Rapid and possibly Blitz playoffs are on Monday.

Vladimir Kramnik

Vladimir Kramnik in conversation with his opponent after the game. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

The highlight of the round was undoubtably the game between Vladimir Kramnik and Alexander Grischuk. The position started as an English before transposing to something else. Grischuk as usual was spending a lot of time thinking and this time was rewarded with possibly even a slight opening advantage. However it was all terribly difficult and at some point the initiative passed to Kramnik. They had an extensive friendly postmortem and you could just see Kramnik explaining that he couldn't believe this, that and the other just saved Grischuk. One can get terrible hung up on computer suggestions in positions such as these but I do like 31.Nf4 as a winning try for white (I think it is also clear that 30...Rg8? is Grischuk's only real error in an otherwise finely played game).

In the end the game settled to a draw by perpetual check as Kramnik couldn't meet Grischuk's threats in any other way.

Alexander Grischuk

Alexander Grischuk in an animated postmortem with Kramnik. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

The Press Conference


Yes OK it was a very interesting game, very sharp and complicated, I actually like my position out of the opening, although OK people are saying computer didn't give any advantage, at any moment, whatever, I liked it. But then somehow I couldn't really see any clear way to get any advantage, I think Alexander played very well, all the best moves, at least that is what I thought. Then I got a playable position. It was very unclear and maybe after a couple of moves like, as already mentioned f5 was quite strong on Qf3 I saw the move but didn't think it would be so strong but then after I got some pressure, some annoying initiative and the game was complicated

Probably at some point I played some accurate moves and should have been winning definitely at some point.

OK I could get 3 against 2 rook endgame with good winning chances.of course but I wanted more.

Then somehow it looked like I was winning but then by miracle as it seemed to me at least, black is always in time to escape at least I couldn't find in time, in mutual time trouble, any victory and then it was a draw, well at least it was an interesting game.


I got finally good position with black and then it turns out yes I was right and I indeed was better but then I didn't find the precise continuation and the number of tricks that white has just grew up like mushrooms after the rain. Just tricks everywhere like mate on 8th rank, then Nf6, mate on h7, mate on g8, and then yes, I'm completely sure I was lost, but it was not super-primative, at least neither me nor Vladimir saw a clear way for victory for white, and then somehow it just happened to be a forced draw after Vladimir decided to grab the second pawn.

Alexander Grischuk

Alexander Grischuk in an animated postmortem with Kramnik. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Kramnik,Vladimir (2785) - Grischuk,Alexander (2747) [A04]
WCh Candidates Kazan RUS (2.4), 15.05.2011

1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5 4.e3 Nf6 5.Be2

[5.d4 cxd4 6.exd4 e4 7.Ne5 was the draw in game 2.]

5...d5 6.d4 exd4 7.exd4 Be6 8.Be3 dxc4





[9...Rc8 10.dxc5 Qxd1 11.Rfxd1 Nb4 12.Nd4 Bxc5 13.Nxe6 fxe6 14.Bxc5 Rxc5 15.Rac1 b5 16.a4 a6 17.axb5 axb5 18.Rd6 Kf7 19.Rb6 Nd3 20.Bxd3 cxd3 21.Rd1 Rd8 22.Rxb5 Rxb5 23.Nxb5 e5 24.f3 e4 25.fxe4 Nxe4 26.Nc3 Nxc3 27.bxc3 d2 1/2-1/2 Yandemirov,V (2461)-Andreikin,D (2635)/ Moscow RUS 2010/The Week in Chess 796]

10.Nxd4 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 Qa5

[11...Be7; 11...Qd7; 11...Bd6]

12.Bxf6 gxf6 13.Re1

[13.Qd4 0-1 Flaisigova,P (2055) -Neumann,P (2360)/Plzen CZE 1998 (32)]

13...Rd8 14.Qc2 Be7 15.Qe4 Qc5 16.Qxb7 0-0 17.Ne4 Qb4 18.Qxa7 Rd7 19.Qe3 Qxb2 20.Rac1 Qd4 21.Qf3

Alexander Grischuk


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 21.Qf3


[21...f5 was the post-game suggestion.]

22.Ng3 Rdc7 23.Nh5 Kh8 24.Rcd1 Qb2 25.Qg3 Bf8 26.Bg4 c3 27.Bxe6 fxe6 28.Nxf6 Bg7

[28...Rg7 29.Qe5 Qb7 30.g3 c2 31.Rc1 Ba3]

29.Nh5 Qb7 30.Qh4 Rg8

Alexander Grischuk


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 30...Rg8

This seems to be an error.


Probably it is here that white missed his main chance.

[31.Nf4 Covering g2 and threatening Ng6 mate and the pawn on e6. 31...h6 32.Rxe6]

31...Rc8 32.Rxg8+ Rxg8 33.Nxg7 Qxg7 34.Qe4 c2 35.Rc1 Rc8

Now black's theats ensure the draw.

36.Qxe6 Rd8 37.Qb3 Rd2 38.Qb8+ Qg8 39.Qb2+ Qg7 40.Qb8+ Qg8 41.Qe5+ Qg7 42.Qe8+ Qg8 43.Qe5+ Qg7 44.Qe8+

White Time: 0h:29min Black Time: 0h:59min


Boris Gelfand

Boris Gelfand. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Gata Kamsky got in a fine piece of opening preparation improving on his play in game two. He took just 7 minutes (and some of this would have been returning from offstage after his opponent moved) whilst his opponent Boris Gelfand tried to work a way to an advantage. Most of the pieces were traded and a draw was agreed in 23 moves.

Boris Gelfand and Gata Kamsky

Boris Gelfand and Gata Kamsky. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Gelfand,Boris (2733) - Kamsky,Gata (2732) [D80]
WCh Candidates Kazan RUS (2.4), 15.05.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bg5 Ne4 5.Bh4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 dxc4 7.e3 Be6 8.Nf3 c5 9.Be2 Bg7 10.0-0 0-0 11.Rb1 cxd4

[11...Bd5 White Time: 0h:20min Black Time: 0h:15min 1/2-1/2 Gelfand,B (2733)-Kamsky,G (2732)/Kazan RUS 2011 (66); 11...Nd7 1-0 Nielsen,P (2700)-Howell,D (2616)/Amsterdam NED 2010/The Week in Chess 824 (52)]

12.Nxd4 Bd5 13.Qc2 Qd7 14.Rfd1 Bxd4 15.cxd4 Qe6 16.Bf3 Bxf3 17.gxf3 Nd7 18.Qe4 b6 19.Rdc1 Rac8 20.Rb4 c3 21.Rb3 Nf6 22.Qxe6 fxe6 23.Bxf6

White Time: 0h:56min Black Time: 1h:53min. A great piece of preparation from Kamsky. He only used 7 minutes in getting a completely drawn position. As Gelfand put it all the pieces have been exchanged.


Gata Kamsky


Boris Gelfand

Final Position after 23.Bxf6

In two rounds of Candidates games at Classical time controls there have just been two decisive games, and both of those were in the quarter finals. It could be that the shortness of the matches are in part causing this, one loss and you're already in difficulties. This too is down to the closeness in standard of all the players. Also the old longer Candidates Matches allowed players to probe the same varations for weaknesses in the other's play.

Gata Kamsky draws for colours

Gata Kamsky draws for colours for the rapid. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Anyhow the players return on Monday for rapid and possibly blitz games to decide the finalists.

World Chess Championship Semi-Finals 2011 Kazan RUS Thu 12th May 2011 - Mon 16th May 2011
Name FEDRtg1234RapidBlitzS/DPts
Alexander Grischuk RUS2747 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2
Vladimir Kramnik RUS2785 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2
Name FEDRtg1234RapidBlitzS/DPts
Boris Gelfand ISR2733 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2
Gata Kamsky USA2732 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2

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