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World Chess Championship Candidates 2011 (Semi-Final Gm1)

Cautious start to World Chess Championship Candidate Semi-Finals

No problems for Gelfand in game one of the Candidates Semi-Finals against Gata Kamsky.

No problems for Gelfand in game one of the Candidates Semi-Finals against Gata Kamsky. | http://video.russiachess.org/

There were two quick draws in the first round of the FIDE World Chess Championship Candidate Semi-Finals in Kazan, Russia. Vladimir Kramnik was still in preparation when he agreed a draw in 16 moves of a Queen's Gambit. Boris Gelfand was happy to repeat the Najdorf Sicilian against Gata Kamsky and experienced very little trouble in equalising either.

Vladimir Kramnik

A happy Vladimir Kramnik had no problems drawing game one. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

The Queen's Gambit has shown itself to be rock solid in these Candidates matches so far. Vladimir Kramnik's deep preparation was again seen as black against Alexander Grischuk as he steered the position to complete equality without having to find a move himself. Grischuk played 5.Bf4, no doubt admitting he had nothing against the Lasker Defence but his choice just hit another drawing line for Kramnik. The press conference that followed was almost longer than this game.

Alexander Grischuk

Alexander Grischuk. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Grischuk,Alexander (2747) - Kramnik,Vladimir (2785) [D37]
WCh Candidates Kazan RUS (2.1), 12.05.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Qc2 c5 8.Rd1 Qa5 9.Nd2

[9.a3 Ne4 10.Bd3 cxd4 11.exd4 Ndf6 12.0-0 Nxc3 13.bxc3 Bd7 14.Rb1 dxc4 15.Bxc4 Bc6 16.Ne5 Be4 17.Bd3 Bxd3 18.Qxd3 Nd5 19.Bd2 Qc7 20.c4 Nf6 21.Bf4 Qc8 22.Qf3 b6 23.Nc6 Qd7 24.Rfd1 Rfc8 25.d5 exd5 26.cxd5 Bd6 27.h3 Bxf4 28.Qxf4 Nxd5 29.Rxd5 Qxc6 30.Rbd1 h6 31.Rd7 Qe6 32.R1d6 Qe1+ 33.Kh2 Rf8 34.Rc7 Qa1 35.a4 1-0 Shulman,Y (2568)-Saidy,A (2374)/Las Vegas USA 2001/The Week in Chess 351]

9...cxd4 10.exd4 dxc4 11.Nxc4 Qd8 12.Bd3 Nb6 13.0-0 Bd7 14.Nxb6 Qxb6 15.d5 Kh8

Kramnik was still playing fast at this stage and clearly in preparation.

16.dxe6

With this move Grischuk admits he can find nothing. Perhaps he was also worried about how deep Kramnik's preparation was. Shipov thinks 16.Qe2 was strong here. Grischuk offered a draw which was immediately accepted.

1/2-1/2

Vladimir Kramnik

r____r_k
pp_bbppp
_q__Pn__
________
_____B__
__NB____
PPQ__PPP
___R_RK_

Alexander Grischuk

Position after 16.dxe6

Alexander Grischuk

Alexander Grischuk. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

US Champion Gata Kamsky

US Champion Gata Kamsky. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Gata Kamsky came with an interesting idea in the Sicilian Najdorf for Veselin Topalov, he was not quite so happy to repeat it against Boris Gelfand and played 6.Be3 instead of the 6.a4 and 7.a5 he tried twice against Topalov. It is also interesting that Gelfand seems to have given up the Petroff which has been so good to him over the last five years returning to more active chess as black, it may be that white is finally starting to find ways of making black suffer in this line at least a little and making it less attractive.

Boris Gelfand

Boris Gelfand. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Kamsky,Gata (2732) - Gelfand,Boris (2733) [B90]
WCh Candidates Kazan RUS (2.1), 12.05.2011

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 Nxb3 13.axb3 Qc7 14.Bg5 Nh5 15.Nxe5 Bxg5 16.Qxh5 Bf6 17.Nf3 Bxc3 18.bxc3 Qxc3 19.Nd4 Rfe8 20.Qa5 Rac8

[20...Qc5 21.Qxc5 dxc5 22.Nxe6 Rxe6 23.Rd7 Rxe4 24.Rxb7 Re2 25.c4 Rd8 26.h3 g6 27.Rc7 Rdd2 28.Rxc5 Rxf2 29.Rg5 Ra2 30.Rxa2 Rxa2 31.Rc5 a5 32.Kh2 Kg7 33.Rb5 1/2-1/2 Bruzon,L (2589)-Dominguez,L (2556)/Havana CUB 2001]

21.f3 Qxa5 22.Rxa5 Rc3 23.Kf2 Kf8 24.Rda1 Rec8

Boris Gelfand

__r__k__
_p___ppp
p__pb___
R_______
___NP___
_Pr__P__
__P__KPP
R_______

Gata Kamsky

Position after 24...Rec8

25.Ke1 Ke7 26.Kd2 R3c5 27.R5a4 f5 28.Rb4 R8c7 29.exf5 Bxf5 30.Re1+ Kf7 31.Rb6 Rd5 32.c3 Bc8 33.b4 Re7 34.Ra1 Ke8 35.b5 Rc7 36.bxa6 bxa6 1/2-1/2

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

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