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World Chess Championship Candidates 2011 (Day 3)

Gelfand takes charge with an elegant win against Mamedyarov

Boris Gelfand played a great game in round 3 of the quarter finals.

Boris Gelfand played a great game in round 3 of the quarter finals. |

Boris Gelfand took the lead against Shahriyar Mamedyarov with a fine win in the Sicilian in the only decisive result of the 3rd round of the FIDE World Chess Championship Candidates Quarter Finals. This result leaves him only needing a draw with white in the 4th game on Sunday to progress. Kamsky played cautiously and got his draw against Topalov to maintain his lead into the final game. Aronian pressed a little against Grischuk's Gruenfeld and it seems that Kramnik demonstrated deep preparation against Radjabov which equalised.

Mamedyarov-Gelfand Game 3

Boris Gelfand took a huge step towards qualifying for the semi-finals of the World Chess Championship Candidates by beating Azerbaijani Shahriyar Mamedyarov. They followed the game Morozevich-Kasparov until Gelfand deviated with 15...Kh8. Critical in this position was probably 16.f6 but instead Mamedyarov retreated with 16.Be3.

Shahriyar Mamedyarov

Shahriyar Mamedyarov has it all to do in the final round winning with black against the solid Boris Gelfand. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Once Gelfand got the break 17...d5 he was probably a little better, and after he played the exchange sacrifice 20...Rxc3 he was much better. Probably Mamedyarov should have bailed to an ending with 20.Bd4 because what followed was a convincing and aesthetic demonstration of Black's advantages by Gelfand. He did not rush to cash in and indeed gave up another piece so that he was a rook down for five and then six pawns. White's position however was entirely without prospects and once Gelfand brought his final piece into play with 39...Rb8 Mamedyarov decided to resign.

They had a pleasant enough conversation about the game afterwards too, the good relations between the opponents has been a feature of the event so far.

Kamsky-Topalov Game 3

Kamsky plays 15.Kd1

Kamsky plays 15.Kd1 Photo © Russian Chess Federation

It became apparent very quickly that Gata Kamsky came to the board very intent on keeping the draw in hand. He did not extend his position at all preferring to keep a compact pawn structure at the expense of allowing Veselin Topalov to equalise. Of course Kamsky might have been hoping to provoke his opponent.

Veselin Topalov

Veselin Topalov maybe got a slight advantage with black against Gata Kamsky but he couldn't make it count. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Instead he was under a little pressure but he is pretty sure of his defensive abilities and once he found a nice liquidation the draw was not in doubt. Topalov has plenty of all-or-nothing opening ideas; we may see one in the final game tomorrow, as he seeks a win with white.

Aronian-Grischuk Game 3

More time pressure for Grischuk

Alexander Grischuk found himself in time pressure again but still held the draw. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Levon Aronian's 1.d4 was again met by the Gruenfeld, the speciality of Alexander Grischuk's second Peter Svidler. Aronian has a way of generating tension from not very much but he didn't get very much more than that. Grischuk got into his customary time trouble (he kept looking at the game Mamedyarov-Gelfand in spite of this!) and decided to sacrifice a pawn to reach a rook and pawn ending. The position was almost certainly just a theoretical draw and after some interesting play the game was indeed drawn.

Kramnik-Radjabov Game 3


Teimour Radjabov hasn't unlocked the secret of the Lasker Defence, but neither has he lost and is still well in the semi-final Photo © Russian Chess Federation

It is hard to know who is being the cleverer in the match between Teimour Radjabov and Vladimir Kramnik. Kramnik's match experience dwarfs that of Radjabov yet there have been three quiet struggles so far. Maybe Kramnik feels he has the better chances in the rapid and blitz playoffs, but perhaps Radjabov's hopes lie there also.

Vladimir Kramnik

Kramnik, solid all the way so far. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Today the Lasker variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined was repeated. 14...Nf6 was a novelty from Kramnik and it looked like a deeply prepared one too, almost certainly down to the repetition at the end. Will Kramnik try for a bigger advantage than he did in game two with his final game with the white pieces? We'll have to see.

Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar (2772) - Gelfand,Boris (2733) [B87]
WCh Candidates Kazan RUS (1.3), 07.05.2011

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.0-0 Be7 9.Qf3 Qc7 10.Qg3 0-0 11.Bh6 Ne8 12.Rad1 Bd7 13.f4 Nc6 14.f5 Nxd4 15.Rxd4 Kh8

Departing from the Morozevich-Kasparov game mentioned in the press conference. Mamedyarov may have been expecting Bf6, especially as it was seen as being so convincing in the Kasparov game.

[15...Bf6 16.Rd3 Be5 17.Qg4 b4 18.f6 g6 19.Ne2 a5 20.Bxf8 Kxf8 21.Qh4 a4 22.Qxh7 Qa7+ 23.Kh1 Nxf6 24.Qh6+ Ke7 25.Bc4 Qc5 26.b3 axb3 27.Bxb3 Bb5 28.Nf4 Bxf4 29.Qxf4 Qe5 30.h3 g5 31.Qf2 g4 32.Qb6 Nd7 33.Qf2 Nf6 34.Qb6 Rh8 35.Rxd6 Qxd6 36.Qxd6+ Kxd6 37.Rxf6 Rh7 38.Kh2 Ke5 39.Rf2 gxh3 40.gxh3 Bc6 41.Bc4 Bxe4 42.Re2 f5 43.Bd3 Kf4 44.Bxe4 fxe4 45.Rf2+ Ke3 46.Rf8 e5 47.Re8 Rc7 48.Rxe5 Kf4 49.Rb5 Rxc2+ 50.Kg1 e3 51.Rxb4+ Kf3 52.Rb1 Rg2+ 53.Kh1 e2 54.a4 Kf2 55.a5 Rg5 56.Kh2 Rxa5 57.h4 Ra3 0-1 Morozevich,A (2749)-Kasparov,G (2827)/Astana KAZ 2001]


It may turn out that this response to Gelfand's novelty isn't very good.

[16.f6 is what the computers want but Gelfand would have had something against it.]

16...Nf6 17.Qh3 d5

Boris Gelfand


Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Position after 17...d5

The standard break to counter a wing attack, it seems very good here.


[18.exd5 exf5 with a small edge to black.]

18...Qxe5 19.Rh4 Rfc8 20.Kh1 Rxc3

Boris Gelfand


Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Position after 20...Rxc3

And now a standard Sicilian Exchange sacrifice which here is extremely strong as it accentuates the lack of prospect and vulnerability of white's light squared bishop. Pretty soon not only does white lose the c3 pawn but the c2 pawn has to go too and with that black's centre become a monsterous force.

21.bxc3 Qxc3 22.Rd4?

This may be the final error. Perhaps Mamedyarov simply has to bite the bullet and swap queens off.

[22.Bd4 Qxh3 23.Rxh3 and black has all the chances but white is still on the board to an extent.]

22...a5 23.Rd3 Qc6 24.c3 a4 25.Bc2 e5 26.Bg5 b4!

Eliminating the last restraint on black's centre.

27.Qh4 bxc3 28.Rh3 Kg8! 29.Re1 e4 30.g4 Kf8 31.Be3 Qc4 32.g5 Bxf5

Giving up a piece for two more pawns so he is a rook down for a fistful of pawns is extremely strong.

33.gxf6 Bxf6 34.Qh5 Bg6!

Boris Gelfand


Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Position after 34...Bg6

Of course there is nothing to be done for white, but the way Gelfand finishes things is the height of elegance. He has five, soon to be six pawns for the exchange, but even so some might be tempted to get an exchange back, but why exchange off a beautiful bishop protecting his king for white's useless rook?

35.Qg4 Qxa2 36.Bb1 Qc4 37.Qg2 a3 38.Ba2 Qc6 39.Rg3 Rb8

Boris Gelfand


Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Position after 39...Bb8

The final piece comes into play, ready to be sacrificed, Gelfand is finally ready to start pushing his pawns, and this was the point Mamedyarov had had enough and resigned.

One elegant finish might be 39...Rb8 40.Bc1 Rb2 41.Bxb2 axb2 42.Bb1 Be5 43.Rge3 f5 with the pawns advancing in a mass.


Kamsky,Gata (2732) - Topalov,Veselin (2775) [B90]
WCh Candidates Kazan RUS (1.3), 07.05.2011

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.a4 e5 7.Nf3 Be7 8.Bg5 Be6 9.Bxf6 Bxf6 10.Nd5 Nd7 11.Bc4 Rc8 12.b3 Qa5+ 13.Qd2 Qxd2+ 14.Nxd2 Bg5 15.Kd1 h5 16.Re1 h4 17.h3 Nf6 18.Nxf6+ gxf6 19.Bxe6 fxe6 20.Nf3 Rg8 21.c4 f5 22.exf5 exf5 23.Ke2 Be7 24.Kf1 Kf7 25.Rad1 Rc5 26.b4

Veselin Topalov


Gata Kamsky

Position after 26.b4

This liquidation is just good enough for white to draw the position.

26...Rxc4 27.Rxe5 dxe5 28.Nxe5+ Ke6 29.Nxc4 Bxb4 30.Rb1 a5 31.Rd1 Rc8 32.Rd4 Bc3 33.Rxh4 Bf6 34.Rf4 Bg5 35.Rd4 Bf6 36.Rf4 Bg5 37.Rd4 Bf6

Neither side has much choice but to repeat.


Radjabov,Teimour (2744) - Kramnik,Vladimir (2785) [D56]
WCh Candidates Kazan RUS (1.3), 07.05.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 0-0 7.e3 Ne4 8.Bxe7 Qxe7 9.Rc1 c6 10.Bd3 Nxc3 11.Rxc3 dxc4 12.Bxc4 Nd7 13.Qc2 b6 14.Bd3 Nf6

A novelty from Kramnik. The way the game goes it seems entirely probable that Kramnik had this prepared right down to the repetition at the end.

[14...c5 1-0 Zakhartsov,V (2602)-Grabinsky,V (2303)/Cappelle la Grande FRA 2011/The Week in Chess 852 (37)]

15.Rxc6 Nd5 16.Qb3 Nb4 17.Rc1 Nxd3+ 18.Qxd3 Bb7 19.0-0 Bxf3 20.gxf3 Qg5+ 21.Kh1 Qd5 22.Qe4 Qxa2 23.Rg1 Rfc8 24.Qb7 Rf8 25.Rc7 Qxb2 26.Rxf7 Rxf7 27.Qxa8+ Kh7 28.Qe8 Rc7 29.Qxe6 Qxf2 30.Qe4+ Kg8 31.Qe8+ Kh7 32.Qe4+ Kg8 33.Qe8+ 1/2-1/2

Vladimir Kramnik


Teimour Radjabov

Final position after 33.Qe8+

Aronian,Levon (2808) - Grischuk,Alexander (2747) [D97]
WCh Candidates Kazan RUS (1.3), 07.05.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 0-0 7.e4 a6 8.Be2 b5 9.Qb3 c5 10.dxc5 Be6 11.Qc2 Nbd7 12.Be3 Rc8 13.Rd1 b4 14.Nd5 Bxd5 15.exd5 Nxc5 16.0-0 a5 17.Bc4

[17.Bb5 Nce4 18.Bc6 Nd6 19.Qe2 Nf5 20.Bg5 h6 21.Bxf6 Bxf6 22.Rfe1 Qc7 23.Bb5 Rfd8 24.Ba6 Ra8 25.Rc1 Qd6 26.Bd3 Qxd5 27.Be4 Qxa2 28.Bxa8 Rxa8 29.Ne5 Rd8 30.Nc6 Rd6 31.Qb5 Qxb2 32.Qxa5 Bc3 33.Rf1 Rxc6 34.Qa8+ Kg7 35.Rb1 Qe2 36.Qxc6 Nd4 37.Qc5 Qe4 38.Kh1 Nf5 39.Rfd1 Qf4 40.Kg1 h5 41.Qb5 h4 42.Qd3 e5 43.Qe2 h3 44.g3 Nd4 45.Qe3 Nf3+ 46.Kh1 Qf5 47.Qd3 Qf6 48.Rbc1 Nd2 49.Rxd2 Bxd2 50.Rd1 Bc3 51.f3 Qc6 52.Rb1 Bd4 53.Qf1 e4 54.Rc1 Bc3 55.Qxh3 exf3 56.Qf1 b3 57.h4 b2 58.Rb1 Qe4 59.Kh2 Qe2+ 60.Kh3 Bd2 61.Qh1 Bc1 0-1 Belov,V (2627)-Gupta,A (2565)/Kavala GRE 2009/The Week in Chess 770]

17...Qd6 18.Bd4 Ncd7 19.Qe2 Ng4 20.Rfe1 Rfe8 21.Ba6 Ra8 22.Bb5 Bxd4 23.Rxd4 Ngf6 24.h3 Rab8 25.Ba4 Red8 26.Qxe7 Nb6 27.Bd1 Rbc8 28.Qa7 Ra8 29.Qb7 Rdc8 30.Qe7 Qxe7 31.Rxe7 Nfxd5 32.Rb7 Rc7 33.Rxc7 Nxc7 34.Bb3 a4 35.Bc2 Ncd5 36.Be4 Ra5 37.Ne5 Rc5

Black was in bad time trouble here.

[37...a3 38.bxa3 Nc3 39.Nc6 Rxa3 40.Bf3 Nxa2 41.Nxb4 Nxb4 42.Rxb4 Nd7 was the simpler path to a draw.]

38.Bxd5 Rxd5 39.Rxb4 Rxe5 40.Rxb6 Re1+ 41.Kh2 Re2 42.Kg3 a3 43.bxa3 Rxa2 44.Rb3

This ending should be drawn with best play, the position of the rook is ideal.

44...Kg7 45.f4 h5 46.h4 f6 47.Kf3 g5 48.hxg5 fxg5 49.g3 Kf6 50.Ke4 gxf4 51.Kxf4 Ra1 52.Ke4 Ke6 53.Re3 Ra2 54.Kd4+ Kd6 55.Kc4 Rh2 56.Kb5 Kc7 57.Re7+ Kb8 58.Rh7 Rg2 59.Kb6 Rb2+

Grischuk had to be accurate but in the end he held the ending comfortably enough.


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