Chess24 Sopiko Scotch

World Chess Championship Candidates 2011 (Final Gm2)

Gelfand's defensive skills just hold Grischuk in game 2

Gelfand and Grischuk draw game 2.

Gelfand and Grischuk draw game 2. |

Boris Gelfand had to work extremely hard to hold a draw against Alexander Grischuk in game two of the World Chess Championship Candidates in Kazan which lasted almost 6 hours. Both players went for a very complex position of the English that clearly both had prepared (Grischuk it seems much more deeply). At first it appeared Gelfand had a very threatening position but then he found the wrong plan and that led to a big advantage for Grischuk. However it turned out not to be all that easy to win and Gelfand found some good counterplay and after first time control drew fairly comfortably. A game that shows how hard chess can be.

Boris Gelfand

Boris Gelfand. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Boris Gelfand and Alexander Grischuk both voluntarily played into a position in a dynamic English where complications exploded almost right away. The moves came quite fast for a while and it isn't really clear where their preparation ended although reports suggest that Grischuk knew that 22.Bxh8?! wasn't best. Although white only had a pawn for a piece he had pressure all over the board. But somehow Gelfand became nervous and out of a number of possiblities recovering some material with 22.Bxh8 Qxh8 23.Qe3 turned out to be a poor one. White was material down having Rook and Pawn against black's Knight and Bishop and surely was close to being objectively lost, but in practice it turned out to be very hard for Grischuk to turn this advantage into a win.

Alexander Grischuk

Alexander Grischuk. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Grischuk didn't seem to be playing all that badly and certainly didn't seem to be doing much wrong but white's desperate plan to free his rook with 33.e4 and 34.g4! provided excellent counter-play. Grischuk was also now very short of time and it seems that he missed one of his few concrete chances with 37...Rb3 when the variation appear to be in his favour. Instead 37...a5 activating what looked like being his trump card seemed to almost allow Gelfand to equalise after 39.Rhc5!

Once they reached first time control Gelfand turned down 41.Ra5! which is surely objectively drawn and played 41.R5c4 but even here his opponent could find nothing even after using 45 minutes on his next 4 moves. The game then rapidly traded into an equal ending. Another great defensive performance from Boris Gelfand. Even if it turns out that Grischuk was indeed winning the quality of Gelfand's resistance was very high.

Boris Gelfand

Boris Gelfand against Alexander Grischuk. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Gelfand,Boris (2733) - Grischuk,Alexander (2747) [A37]
WCh Candidates Kazan RUS (3.2), 20.05.2011

1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5 4.g3 g6 5.Bg2 Bg7 6.a3 Nge7 7.b4 d5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Ng5

[9.Nxd5 has been played a few times here.]

9...Nc7 10.d3 cxb4 11.axb4 e4!?

Alexander Grischuk


Boris Gelfand

Position after 11...e4

Initiating interesting play but with both sides having only consumed 15 minutes each there is a good chance both are still in preparation.

12.Ngxe4 f5 13.Bg5 Bxc3+ 14.Kf1

White sacrifices a piece for good compensation.

14...Qd4 15.Nxc3 Qxc3 16.Bf4!

White Time: 1h:25min


1h: 23min

17.Rc1 Qf6 18.Rc5 a6 19.Bxc6+ bxc6 20.Be5 Qf8 21.Qc1!

Alexander Grischuk


Boris Gelfand

Position after 21.Qc1

With great pressure all over the board in a complicated position. White's bishop is worth far more than black's rook. It isn't clear whether both sides had this position on the board prior to the game.

21...Bd7 22.Bxh8?!

Setting off in the wrong direction.

[22.Qc4 with complications is Yasser Seirawan and Larry Christiansen's suggestion. 22...h6 (22...Rg8? 23.Bf6 wins for instance.) ; 22.Kg2]

22...Qxh8 23.Qe3+?

Alexander Grischuk

Coincidentally or not Alexander Grischuk took his jacket off after Qe3+. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Alexander Grischuk


Boris Gelfand

Position after 23.Qe3+

Played with great confidence by Boris Gelfand but he seems to have underestimated the possibilities he had in the position. Grischuk still had his jacket on up until this position, after taking this move in for a few minutes he pulled a funny face, shrugged his shoulders and took his jacket off.


Black's King wants to be on this square. White Time: 0h:53min Black Time: 0h:51min

24.Re5 Qf8! 25.h4 h5 26.Qf4 Qd6 27.Kg2 Kf6 28.Re4 Qxf4

Trading into an ending where white's rook on f4 is on a terrible square.

[28...c5 29.bxc5 Qxc5 30.Rc1 Probably helps white.]

29.Rxf4 Be6 30.Rc1 Ke7 31.f3 Kd6 32.Kf2 Rb8 33.e4 Nc7

White Time: 0h:12min Black Time: 0h:11min


Alexander Grischuk


Boris Gelfand

Position after 34.g4

34...fxg4 35.Rf6 gxf3 36.Rxg6 Rxb4 37.Rh6

Alexander Grischuk


Boris Gelfand

Position after 37.Rh6


It is hard to believe that pushing the a-pawn won't win but it doesn't seem the best here but Grischuk was down to his last 3 minutes.

37...Rb3! 38.Ke3 c5 and black still has good winning chances.

38.Rxh5 a4 39.Rhc5! Bd7 40.Kxf3 Ne6

Alexander Grischuk


Boris Gelfand

Position after 40...Ne6


[41.Ra5 looks even more comfortable for white.]

41...c5! 42.h5!?

This h-pawn is white's main counter-play.

[42.Rxb4 cxb4 43.Rb1 should win for black.; 42.Ke3 a3 43.R4c3 Ra4 44.R3c2 Nd4 45.Rh2 a2]


If there is a win then it has to start with this.

43.Rh1 Nd4+ 44.Ke3 Be6

Alexander Grischuk


Boris Gelfand

Position after 44.Be6

This can't be right but already it isn't at all clear what black should be doing instead.


Already after the first time control both players have used most of their time to get to move 60. White Time: 0h:33min Black Time: 0h:11min.

[45.Rxa4 Ke5 46.Rxd4 cxd4+ 47.Kf3 and it isn't clear how black wins.; 45.Rcc1 Re2+ 46.Kf4 Rf2+ isn't mate and isn't clear.]

45...Kxe5 46.Rxc5+ Bd5 47.Rxd5+ Kxd5 48.h6

Already the draw is clear.

48...Re2+ 49.Kf4 Ne6+ 50.Kg3 Nf8

White Time: 0h:22min Black Time: 2min:13s

51.h7 Nxh7 52.Rxh7 a3 53.Kf3 Re1 54.Ra7 Ra1 55.Ke3 a2 56.Ra5+ Kc6

White Time: 0h:14min Black Time: 0min:51s

57.Kd4 Kb6 58.Ra8 Kb7 1/2-1/2

World Chess Championship Final Kazan
Grischuk, Alexander - Gelfand, Boris ½-½ 49 D37 QGD 5.Bf4
Gelfand, Boris - Grischuk, Alexander ½-½ 58 A37 English Symmetrical
World Chess Championship Final Kazan (RUS), 19-26 May 2011
Name Ti NAT Rtng 1 2 3 4 5 6 Total Perf
Grischuk, Alexander g RUS 2747 ½ ½ . . . . 1 2733
Gelfand, Boris g ISR 2733 ½ ½ . . . . 1 2747

View the games on this Page

Download the PGN from this page


NIC Magazine 8 2017

Chess and Bridge Shop Pro-League

American Chess Magazine 4

ChessBase Ad 5 MyGames

Ginger GM - Chess Grandmaster Simon Williams

Contact Mark Crowther (TWIC) if you wish to advertise here.

The Week in Chess Magazine

Send a £30 donation via Paypal and contact me via email (Email Mark Crowther - I'll send you an address for a cbv file of my personal copy of every issue of the games in one database. Over 2 million games.

Read about 20 years of TWIC.

Read about issue 1200.

TWIC 1210 15th January 2018 - 2206 games

Read TWIC 1210

Download TWIC 1210 PGN

Download TWIC 1210 ChessBase