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World Chess Championship Candidates 2011 (1)

Grischuk barely survives against Aronian in day of draws

Aronian explains his draw in an

Aronian explains his draw in an "interesting game" to the press conference. | http://video.russiachess.org/

The first day of the FIDE Candidates matches to decide a challenger for World Champion Viswanathan Anand saw all games drawn. Radjabov and Kramnik drew a Queen's Gambit Lasker Defence after just two hours. Two hours later Gelfand had completely equalised against Mamedyarov just before first time control, 10 minutes later Kamsky and Topalov repeated just after first time control. Grischuk held Aronian after over 6 and a half hours play for much of which his position looked very bad indeed.

Teimour Radjabov hasn't played any chess in 2011 and no serious chess since the Olympiad and European Club Cup in September/October last year. What has he been doing in meantime? Well it certainly wasn't finding a refutation to the Lasker Defence to the Queen's Gambit. This solid defence by Vladimir Kramnik could hardly have come as a surprise but Radjabov achieved nothing and a draw was agreed in 25 moves.

Shakhiriyar Mamedyarov took an aggressive approach towards Boris Gelfand's Sicilian Najdorf, which in itself was a small surprise as the Petroff Defence has become Gelfand's weapon of choice in strong events such as these. If Mamedyarov did have an advantage he didn't come very close to exploiting it and black was in no trouble at all when they drew on move 39.

Gata Kamsky played a small surprise very early on in the opening, as far as I can tell the pawn sacrifice 7.a5 has never been played in a Grandmaster Game, Topalov wanted no part in those complications and so play continued on in a more conventional manner. Topalov even managed an exchange sacrifice later which left him with a dominant looking position but no way to make progress, the draw was agreed just after first time control when they repeated.

The final game to finish was that between Levon Aronian and Alexander Grischuk. Aronian is by common consent the favourite in this event, but that really doesn't amount to so very much, he certainly isn't favourite against the entire rest of the field all of whom, especially with this short match format, are capable of advancing.

Grischuk played the Gruenfeld, a bit of a suprise perhaps, and perhaps a mistake, although the defence is doing very well at the moment for black, it is hardly in the Russian's style. Grischuk gave up a pawn in return for slightly tieing up his opponents position a little, but eventually Aronian unwound and more or less had a pawn for nothing. However realising this pawn advantage was not trivial.

Gradually however Aronian did obtain his winning position, the excellent Sergei Shipov Commentary on Game One suggests that 66.Kd6 won more directly. By this stage both players were getting tired and short of time. 69. Nc5 was definitely a blunder and after 69...Nxc5 70. Kxc5 Kd8 Aronian almost immediately shook hands on the draw. Grischuk achieved one of the most difficult things in GM chess, to keep fighting even when you know your position is losing.

Alexander Grischuk. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Aronian,Levon (2808) - Grischuk,Alexander (2747) [D86]
WCh Candidates Kazan RUS (1.1), 05.05.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 c5 8.Ne2 Nc6 9.Be3 0-0 10.0-0 b6 11.dxc5 Qc7 12.Nd4 Ne5 13.Nb5 Qb8 14.Be2 bxc5 15.f4 Ng4 16.Bxc5 a6 17.Na3 Qc7 18.Bd4 e5 19.fxe5 Nxe5 20.Qc1 Bg4 21.Bxg4 Nxg4 22.Qf4 Qxf4 23.Rxf4 Ne5 24.Rb1 Rad8 25.Nc2 Nd3 26.Rff1 Rd7 27.Rfd1 Nf4 28.Kf2 Rc8 29.Ne3 h5 30.Rb6 Ne6 31.Bxg7 Rxd1 32.Nxd1 Kxg7 33.Ke3 Nc5 34.Rd6 a5 35.c4 a4 36.Kd4 Ne6+ 37.Kc3 Rb8 38.Rd5 Nf4 39.Rd2 Ne6 40.Rb2 Rd8 41.Nf2 a3 42.Rd2 Rb8 43.Nd3 Rb1 44.c5 Kf6 45.c6 Ke7 46.Nb4 Rc1+ 47.Kb3 Nc5+ 48.Kxa3 Nxe4 49.Rd4 Nd6 50.Ka4 Ke6 51.Ka5 Rc5+ 52.Ka6 g5 53.a4 Ke5 54.Rd2 Rc4 55.Ka5 f5 56.Rc2 Kd4 57.Rd2+ Ke5 58.Nd3+ Kf6 59.Kb6 Nc8+ 60.Kb7 Nd6+ 61.Kc7 Ne4 62.Ra2 Nc3 63.Rb2 Nxa4 64.Rb4 Rxb4 65.Nxb4 Nc5

Alexander Grischuk

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__K_____
__P__k__
__n__ppp
_N______
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Levon Aronian

Position after 65...Nc5

66.Kb6 Ne6 67.Nd3 h4 68.h3 Ke7 69.Nc5 Nxc5 70.Kxc5 Kd8 1/2-1/2

On stage at the end. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Kamsky,Gata (2732) - Topalov,Veselin (2775) [B90]
WCh Candidates Kazan RUS (1.1), 05.05.2011

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.a4 Nc6 7.a5 e6 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.Bd3 Be7 10.0-0 c5 11.Bf4 Qc7 12.Qe2 Bb7 13.e5 Qc6 14.f3 Nh5 15.Bd2 c4 16.Bxc4 dxe5 17.b3 Rd8 18.Rad1 Qc5+ 19.Kh1 Nf4 20.Na4 Nxe2 21.Nxc5 Bxc5 22.Bxe2 Ke7 23.b4 Rxd2 24.Rxd2 Bxb4 25.Rd3 Bd5 26.Rb1 Bxa5 27.Ra3 Bd2 28.Rxa6 Rc8 29.Ra7+ Kf6 30.Bd3 Be3 31.Ra4 h5 32.Rab4 Rc3 33.h4 g6 34.Kh2 Kg7 35.Ra4 f5 36.Re1 Bc5 37.Re2 Kf6 38.Re1 Bf2 39.Re2 Bc5 40.Re1 Bf2 41.Re2 Bc5 1/2-1/2

Shakhiriyar Mamedyarov. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar (2772) - Gelfand,Boris (2733) [B90]
WCh Candidates Kazan RUS (1.1), 05.05.2011

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 Nc6 10.Re1 b5 11.Bb3 Rb8 12.Bg5 Be6 13.Bxf6 Bxf6 14.Nd5 Bg5 15.Qd3 Bh6 16.Red1 Kh8 17.Nc3 Qb6 18.Bxe6 fxe6 19.Qxd6 Nd4 20.Qxb6 Nxf3+ 21.gxf3 Rxb6 22.a4 Kg8 23.axb5 axb5 24.Ra5 b4 25.Rb5 Rfb8 26.Rxb6 Rxb6 27.Ne2 Rc6 28.c3 bxc3 29.Nxc3 Bg5 30.Kf1 Rb6 31.Rb1 Be7 32.Ke2 Rb8 33.Kd3 Bc5 34.Na4 Bxf2 35.b4 Ra8 36.Nc5 Kf7 37.Kc4 Ke7 38.Rd1 Bd4 39.Nb3 1/2-1/2

Teimour Radjabov. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Radjabov,Teimour (2744) - Kramnik,Vladimir (2785) [D56]
WCh Candidates Kazan RUS (1.1), 05.05.2011

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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.Be2 Nd7 11.0-0 Nxc3 12.Rxc3 dxc4 13.Rxc4 e5 14.Qc2 exd4 15.Nxd4 Nb6 16.Rc5 Rd8 17.Bf3 Be6 18.Rc1 Bd5 19.a3 Nd7 20.Rc3 Nf6 21.Bxd5 Rxd5 22.Rc4 Re8 23.h3 Ne4 24.b4 a5 25.Rb1 1/2-1/2

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