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World Chess Championship Candidates 2011 (Final Gm5)

Grischuk doesn't make the best of opening edge in drawn game 5 against Gelfand

Grischuk - Gelfand Game 5 drawn.

Grischuk - Gelfand Game 5 drawn. |

Alexander Grischuk's novelty of 8.Be2 in the Queen's Gambit gave him an edge against Boris Gelfand in game five of the World Chess Championship Candidates. Gelfand played f6 with the idea of e5 but then decided it was too dangerous and went on the defensive. Grischuk didn't find a decent attacking setup and after 22.Bg4?! allowing 22...e5 Gelfand equalised and a draw was agreed a few moves later.

Boris Gelfand

Boris Gelfand. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Alexander Grischuk finally got a significant advantage from the opening against the Queen's Gambit, an opening he must be heartily fed-up of facing. He played 8.Be2 instead of the Bd3 played in the game Radjabov-Kramnik earlier in the event. Gelfand then had to go into a big think and decided that instead of the plan b6, a5, and Ba6 he would go for 10...f6 with the idea of e5.

Alexander Grischuk

Alexander Grischuk. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

After 12.Qd2 he played 12...Rf7 delaying the break and going into a defensive formation. Grischuk put all his pieces on nice squares but probably rather over-did it with his re-routing of the knight starting with 18.Na4. 21.Bf5 was met nicely with 21...Rf7! which 22.Bc2 is probably best, Grischuk's 22.Bg4!? finally allowed Gelfand to play the e5 break and achieve full equality.

The players played a few additional moves but the draw was always the favourite result and was eventually agreed on move

Boris Gelfand at the press conference

Boris Gelfand at the press conference. Photo © Russian Chess Federation


It was an interesting game, white had a big space advantage but black had a lot of different types of break-throughs mostly it's e6-e5 of course but also sometimes sacrificing the bishop on f4 was interesting.

As it happened I probably didn't play in the most precise way. and let black achieve this e6-e5 after that my advantage was just symbolic and nothing happened from it.


I got a slightly passive position but then I manoevered all my pieces to the best possible squares in this position and after black managed to get in e5 the main problems are in the past. I have to play accurately of course, Qc8 is an accurate move but basically that's it.

Alexander Grischuk against Boris Gelfand

Alexander Grischuk against Boris Gelfand. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Grischuk,Alexander (2747) - Gelfand,Boris (2733) [D37]
WCh Candidates Kazan RUS (3.5), 24.05.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.c5 Nh5 8.Be2

And so it is white sets black new problems.

[8.Bd3 Nxf4 9.exf4 b6 10.b4 a5 11.a3 c6 12.0-0 Qc7 13.g3 Ba6 14.Bxa6 (14.Kg2 Bf6 15.Bxa6 Rxa6 16.Qc2 Rfa8 17.Rab1 axb4 18.axb4 Ra3 19.Rb3 Rxb3 20.Qxb3 Qb7 21.Rb1 h6 22.h4 h5 23.Ne5 1/2-1/2 Radjabov,T (2744)-Kramnik,V (2785)/Kazan RUS 2011/The Week in Chess 863) 14...Rxa6 15.Qd3 Rfa8 16.Rab1 axb4 17.axb4 Ra3 18.Rfc1 Bf6 19.h4 h6 20.Kg2 bxc5 21.bxc5 Qa5 22.Ne5 Nxe5 23.fxe5 Bd8 24.Rb2 Bc7 25.Qc2 Rb8 26.Rxb8+ Bxb8 27.Qb2 Bc7 28.Rc2 Qa6 29.Rc1 Qa5 30.Rc2 Qa6 31.Rc1 1/ 2-1/2 Henrichs,T (2469)-Doettling,F (2585)/Baden Baden GER 2011/The Week in Chess 863]

8...c6 9.0-0 Nxf4 10.exf4 f6

Boris Gelfand


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 10...f6

Going in a completely different direction to the Kramnik game, Gelfand goes for a break in the centre rather than b6, a5 and Ba6.

11.b4 Qc7 12.Qd2 Rf7

Is this Gelfand changing direction? It isn't immediately clear why e5 is bad but that doesn't mean it isn't.

13.Rae1 Nf8 14.Bd3 Bd7

White Time: 1h:03min Black Time: 0h:46min

15.g3 Re8 16.Re3 Bd8 17.Rfe1 Qb8

Black is solid but passively placed.


Boris Gelfand


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 18.Na4

Perhaps a small surprise. Perhaps white thinks black will sit passively forever and he plans Nd2-d3 after moving the light squared bishop. But it seems that more direct moves are better.

[18.h4; 18.Qc2]

18...Bc7 19.Nb2 Rfe7 20.Qc3 Rd8 21.Bf5 Rf7! 22.Bg4?!

Boris Gelfand


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 22.Bg4

This allows black to equalise immediately.


22...e5 23.Bxd7 exf4 24.Be8 fxe3 25.Qxe3 Ng6 26.Bxf7+ Kxf7 27.Qe6+ Kf8 28.Qh3 Qc8 29.Qxc8 Rxc8 30.Kf1 Re8

[30...a5 may have been more accurate.]


White wants to keep the rooks on for the moment and sets up his only break.

31...Ke7 32.Nd3 a6 33.a4 Kd7 34.b5 axb5 35.axb5 cxb5

Black doesn't want to allow b6.

36.Rxb5 Rb8 37.Nb4 Ne7 38.Ne1 Nc6 39.Nxc6 1/2-1/2

Boris Gelfand


Alexander Grischuk

Final position after 39.Nxc6

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
Grischuk, Alexander - Gelfand, Boris ½-½ 14 D37 QGD 5.Bf4
Gelfand, Boris - Grischuk, Alexander ½-½ 18 A37 English Symmetrical
Grischuk, Alexander - Gelfand, Boris ½-½ 39 D37 QGD 5.Bf4
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 ½ ½ ½ . 2733
Gelfand, Boris g ISR 2733 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ . 2747

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