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World Chess Championship Candidates 2011 (Final Gm3)

Grischuk's opening preparation as white fails again in Round 3 draw

A relieved looking Grischuk chats with Gelfand after the game.

A relieved looking Grischuk chats with Gelfand after the game. |

Alexander Grischuk's lack of punching power at the very highest level with the white pieces was again exposed in game three of the World Chess Championship Candidates Match against Boris Gelfand. Grischuk took the game down a side-route with 9.g3 for which he had presumably prepared something. Gelfand shot back with the unpleasant novelty 9...b5!! which completely surprised his opponent. Grischuk at least managed to avoid being substantially worse and after 14 moves he offered a draw which was accepted by Gelfand. Next game Monday. Rest day Sunday in this 6 game match.

Boris Gelfand

Boris Gelfand. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Game four of the World Chess Championship Final match in Kazan to decide who challenges Viswanathan Anand for his title was a damp squib after being agreed drawn in just 14 moves. Alexander Grischuk has struggled throughout the Candidates to gain a substantial advantages with white, indeed this also seemed to me a big part of his problems earlier this year in Wijk aan Zee where he had one of his worst ever results. Today he came armed with the unusual 9.g3 which had been only played once in the drawn game Wolfgang Uhlmann against Johannes Hjartarson in Leningrad 1984. Gelfand's 9...b5 clearly came as a huge surprise to him, and will no doubt have some as somewhat of an embarrassment to his seconds, this move should at least have been considered in any preparations for the game.

Alexander Grischuk

Alexander Grischuk's hand hovered in the air for some time in indecision. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Once it appeared on the board the dangers of this move became immediately apparent. White couldn't really avoid taking the pawn and then black's development was completed really quite fast. Grischuk spent about 45 minutes considering his options before taking the pawn. A few moves later Gelfand started taking his time suggesting to me that he had looked at the move some time ago, decided it was dangerous, but probably hadn't looked at it much or at all in direct preparation for this game.

Alexander Grischuk

Alexander Grischuk against Boris Gelfand Game 3. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Grischuk managed to avoid the most immediate dangers, he didn't and couldn't really make any attempts to refute it over the board. After getting a position he was reasonably happy with Grischuk offered a draw on move 14 after dxc4, black certainly has a lot of compensation for his sacrificed material, but perhaps just enough for equality and after a few minutes thought Gelfand decided that an easy draw with black was enough of an achievement and agreed a draw.

Grischuk,Alexander (2747) - Gelfand,Boris (2733) [D37]
WCh Candidates Kazan RUS (3.3), 21.05.2011

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6 Bxf6 7.Qb3 dxc4 8.Qxc4 0-0 9.g3

White was presumably hoping to surprise Gelfand with this move that has only been played once at a high level.


Boris Gelfand


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 9...b5!

A beautiful new move and played pretty quickly by Gelfand. It isn't clear whether this was prepared for this game or some preparation that he made some while ago which Grischuk walked into. The fact that Gelfand also started to take some time suggests the latter to me. Should Grischuk's seconds have seen this move? I don't think they should be all that pleased to have missed it altogether as seems the case.

[9...Nd7 1/2-1/2 in 84 moves Uhlmann,W (2505)-Hjartarson,J (2415) Leningrad 1984.]


Played after about 45 minutes thought, the only real option here.

[10.Qd3 Declining it doesn't really seem to make white's task any easier.]

10...Nd7 11.Bg2 c5

[11...Rb8 was an alternative.]

12.0-0 Rb8 13.Qa4 a5



and a draw was agreed. White is going to be a pawn up (the pawn on c5 will fall obviously) but black is ahead on the clock and clearly has at least sufficient compensation for the pawn. Grischuk was probably just glad to get out of the game with a draw once such a major novelty appeared.


Boris Gelfand


Alexander Grischuk

Final Position after 14.dxc5

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
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 . . . 2733
Gelfand, Boris g ISR 2733 ½ ½ ½ . . . 2747

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