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World Chess Championship Candidates 2011 (Semi-Final Gm3)

Kamsky and Gelfand miss chances in Game 3 of the Candidates

Gelfand had to fight very hard after a surprise from Kamsky. Eventually he induced errors which should have led to a win.

Gelfand had to fight very hard after a surprise from Kamsky. Eventually he induced errors which should have led to a win. |

Both Gata Kamsky and Boris Gelfand missed chances to win in a full-blooded game in a side-line of the Sicilian Najdorf that eventually finished in a drawn in a rook and pawn endgame. Alexander Grischuk again made no headway with white against Vladimir Kramnik, This time Kramnik had the opportunity to play unused preparation in the Petroff Defence sidestepped by Anand in their World Championship match of 2008.

Vladimir Kramnik

Vladimir Kramnik. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Alexander Grischuk again seemed to achieve nothing with white against fine preparation by Vladimir Kramnik. As Yermolinsky pointed out on ICC, one should not necessarily believe claims that everything was prepared beforehand, players do try and create an image for themselves which they use to their advantage. Just because a player plays fast as Kramnik did again today also doesn't mean he has everything prepared. However it does in this case look like Kramnik was prepared as he outlined how this line was part of his work for his World Title Match against Anand (at the time this was wasted, as Anand played 1.d4) and indeed this seemed to lead to complete equality after 22 moves.

Alexander Grischuk

Alexander Grischuk. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Grischuk,Alexander (2747) - Kramnik,Vladimir (2785) [C42]
WCh Candidates Kazan RUS (2.3), 14.05.2011

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.0-0 Be7 8.Nc3 Nxc3 9.bxc3 Bg4 10.Re1 0-0 11.Bf4 Bd6 12.Bxd6 Bxf3 13.Qxf3 Qxd6 14.Re3 Rae8 15.Rae1 Re7

Vladimir Kramnik


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 15...Re7

A new defensive idea that Kramnik prepared for his match against Anand and which he had studied in detail.

[15...Rxe3 16.Rxe3 g6 17.h4 Nb8 18.h5 Nd7 19.g4 Nf6 20.h6 Kh8 21.Re5 c6 22.c4 Ng8 23.Qe3 dxc4 24.Bxc4 g5 25.Rxg5 Nxh6 26.Qe4 f6 27.Rh5 f5 28.gxf5 Nxf5 29.Be6 Qxd4 30.Rxh7+ 1-0 Leko,P (2751)-Kasimdzhanov,R (2695)/Nalchik RUS 2009/The Week in Chess 756]

16.Rxe7 Nxe7

The start of Kramnik's regrouping plan.

17.h4 Rd8 18.c4 b6

Kramnik believed this was an important defensive idea.

19.c3 h6 20.cxd5 Nxd5 21.Bc4 c6 22.Re5 Nf6

Vladimir Kramnik


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 22...Nf6

According to Kramnik and Grischuk there are no prospects in this position.


[23.g4 was a Yasser Seirawan suggestion.]

23...Qd7 24.g3 Kf8 25.Bb3

White Time: 0h:22min Black Time: 1h:21min


Gata Kamsky

Gata Kamsky. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Gata Kamsky's 8.h3 in the Sicilian Najdorf was an excellent choice against Boris Gelfand, even though the latter is a Sicilian expert. Although not a novelty it might as well have been as Gelfand had to spend half an hour working out what the idea was. The idea contained quite a bit of poison and at the expense of a pawn sacrifice Kamsky generate a lot of threats.

Both players became short of time and both missed single move opportunities to win. Kamsky missed 28.Bxc5 (it was too late when he played it) which opens up the b6 square for the white queen at the moment when black was not well co-ordinated, this would have led to a very favourable position. After missing this Kamsky gradually drifted and Gelfand's position became much easier to play than his. Kamsky played a piece sacrifice which probably seemed forced to him, it loses, but Gelfand had to find 38...Qh5 with resignation to follow after time control, instead he played 38...Qf5 which allowed Kamsky to recover his piece.

Eventually the rook and pawn ending was drawn. A very difficult and interesting game.

Boris Gelfand

Boris Gelfand. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Kamsky,Gata (2732) - Gelfand,Boris (2733) [B90]
WCh Candidates Kazan RUS (2.3), 14.05.2011

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.h3

A surprise that cost Gelfand a lot of time on the clock.

8...Be6 9.Qf3 Nbd7 10.g4 h6

Maybe not necessary.

11.0-0-0 Rc8

[11...Qc7 1-0 Navin,K (2383) -Surendran,N (2063)/Kochi IND 2011/The Week in Chess 851 (46)]

12.Nd5 Bxd5 13.exd5 Nb6 14.h4

Sacrificing the d-pawn to open lines.

14...Qc7 15.c3 Nbxd5 16.Bd2 Nb6 17.g5 Nfd7 18.gxh6 gxh6 19.Kb1 Qc6 20.Qh3 d5 21.Be2 Nc4 22.Bc1 Nf6 23.Rhe1 Qe6 24.Qh2 Qf5+ 25.Ka1 Kf8 26.f3 Bd6 27.Qg1 Bb8 28.Bd3 Qh5?

[28...Qd7 when although white has continued attacking ideas he doesn't have anything definite.]

Boris Gelfand


Gata Kamsky

Position after 28...Qh5


Missing a clear win. 29.Bxc4 dxc4 30.Na5 etc. White's queen penetrates into b6 in many lines with a number of threats.

29...Ba7 30.Qh3 Re8 31.Bxc4 dxc4 32.Na5

This idea is now too late.


32...e4 33.Nxc4 Qxf3 34.Qh2 Ng4 35.Qc7?!

is much simpler to play.

[35.Qd6+ Kg7 36.Qd5]

35...Bf2 36.Rf1

Finally white is in serious trouble.

[36.Rg1 Bxg1 37.Rxg1 e3 38.Qd6+ Kg8 39.Nxe3 h5 40.Qc5]

36...e3 37.Bxe3

This just doesn't work.

[37.Qd6+ Kg8 38.Qd7 Re6 39.Qd8+ Kh7 40.Qd3+]

37...Nxe3 38.Ne5

Boris Gelfand


Gata Kamsky

Position after 38.Ne5


38...Qh5! wins as it avoids the pin that allows white to regain his piece.

39.Qc5+ Kg7 40.Qxe3 Rxe5 41.Qxf2

This wasn't the only move in this position, and perhaps Kamsky should have taken a few minutes away from the board after making time control so he might have considered: 41.Qd2 Qf6 42.Rxf2 Qxh4 43.Rdf1 Qe7 44.b3 Rf8 although he does eventually hold without too many traumas.

41...Qxf2 42.Rxf2 Rhe8 43.Rg1+

White Time: 0h:37min Black Time: 0h:56min

43...Kf8 44.Kb1 Re2 45.Rf4 R8e4 46.Rgf1 Re1+ 47.Kc2

Kamsky spent a long time getting to here. It seems white only has to be accurate.

47...R4e2+ 48.Kb3 Rxf1 49.Rxf1 Kg7 50.Rf4 Re6 51.a4 Kg6 52.Kc4 f5 53.a5 Kf6 54.Kd3 Re7 1/2-1/2

Press Conferences

Vladimir Kramnik

Alexander Grischuk and Vladimir Kramnik at their press conference hosted by Boris Kutin. "It was a boring game, Vladimir was very well prepared, equalised, the position is with huge drawish tendencies it was extremely hard to win or to lose with both colours." - Grischuk. Photo © Russian Chess Federation


It was a boring game, Vladimir was very well prepared, equalised, the position is with huge drawish tendencies it was extremely hard to win or to lose with both colours.


I spent quite some time analysing this variation before my World Championship Match with Anand. I was preparing it, so today, more or less, I used that preparation.

I think we made a quite a good job because the variation is not as simple as it looks, it looks very drawish but in fact white has certain chances and in fact white is winning some games in this line. So we spent some time, I remember together with Peter Leko, who is good at defending these positions with black and in fact he was trying to give me a hard time with white and sometimes he was managing, so it took us some time before we, as I think we found, a very clean way to equalise.

Of course it is very important that black is in time to regroup his pieces with Ne7, and then h6 and Kf8. But it seems he is just in time, after c4, there is the, very important move b6. and then once I manage to get my knight to f6 it is already just over, the position is simply drawish. Both sides have no really active plan and no chances to win, then the draw was already obvious.

Gelfand and Kamsky were tired and weren't much in the mood for comments in either language.


Was interesting game, white had some attacking chances, by that time white was in time trouble black was about winning then the rook ending was slightly better for black, then a draw.


I agree, nothing to say, Gata gave a full commentary.

World Chess Championship Semi-Finals 2011 2011 Kazan RUS Thu 12th May 2011 - Mon 16th May 2011
Name FEDRtg1234RapidBlitzS/DPts
Alexander Grischuk RUS2747 ½ ½ ½
Vladimir Kramnik RUS2785 ½ ½ ½
Name FEDRtg1234RapidBlitzS/DPts
Boris Gelfand ISR2733 ½ ½ ½
Gata Kamsky USA2732 ½ ½ ½

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