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World Chess Championship Candidates 2011 (Day 2)

Kamsky demolishes Topalov on day two of the Candidates

Gata Kamsky impresses on day 2 in beating Topalov.

Gata Kamsky impresses on day 2 in beating Topalov. |

Gata Kamsky defeated Veselin Topalov in the first decisive game of the Candidates in Kazan, Russia. Topalov varied from a previous Kamsky game with a very risky queenside castling idea, things went bad pretty quickly and Kamsky pressed home his advantage impressively. Grischuk-Aronian, Gelfand-Mamedyarov and finally Kramnik-Radjabov were all drawn without too many adventures.

Gata Kamsky has been talking up his chances even though he lost 4.5-2.5 to Veselin Topalov in Sofia only 2 years ago. Kamsky felt that the match was closer than the score suggested and that he had learnt some important lessons. He felt he was rusty going into that match, something he put right by playing the US Championships just days before the start of this series of matches.

Veselin Topalov resigns against Gata Kamsky

Veselin Topalov resigns against Gata Kamsky. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Whilst no-one was writing off Veselin Topalov prior to this event it is certainly true that he has taken it easy since losing to Anand last year and has dropped to 7 in the world. It maybe isn't so easy to get back into peak form. Topalov's style is so risky he almost has to be better than his opponents even to hold the balance.

Today Topalov came to the board with the novelty 9.0-0-0, an extremely risky idea in conjunction with the placement of a queen on a3, but one which must have been very intimidating to meet over the board. However by move 17 it was clear that Topalov was in serious difficulties.

One of the great dangers in commentating is annotating by result. However it is clear that one or all of 13.h5 (13.Ng5) 15.Rd2 and 16.Ne4 seem to give ground. Likewise Kamsky's 15...f6, 16...b6 and 17...Qc8 all leave a good impression. It is striking that Topalov never felt he had the single tempo to play the exposed king on c1 to relative safety on b1. The queen on a3 never moved, a damning indictment of the novelty.

Topalov had to sacrifice the exchange just to stave off immediate threats but Kamsky cut to the heart of the position by attacking Topalov's exposed king for a win in 31 moves.

Grischuk and Aronian

Alexander Grischuk and Levon Aronian. Photo © Russian Chess Federation

Alexander Grischuk's offbeat 6.Qc2 sent his Queen's Gambit Declined into unusual territory, Levon Aronian went for activity and an isolated pawn with 6...c5 and, it seems, almost full equality. He spent half an hour over 13...Re8 which might have been a sign of trouble but instead seemed to have been a very accurate appraisal of the situation as it led to a speedy liquidation and a draw.

Boris Gelfand and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Boris Gelfand and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Photo © Russian Chess Federation

The battle of styles between the experienced Boris Gelfand and the youthful aggression of Shakhriyar Mamedyarov has led to some interesting play so far. Game two saw Mamedyarov more or less equalise as black before perhaps becoming a bit too optimistic with a kingside push. Gelfand won a pawn but Mamedyarov quickly refocused and turned his thoughts to securing half a point. The Azeri nd found a nice way of trading off most of the pieces to a draw.


Kramnik-Radjabov Photo © Russian Chess Federation

The final game to finish was between Vladimir Kramnik and Teimour Radjabov. Instead of his customary King's Indian Defence, Radjabov played into Kramnik's famous Catalan and even allowed an exchange of queens. Kramnik was happy with an almost infinitesimal advantage but it was hard to believe that he entertained any real hopes of winning the 3 vs 3 ending that arose on move 40, but press he did and Radjabov had to show some care in getting his draw.

The Games

Topalov,Veselin (2775)

Kamsky,Gata (2732)

WCh Candidates Kazan RUS (1.2), 06.05.2011 [A15]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Qb3 Nb6 6.d4 Bg7 7.Bf4 Be6 8.Qa3 Nc6 9.0-0-0

A very risky novelty.

Gata Kamsky


Veselin Topalov

Position after 9.0-0-0

[9.e3 1/2-1/2 Ivanchuk,V (2703) -Kamsky,G (2717)/Jermuk ARM 2009/The Week in Chess 771 (114)]

9...Nd5 10.Bg3 Bh6+ 11.e3

[11.Kb1 Bf5+ 12.e4 Nxc3+ 13.Qxc3]

11...a5 12.h4 Ncb4 13.h5


13...c6 14.hxg6 hxg6 15.Rd2?! f6! 16.Ne4?! b6!

Restricting the knight.

17.Be2 Qc8!

Gata Kamsky


Veselin Topalov

Position after 17...Qc8!

18.Rh4 Kf7 19.Rd1

and it is clear that things are very badly wrong for Topalov.

19...g5 20.Rh2 g4 21.Nfd2 c5 22.dxc5 f5 23.Rxh6 Rxh6 24.Ng5+ Kf8 25.Nxe6+ Qxe6 26.Bc4 Rc8 27.Bf4 Rf6 28.e4 Rxc5 29.exd5 Qxd5 30.b3 Qd4 31.Be3 Qc3+ 0-1

Gata Kamsky


Veselin Topalov

Final Position after 31...Qc3+

Grischuk,Alexander (2747)

Aronian,Levon (2808)
WCh Candidates Kazan RUS (1.2), 06.05.2011 [D37]

Levon Aronian


Alexander Grischuk

Position after 13...Re8

Played after 30 minutes thought and now follows liquidation.

14.Nxe7+ Qxe7 15.0-0 g5 16.Bg3 Ne4 17.Qb1

[17.Nxd5 Bxd5 18.Rxd5 Nxg3 19.hxg3 Nb4 wins; 17.Nxe4 Nd4 is equal]

17...Nxg3 18.hxg3 Red8 19.Nb5 d4 20.Nxd4 Nxd4 21.exd4 Qf6 22.Bf3 1/2-1/2

Gelfand,Boris (2733)

Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar (2772)

WCh Candidates Kazan RUS (1.2), 06.05.2011 [D46]

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov


Boris Gelfand

Position after 33.Rc3

33...f4 34.exf4 Qxd4+ 35.Ne3 Qxc3 36.Qxc3 Rxc3 37.Bxc3 gxf4 38.Nc4 Nd5 39.Bd4 Nb4 40.a3 Nc6 1/2-1/2

Kramnik,Vladimir (2785)

Radjabov,Teimour (2744)

WCh Candidates Kazan RUS (1.2), 06.05.2011[E06]

Teimour Radjabov


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 45.e3

45...Rc7 46.Ke4 Rd7 47.Nh6 Bf8 48.Rc8 Rb7 49.Kf3 Ra7 50.e4 Ra3+ 51.Kg4 Ra7 52.Kh4 Bb4 53.Kg4 Bf8 54.Rb8 Rd7 55.Kf3 Ra7 56.e5 Ra3+ 57.Kg2 Ra2+ 58.Kg3 Ra3+ 59.Kg4 Ra7 60.Rc8 Rb7 61.Ra8 Rc7 1/2-1/2

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