Candidates: game 3 also drawn, after 14 moves

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Candidates: game three also drawn, after 14 movesThe third game of the Candidates final in Kazan, Russia ended in a draw very quickly. Boris Gelfand, playing Black, came up with a stunning novelty at move 9 and got his opponent thinking for about 45 minutes. Already at move 14 Alexander Grischuk decided that the position is equal and offered a draw.

General info

The Candidates matches take place May 3-27 in Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia. Levon Aronian (Armenia), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan), Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan) and Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) were knocked out in the quarter-finals. In the semis, Alexander Grischuk (Russia) won against Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) and Boris Gelfand beat Gata Kamsky (USA). The quarter-finals and semi-finals consisted of four classical games and tie-breaks; there are six classical games in the final. The winner qualifies for a World Title match against Vishy Anand next year. More info here; tie-break rules here.

Final, game 3

Oops, he did it again. 'Cause to lose all his senses That is is just so typically Grischuk He played with his heart, got lost in the game

For some reason, perhaps inspired by the discussion that's yet again taking place in the comments, we suddenly had Britney's song in our mind, and couldn't get rid of it. Anyway, on to the third game!

It was a very brief affair, yet again, in a game with Alexander Grischuk behind the white pieces. Is it a coincidence? Probably not. Can we blame him? Probably not.

All credits should go to Boris Gelfand and his team, who found a brilliant concept in one of the sidelines of the Queen's Gambit Declined. After the moves 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 Grischuk stepped away from the popular 5. Bf4 and went 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 7. Qb3 dxc4 8. Qxc4 O-O 9. g3 instead. Then and there, the Russian was treated the following blow:

Gelfand plays 9...b5

Gelfand plays 9...b5

9... b5!!N

Diagram 1

A fantastic pawn sacrifice that, after superficial analysis, seems to give Black satisfactory play in all lines. Grischuk's play was logical: take the pawn (following a rule from a former youth coach at the editor-in-chief's chess club: 'the first pawn can always be taken') and then play it safe.

This strategy, and some more strong moves by Gelfand, resulted in a position that was just fine for Black after 14 moves.

Diagram 2

Position after 14.dxc5

Grischuk offered a draw here as he has no advantage whatsoever. Black's pressure on the queenside is comparable to lines in the Volga/Benkö Gambit, as can be see in the game viewer below. After a tiny bit of thinking, Gelfand accepted.

The players shake hands

Grischuk was away from the board, Gelfand stood up and then the players shook hands

At the press conference, Grischuk said:

Yes, he played a very interesting novelty with 9...b5 and I had to be very careful after that. I think I found a reasonable continuation and even got some chances for initiative but with the precise 11...c5 Black solved all his problems and in the end he has completely sufficient compensation for the pawn. It's not enough to play for a win, so I think the final position is in fact completely equal.

Gelfand didn't have much to add:

OK, very difficult to add something. 9...b5 is the key moment, it's a novelty and a beautiful move. Alexander described what happened before and after completely.

Russian GM and online chess commentaror Sergey Shipov pointed out that he admires the 'breadth and depth of the players’ opening preparation'.

Just think about what happened: Grischuk chose a very rare line in a rare opening – i.e. one of hundreds of possibilities of playing the Queen’s Gambit – but it was precisely there that a powerful novelty by Gelfand was waiting for him. As one was in the other 99 lines. Just imagine the amount of work that’s been done. And here are its fruits – in an important game in a final Boris made a draw with Black from a position of strength. That’s an excellent result.

The score is still equal: 1.5-1.5. On Sunday the players enjoy a rest day and then games 4,5 and 6 are scheduled for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. If necessary, the tie-break will be played on Thursday.

Grischuk-Gelfand Candidates final, g3 (Kazan) 2011

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Images FIDE | Russian Chess Federation


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