Candidates: Kamsky eliminates Topalov, Gelfand also through

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Candidates: Kamsky eliminates Topalov, Gelfand also throughBoris Gelfand and Gata Kamsky have reached the semi-finals of the FIDE Candidates matches in Kazan, Russia. Gelfand drew with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov today to win his mini-match 2.5-1.5. Kamsky survived a lost position against Veselin Topalov to win his match with the same score. Two draws in the other matches mean that on Monday there will be two tie-breaks: Aronian vs Grischuk and Kramnik vs Radjabov. Tie-break rules added.

General info

The Candidates matches take place May 3-27 in Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia. Levon Aronian (Armenia), Boris Gelfand (Israel), Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Gata Kamsky (USA), Vladimir Kramnik (Russia), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan), Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan) and Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) play a knockout with matches of four games in both the quarter and semi finals, and six games in the final. The winner qualifies for a World Title match against Vishy Anand next year. More info here.

Candidates matches, day 4

FIDE Candidates matches, day 4

Day 4

"There can be only one" is the famous line from Highlander. It's clear that this is very much the case in Kazan, in every mini-match, and right until the end. As Veselin Topalov's manager and ECU President Silvio Danailov put it:
"Some people here do not realize that the most important thing is the winner. The rest are losers. Even if you have reached the final and lose there, you're just a loser. There will be one winner and seven losers."
On Sunday, his protégé Topalov was added to the list of losers, despite reaching a winning position with the white pieces. An interesting concept in another Grünfeld led to a nice advantage for the Bulgarian, but in his opponent's time trouble Topalov missed a clear win, and later another one which was slightly more difficult.

After the first time control, which Kamsky had just made, with six seconds left on the clock, the American kept on staring at his score sheet, wondering where it had gone wrong.

Kamsky: 'Where did I go wrong?'

Kamsky: 'Where did I go wrong?'



His last ten moves had to be played quickly, and it seemed he was just hanging on. Still, after the smoke had cleared, he was looking at a lost position anyway.

Topalov had to fight two battles: the one at the board, and a psychological one, and the latter decided everything. Twice, the world's number seven had to make the tough decision to repeat moves and return to a previous position, admitting an inaccuracy and then choosing a better move. Twice, Topalov decided not to do this - at move 41 and move 45.

The second time, it seems that Topalov just miscalculated. When Kamsky gave a check on d1 with his queen at move 44, his opponent was away from the board. When he came back, Topalov sat down, pushed his chair a bit closer to the table, straightened the sleeves of his jacket and then, without further ado, played 45.Bf1?, throwing away the win and losing his Candidates match.

Topalov plays 45.Bf1

Topalov plays 45.Bf1



Kamsky, who at the press conference admitted that his opening failed miserably, kept his cool throughout the game. As so often, the American, born in a Tatar family, showed his best chess while defending a tough position. Eventually, a pretty 'dance of the knights' saved him the half point.

Gata Kamsky eliminates Veselin Topalov

Gata Kamsky eliminates Veselin Topalov



Thus, Veselin Topalov is out of the World Championship cycle for the first time since he won the FIDE World Championship in San Luis, Argentina in 2005. The lost reunification match against Vladimir Kramnik in 2006 gave him the right to play against the winner of the 2007 World Cup, and that was... Gata Kamsky. Topalov won that match in February 2009, but lost the World Title match against Vishy Anand last year, which gave him the right to play in the 2011 Candidates matches.

Veselin Topalov is out

Veselin Topalov is out



Chess in Translation adds:

In the press conference after the game Kamsky mentioned that he was simply lost after Bd4. Topalov was distraught and said that anyone who fails to win such positions with time on the clock doesn't deserve to challenge for the World Championship. He also revealed that in game 2, which he lost, he'd forgotten his morning analysis with his seconds on move 2!


Gata Kamsky will play his semi-final in Kazan against Boris Gelfand - a mini-match that will be a copy of their Candidates match in 2007 in Elista, won by Gelfand. On Sunday the Israeli easily defended his 2-1 lead with the white pieces against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who played a Schmid Benoni in an attempt to get Gelfand out of his comfort zone. He didn't manage, and a pawn down for not much at move 24, Mamedarov called it a day.

Boris Gelfand was the first player to reach the next round

Boris Gelfand was the first player to reach the next round



In an interview with Extra Time, his second Elizbar Ubilava took part of the blame. Ubilava also predicted that Mamedyarov will continue to improve, and will make use of the many hours spent on preparation. And indeed, we can expect the Azeri GM to play 1.e4 more often as well!

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov is out

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov is out



In the other two matches all four classical games ended in draws. Our prediction about the last encounter between Grischuk and Aronian came true: it was a very short draw. Both players seemed quite tired at the press conference and we get the impression that Aronian is not top fit, as he's been coughing a lot during the games. Apparently both preferred a semi-rest day over taking unnecessary risks.

Aronian and Grischuk at the press conference

Aronian and Grischuk at the press conference



The fourth game between Kramnik and Radjabov wasn't too exciting either. In a Queen's Gambit Declined Kramnik played the solid 5.Bf4, didn't get more than a tiny advantage and the point was split at move 28.

Kramnik and Radjabov shake hands

Kramnik and Radjabov shake hands



Today the tie-breaks start at 15:00 local time (13:00 CET). From the regulations:

3. 7 Tie-breaks 3.7.1.a If the scores are level after the regular games, after a new drawing of colors, four (4) tie-break games shall be played. The games shall be played using the electronic clock starting with 25 minutes for each player with an increment of 10 seconds after each move. 3.7.1.b All tie-break games shall be played according to the following: 1. Play is governed by the World Championship Technical Regulations (annex 1), which apply with the exceptions mentioned below in (2), (3) and (4). 2. The players do not need to record the moves. An arbiter shall record the moves. 3. The player who has the move may stop the clocks and consult the Arbiter’s score sheet and if his next move will produce a threefold repetition of position (according to Article 9.2a of the Technical Regulations), or the 50 moves rule (according to Article 9.3a of the Technical Regulations), he himself must write the intended move on the score sheet and claim the draw if he wants. A player can also claim a draw according to Articles 9.2b and 9.3b of the Technical Regulations. If the claim is found to be correct, the game is immediately ended as a draw. If the claim is found to be incorrect, the Arbiter shall add three (3) minutes to the opponent’s remaining time and the game continues with the intended move in accordance with Article 4 of the Technical Regulations. A maximum of two (2) incorrect claims for a draw can be made by each player. If a player makes a third (3rd ) incorrect claim, the arbiter shall declare the game lost for this player. 4. If a game has ended by resignation, checkmate, time loss, stalemate, triple repetition or any other of the ways described in Article 5 of the Technical Regulations, no claim for irregularities shall be accepted (irregularities include clock settings and all other described in Article 7 of the Technical Regulations). 3.7.2 If the scores are level after the games in Article 3.7.1a, then, after a new drawing of colors, a match of 2 games shall be played with a time control of 5 minutes plus 3 seconds increment after each move. In case of a level score, another 2-game match will be played to determine a winner. If still there is no winner after 5 such matches (total 10 games), one sudden-death game will be played as described below in Article 3.7.3. 3.7.3 If the score is still level after five matches as described in Article 3.7.2, the players shall play a one sudden death game. The player who wins the drawing of lots may choose the color. The player with the white pieces shall receive 5 minutes, the player with the black pieces shall receive 4 minutes whereupon, after the 60th move, both players shall receive an increment of 3 seconds from move 61. In case of a draw the player with the black pieces is declared the winner. 3.7.4 There shall be a pause of 10 minutes between all tie-break games, unless the Chief Arbiter decides otherwise.


Games round 1.4



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Images FIDE | Russian Chess Federation



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