Candidates: two more draws

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Candidates: two more drawsAlso on the second day of the FIDE Candidates semi-finals in Kazan, Russia both games ended in a draw. Vladimir Kramnik won a pawn against Alexander Grischuk in a Symmetrical English, but with a good knight vs a bad bishop and an active rook Grischuk had enough compensation. Against Gata Kamsky, Boris Gelfand had a 'big advantage' in a 4.Bg5 Grünfeld but then 'misplayed it', as he said himself.

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 by Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Boris Gelfand (Israel), Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) and Gata Kamsky (USA) respectively. The semi-final matches consist of four games; there are six games in the final. The winner qualifies for a World Title match against Vishy Anand next year. More info here; tie-break rules here.

Semi-finals, day 2

Although the point was split in both games again, this second day of the semis was a better one than the first. The chess fans could enjoy two long, fighting games and learn something about endings along the way. Probably the only one who is not satisfied after today is Boris Gelfand. The Israeli outprepared Gata Kamsky in a 4.Bg5 Grünfeld, got a big advantage (a precious thing, we know after yesterday!) but then spoilt it in his opponent's upcoming timetrouble.

Boris Gelfand

Boris Gelfand spoilt a nice advantage



After the game, Gelfand himself said: "I had a big advantage out of the opening, but then I mishandled it." He then explained that in the ending he should have played his knight to c5 where he went to e4. However, even after the Nc3-d5 manoeuvre White is still dominating the position - after 29.e4?! Black is OK, said Kamsky.

Gata Kamsky

Gata Kamsky saved his first black game



Vladimir Kramnik and Alexander Grischuk got a rare and very interesting line of the Symmetrical English on the board. White got some advantage, and in fact Kramnik was pressing the whole game. "With a pawn up it was better for White, but difficult to win," the Russian said. "Then I misplayed it before the time control and afterwards it was probably a draw, but Black has to be accurate. Alex found the most forcing way, the nicest."

Vladimir Kramnik

Vladimir Kramnik, pressing for many hours



We give this moment in the diagram below, with the (calculation training) question 'Can Black, to move, take on a4?'

diagram

Grischuk said: "Yes, I got a difficult and boring position. I was pretty happy when I managed to give up my pawn and build some defence. After my rook became active I felt my position was close to a draw and this is how the game finished."

Alexander Grischuk

More superb defence by Alexander Grischuk



On a final note, apparently some people inside FIDE have taken note of the criticism about the press conferences only being done in Russian. Today, on the seventh day of the tournament, host Boris Kutin asked the players to say 'two sentences in English for the FIDE website'. Gelfand duly repeated what he had just said in Russian, as to which Kamsky had to laugh. After Gelfand's short description of the game, Kamsky said: "I agree."

At the press conference, Gelfand repeats his lines and Kamsky laughs

At the press conference, Gelfand repeats his lines and Kamsky laughs



We tend to agree with Kamsky that it makes a bit of a silly impression to ask a top player to answer a question twice. We know it sounds ridiculous, but what about a translator, FIDE?

Games semi-finals, day 2



Game viewer by ChessTempo


Images FIDE | Russian Chess Federation



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