Kramnik & Tomashevsky Reach World Cup Semi-Finals

Kramnik & Tomashevsky Reach World Cup Semi-Finals

| 24 | Chess Event Coverage

Vladimir Kramnik and Evgeny Tomashevsky are the first two players who have qualified for the Tromsø World Cup's semi-finals. Once again 26-year-old Tomashevsky of Saratov, Russia eliminated a higher rated player: American grandmaster Gata Kamsky, who overpressed and lost a position he should never have lost. Kramnik survived a lost ending against Anton Korobov of Ukraine, and qualified thanks to his win yesterday.The games Caruana vs. Vachier-Lagrave and Svidler-Andreikin ended in draws, and so these four players will have to get back to the chess board on Sunday.

"Tomashevsky is often called "Professor" for his behavior & looks. But he has recently actually earned a PhD in Economics #chessworldcup"

wrote Natalija Pogonina on Twitter today. After this nice result at Saratov University, Tomashevsky saw the Tromsø World Cup as "a little holiday". Today he said:

"I'm just playing for fun and it probably helps; I'm playing my best chess ever."

And indeed, after taking some rest with a quick draw on Friday, Tomashevsky was fully back for his second game with Gata Kamsky. A new idea in the Anti-Marshall involved a double (!) pawn sacrifice, and afterward he explained it as follows:

"I think Black was no worse. My feeling is the compensation should be enough for a draw. I analysed a similar type of position and it's much easier to play with black."


Still, with two extra pawns nobody expected Kamsky to actually lose this game. The American grandmaster took too much risk and suddenly Black's passed h-pawn became a deadly warrior. (White should have accepted a draw with something like 35.Qd4 Rd6 36.Rd3 Qd8.)

"I am shocked,"

was the first that Tomashevsky said after the game. It was a "stunning turnaround" in the words of commentator Nigel Short, and Gata Kamsky's body language showed a similar disbelief. "I have not seen Kamsky this angry with himself in a long time," wrote Susan Polgar on Twitter.

Images from the live broadcast courtesy of the World Cup

Although he was the second player to qualify for the semi-finals, for the second day in a row Vladimir Kramnik complained about his chess.

"It was quite bad. I played quite well after the time control, but what I did after the opening... I tend to become too relaxed, I wasn't concentrating enough. I hope I will show better chess."

He then added, with a smile:

"But often it happens that when you show better chess you lose, so..."

Kramnik revealed something that Korobov had said to him during their long post-mortem: that if he had played 18...g5 19.Bg3 Qc6, Korobov would probably have offered a draw as Black is simply clearly better! However, the immediate 18...Qc6 allowed 19.Ng3! and 20.h4! and White reached a slightly better ending. And then 31...a6 was another mistake. Kramnik:

"You have to disqualify me from the tournament for such a move!"

Just before the time control Black must have been lost, but with very accurate play after move 40 (and some inaccuracies by his opponent) the 14th World Champion saved the draw.


Fabiano Caruana vs. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was quite similar to the first game between these players, with White pressing from the start, but not getting more than a nice advantage. In what was some kind of a hybrid between the Slav and the Queen's Gambit Declined, Caruana won the bishop pair and also had the better pawn structure, but Vachier-Lagrave always had enough counterplay.


The shortest game of the round was the one between Peter Svidler and Dmitry Andreikin. This Advance Caro-Kann with 3...c5 was probably relevant for opening theory, as Black got quite a comfortable draw. The final position is equal because of 20...bxc6 21.Nf3 (e5 is too important to lose) Rxa2 22.Rd2 Ra1+ 23.Rd1 Rxd1+ 24.Kxd1 Rb8 25.Kd2 Rxb4 26.Ra1.


For the semi-finals, the pairings are Tomashevsky vs. Andreikin or Svidler and Vachier-Lagrave or Caruana vs. Kramnik. But first we'll have the two tiebreak matches, starting 15:00 CET / 09:00 EDT on Sunday!

FIDE World Cup 2013 | Round 5 Results

Match Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Kramnik, Vladimir 2784 1 ½ 1½
Korobov, Anton 2720 0 ½ ½
Andreikin, Dmitry 2716 ½ ½ 1
Svidler, Peter 2746 ½ ½ 1
Caruana, Fabiano 2796 ½ ½ 1
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2719 ½ ½ 1
Tomashevsky, Evgeny 2706 ½ 1 1½
Kamsky, Gata 2741 ½ 0 ½

Held every two years, the World Cup is part of the World Championship cycle. The winner and the runner-up will qualify for the 2014 Candidates Tournament. The World Cup takes place August 10th-September 3rd in Tromsø, Norway. Photos by Paul Truong courtesy of the official website; games via TWIC.

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