World Cup: Kamsky Wins Brilliantly on First Day of Round 4
With just 16 players left, the World Cup in Tromsø continued with its fourth round and there were three winners: Fabiano Caruana, Gata Kamsky and Vladimir Kramnik. Caruana was the first winner; in an already slightly worse position, Julio Granda Zuniga blundered a full pawn and immediately resigned. Kamsky played a brilliant attacking game against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov that involved several sacrifices and ended with a forced checkmate. Kramnik had the luxury of winning with Black; in a slightly worse but drawn position Vassily Ivanchuk let his position collapse in just a few moves.
Let's start this report with what was the game of the round: Gata Kamsky's win over Shakriyar Mamedyarov. It was the U.S. Champion versus the World Rapid Champion, and a duel between two of the greatest fighters around. With a rare move-order, Kamsky turned a Taimanov Sicilian into a Scheveningen, and it looked like Mamedyarov played inaccurately already in the opening. White's 15.Qh3 is hard to meet, and even Black's natural 16...d5 17.e5 Ne4 didn't do the trick because of the very strong piece sac that followed. Sit down and enjoy this game!
It would be too easy to (jokingly) ask whether the en passant rule is known in Peru, but the fact is that today Julio Granda Zuniga completely missed that an en passant capture was possible. He didn't forget about the rule; he just didn't see that it was tactically possible!
In the Mieses variation of the Scotch, Fabiano Caruana got a slight advantage ("I had some pressure," in his own words) when Granda suddenly played the horrible 20...f5. When his opponent took on f6, no doubt the Peruvian GM immediately saw that his planned 21...Qa6 could be answered by 22.f7! Rxe2 23.Bf5+! and so he resigned the game. A tough moment for the only 2600 GM left, but he has one more white game to try and make the headlines again!
The game between Vassily Ivanchuk and Vladimir Kramnik saw a dramatic finish, in favor of the Russian. "I would prefer this [to have happened] in London," said Kramnik, obviously referring to the last round of the Candidates Tournament, when he lost to the same opponent and finished second on tiebreak behind Magnus Carlsen.
The game started as a 5.Bf4 Queen's Gambit Declined. Kramnik, who worked hard on this line for the Candidates Matches in 2011, didn't need any time on the clock for his first 22 moves (!) while Ivanchuk was thinking a lot. At some point Black got a slight edge, but normally Chucky would have drawn it easily. However, the Ukrainan became nervous, started to push pawns around his king, and suddenly missed a deadly check.
The other five games ended in draws. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs. Boris Gelfand was quite an interesting fight, even though it lasted only about one and a half hours! Vachier-Lagrave, who was playing against his own opening (the Grünfeld), had prepared one of the critical lines in the Exchange variation and so the game was a test whether Gelfand had worked out all the details there, or rather whether he would remember it. The Israeli, who worked on this opening for about a year to prepare for his match against Anand, didn't fail the test and got a draw with a nice variation that ended in perpetual check.
America's number one player (now 5th in the live rankings) Hikaru Nakamura didn't get much with White against former Ukrainian Champion Anton Korobov. The move 6.Be2 in the Najdorf might have been a surprise weapon, as it hasn't been very popular in recent years. Korobov reacted well, and at some point he was threatening the thematical break ...d6-d5 and so Nakamura decided to play it safe and repeat the moves.
Dmitry Andreikin followed more or less the same strategy. He got absolutely nothing with the white pieces against Sergey Karjakin in a Queen's Indian, and offered a draw himself as early as move 18. The fact that both players played a tough tiebreak the other day probably also played a role here.
If every round has one lucky man, it was Peter Svidler for this one. In an Anti-Grünfeld, the winner of the last World Cup simply got outplayed by Vietnam's number one Le Quang Liem, who could have decided the game on move 23. Le did see the move, but only realized how strong it was after he had played something else. This gave Svidler the chance to play a positional exchange sacrifice, which worked out well. It was enough to draw, and perhaps even more.
Alexander Morozevich and Evgeny Tomashevsky was the longest game of the round, but for a long time not much happened. Just when the center opened up and things became more concrete, the players suddenly decided to call it a day.
FIDE World Cup 2013 | Round 4, Day 1 Results
|Granda Zuniga, Julio E||2664||0||0|
|Le, Quang Liem||2702||½||0.5|
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.