World Cup: Shirov plaatst zich voor finaleWorld Cup: Shirov qualifies for final

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Experience has conquered youth. After Gata Kamsky, Alexei Shirov has also qualified for the World Cup by beating Sergei Karjakin convincingly; the score was 1.5-0.5 in the rapids, while the draw should have been a win as well. The first game was a fantastic fight in a Sveshnikov Sicilian that resulted in the terribly difficult NN vs RB ending, that needs over a 150 moves to win with perfect play. Shirov had to settle for the draw but wasn't affected at all by this misfortune, and showed fantastic endgame technique in game two, with White in a Marshall Gambit, that also did the trick against Jakovenko.


And so Shirov-Kamsky it will be, starting on Thursday, with four standard games before a possible tiebreak. The Spanish Latvian is 35 years old (born the 4th of July 1972) and the American is 33 (2 June 1974) and this tournament might well be the last chance for either of these two players to reach a world championship match - although first a last hurdle awaits in Mr Topalov - before the new generation finally takes over. The first game between these players was in 1986 in Sochi and in 21 years they have played 22 games in total against each other. Five of these were blitz or rapid games (at the recent Tal Memorial Blitz they both won one game against each other). In 16 'normal' games, 7 were won by Shirov, 7 were drawn and only 2 by Kamsky and so Alexei Shirov should be considered the favourite to win the World Cup Final.

Update: co-editor Arne Moll informs me that Kamsky and Shirov have played a match in 1987 in the Soviet-Union. Back in 1993 Arne had found three games in a Latvian magazine, which he sent to New in Chess, who subsequently added the games into their database. These games are missing from the Chessbase database but can be found and replayed in NICBase Online.

He's probably also the favourite amongst the fans, beause of his enterprising style and the match against Kasparov he never got, but to check this theory we've put up a poll:


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