Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Candidates Final, Gelfand versus Grischuk

I have been quietly following the Candidates Matches over the last couple of weeks. If you have not been following, its ok because it is pretty boring.

The Candidates Matches are played over four standard games. Then tie-breaks of four rapid games. If by then a winner has not been decided, blitz games (up to five games) will be played with the first player to win going through. If it is still tied after five games then a final Armaggedon game with five minutes for one side and four for the other. The player with four minutes gets draw odds. The winner of this Candidates gets to face World Champion Anand for the title in 2012.

If anyone were to predict that Topalov, Aronian and Kramnik will not feature in the final, everyone will think him crazy. Surprise. Kamsky eliminated Topalov and Grischuk took out Aronian. The semis featured Gelfand-Kamsky and Kramnik-Grischuk. All standard time control games were drawn. The tie-breaks were played last night.

Kramnik - Grischuk

Grischuk is also a poker player (according to sources, a professional one at that) and he came up with a strategy just like the card game where one bets everything on the last card. In chess terms, draw all the standard and rapid games and stake everything on the blitz. In the rapids, as white , Grischuk offered draws in fourteen moves and another game in just eight moves. Kramnik obliged, after all he has white in the next games right? Still, he could not win a single game with White either and the match went to blitz tie-breaks.

In the first game, Grischuk out-played Kramnik and won a pawn and the game. In the second, it was again Grischuk who had all the winning chances. He took no risks and steered the game into a drawn rook ending and thus qualified for the final.

Gelfand - Kamsky

It was quite excruciating to watch Gelfand and Kamsky. Both players could not be faulted for not trying , just that  the quality of the games were not really satisfying. Especially Gelfand was missing a lot of stuff.

Kamsky-Gelfand, Rapid Game 2
This is the second game from the Gelfand-Kamsky rapid tiebreaks.  Kamsky has just played 19.exf5 and Gelfand re-captured with 19...Bxf5. Both have missed that black wins after 19...Bxd5 20. cxd5 Qxc1 21. Rxc1 Rxc1+ 22. Ne1 Ba5 and winning everything.
Gelfand-Kamsky, Rapid Game 3
This is the third game from the Gelfand-Kamsky rapid tiebreaks. Gelfand had played his bishop from e3 to g5 followed by the last move 16. a3?? reaching the diagram on the left. 16...c4 and now 17.dxc4 Nc5 traps the queen.If only that bishop was still on e3. 17.Qxc4 Bxf3 18. Bxf3 Rxc4 and Kamsky won.

Despite all these oversights, Gelfand still beat Kamsky in the blitz and gets to meet Grischuk in the final.

I really hope Gelfand does not win the finals because this kind of chess will be very embarrassing for him in  a title match with Anand.


Yeoh said...

Hi Jimmy
1. The match may be boring, but your reporting and your view seem interesting.

2. Looks like both bridge and poker will produce good chess masters.


Jimmy Liew said...

or good chess players make good bridge/poker players

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