Chess News: 2011 World Championship Candidates Tournament

Presenting the latest chess news and expert analysis of the ongoing World Championship Candidates Tournament in Kazan, Russia - Specifically covering the recently finished Semi-Finals matches (Kamsky vs Gelfand & Grischuk vs Kramnik)
May 18, 2011 - PRLog -- So everyone’s brackets are totally screwed - Topalov got knocked out in the first round with a stunning upset by Kamsky and Kramnik has recently been defeated in the Semi-finals with a taste of his own medicine via slow, patient chess.  The fireworks have been decisively lacking in this year’s Candidates Match Tournament, however it has been of interest to monitor Grischuk’s completely surprising style versus Aronian and especially Kramnik.  Grischuk retains the reputation of a reknown tactical fighter, however in his Semifinals match with Kramnik he exemplified something of a waiting strategy with the intention of frustrating his opponent into making a careless mistake.  Which Kramnik did, as he simply pressed too hard for a win in an equal position in their first blitz tiebreaker game - conceding the initiative and a deserved victory to fellow Russian compatriot Alexander Grischuk.  A very patient alteration of Grischuk’s strategy allowed him to nullify Kramnik’s extensive opening preparation and take the game towards the psychological battlefield - not a surprising move by the poker player.

   I really had my hopes up for Gata Kamsky this year, especially after he took out Topalov like Jean Reno in “The Professional”.  What a nutty Quarterfinals match that was!  Alas, Kamsky’s infamous “will to win” was not enough to overcome to the experienced veteran, Boris Gelfand.  Kamsky won the third game of their rapid tiebreaker, and Boris was in a dire situation as only a win in the fourth game would enable him to hold on and play in the rapid tiebreakers.  I thought Kamsky’s choice of opening in this fourth game was second-best, by playing 1.  e4 he allowed Boris to immediately stir up dynamic counter-play in the Scheveningen Variation of the Sicilian.  The Israeli dug deep and took advantage of Kamsky’s indecisive opening play, earned a well-deserved point to even the match and take it to double overtime.  Kamsky was evidently quite shaken by this turn of events, and proceeded to lose the first blitz tiebreaker through a basic miscalculation of a B vs N endgame.  Following this mishap, Kamsky faced a must-win situation where he tried to push too hard, too early in a Dutch defense.  Gelfand skillfully defended and demonstrated his opponent’s attack to be superficial.

Video analysis of the entire Candidates Tournament is available at:

The Finals: Predictions

The finals will begin on May 19th and consist of a 6 game classical match (followed by tiebreakers if necessary).  Poker pro Alexander Grischuk (Russia, 2747) will face off against experienced elite Boris Gelfand (Israel, 2733).  It’s unlikely that Grischuk will change his “painstaking patience” match strategy, knowing if he opens with e4 that Gelfand is extremely comfortable playing any type of Sicilian dangerously.  My prediction for this match is 11 consecutive draws, and Grischuk finally winning a game in blitz tiebreaker out of a complicated Grunfeld.

While this final was impossible to foresee, hopefully the fireworks will pick up as the players can smell the coming 2012 World Championship match with Viswanathan Anand.  Speaking of the WC Match, I think Anand will dismantle either of these guys with his extensive match experience, creative aggression, and powerful intuition of critical moments.

More information on related topics is available at

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