Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Candidates 07 R2 Day 1

| Permalink | 53 comments

Here we go, in search of the final four! Aronian-Shirov, Leko-Bareev, Grischuk-Rublevsky, Kamsky-Gelfand. In each pairing the first player has white in today's first games. Kamsky and Gelfand have exchanged wins since Kamsky's return. Leko and Bareev have only played a few classical games in the past five years. They split wins in Dortmund 2002. Aronian beat Shirov in a famous endgame at the Tal Memorial last November. Grischuk beat Rublevsky a few years ago but I'm a little surprised they haven't played more often. Official site.


My predictions are Shirov, Leko, Grischuk, and Kamsky to advance to the final four.

Grischuk's knight sac looks good.

Aronian has got be a slight favorite here, but i'm hoping Shirov gets back his 'fire on board' form. His Be3? against Adams doesn't bode too well for his FOB form, but its going be a good match.

Kamsky-Gelfand takes me back to the old days, interestingly both of them beat Kramnik( not yet in his prime ) in their candidates matches at some stage

Leko should go through, but Bareev looks like a tougher nut to crack

Anything can happen between Grischuk and former Russian champ Rublevsky!

in the order of ease with which I feel the winner will prevail:

Strange play by Aronian. Shiro should take his scalp (after move 18)

I'm not making any predictions just yet, only that I believe the match Aronian-Shirov will leave one of the players feeling reasonably "small".

Both players are very creative and I think whoever is the better of the two, will show that quite convincingly in their matches.

At this moment, I'm not sure yet which it is, if any, although my feeling says Aronian.

Just a few more hours and we might know.

After 22. ...Rd8, it seems that Rublevsky is doing fine - Grischuck is spending a lot of time trying to find a move. Yasser Seirawan said that "the move 19. ... Qc5 was a big mistake", so I would like to know what went wrong to White (if I am evaluating correctly the position)


At the moment Rublevsky has 24 minutes to Grischuk's 1:04 and extra pawn.

@Ronald: according to Fritz, Grischuk wins material with Bxf6 followed by e7.. not sure how easy to win the resulting position will be though..

Grischuk has a won position.

Aronian will probably grind Shirov down in his usual style.

Mig> Hint: if it's a 22-move draw it's between the humans.

Kamsky - Gelfand draw in 22.5 moves.. well we know he has been reading the dirt

Man, Grischuk put on a real show - he can be brilliant at times.

A rather dissapointing first round of the candidates with Bareev playing extremely nervously in a theoretical line and then ??!. Kamsky and Gelfand agreed a draw before the pieces came in contact. Say what you want but Kamsky had almost a week off. I would like to spend time on Aronian-Shirov and look it with a computer/better player but Shirov couldn't have used all his chances as I thought he had great compensation say after 18...Qd5.

Fritz says that Bareev had a win with 28 ... Ne4. Then he goes and makes a blunder instead and throws away the game. Leko is not the guy you want to just give a game to - he can now try and play completely risk-free and draw out the rest of the way.

Aronian's 19.Qc4 was maybe too strong since the queen exchange is forced. Not easy to see for Siro after the sacrifice 15.- Nxe4

Bareev and Shirov had great chances before disintegrating in the time pressure. Overall an exciting first round. Some mistakes, true, but that's inevitable when there is so much fight. I suppose, it would have been more interesting if Bareev and Shirov had won, but I think Shirov-Aronian will be exciting regardless of the score. Here's hope that Bareev can put some pressure on Leko, he did that today.

The only real disappointment was Kamsky - Gelfand snoozer, for which Gata is to blame. He didn't even try to get the game going, pretty lame tactic with white.

Deep Fritz was White in Game 1 of its match vs. Deep Junior. Result was a draw in 31.5 moves. In the end, there was not much to play for: each entity had Rook, minor piece, and 3 pawns symmetrically arrayed on the King-side. After Fritz threatened to start rolling pawns up Junior's King-side, Junior responded by sacrificing 2 pawns on consecutive moves. Perhaps Fritz ought not have taken the bait.

Freitag, unfortunately I cannot access the game now from office but I see if 19.Qc4 Qe4 20 f3,yes? But why is it not possible to begin 18...Ne5?

"Strange play by Aronian. Shiro should take his scalp (after move 18)" -- freitag

Strange comments!!
1) Aronian actually won the game.
2) "take is scalp", well Shirov did take something but it was not Aronian's scalp.


"but I see if 19.Qc4 Qe4 20 f3,yes? But why is it not possible to begin 18...Ne5?"

Because of 19.Qxa7 and Black cannot continue since Rb8 is unprotected.

"Strange play by Aronian. Shiro should take his scalp (after move 18)" -- freitag

Strange comments!!
1) Aronian actually won the game.
2) "take is scalp", well Shirov did take something but it was not Aronian's scalp.


He,he ;) I must admit I thought Shirov was much better here, which might have been caused by the FACT that Aronian's 3.e4 is no good move (which is written in any opening book). I guess Shirov pushed too hard with 15.- Nxe4. I have no doubts his position was better at that time.

"Fritz says that Bareev had a win with 28 ... Ne4. Then he goes and makes a blunder instead and throws away the game."

The irony is that 28.... Ne4 is just the sort of tactic that Judit might have spotted. Of course, if you are focused on defense, and trying to equalize, as Bareev was, there is no chance that he is going to spot the tactic. If one spots the idea, it is fairly easy to calculate.

Obviously, something went wrong with Kamsky's opening preparation. He could have played on, risking a disadvantage, or he could burn the White. He chose the latter. Kamsky is a counter-attacker, so maybe the color switch for Game 2 will suit both Gelfand and Kamsky.

Interestingly, the ChessBase site states that Deep Junior was White in the 1st Game, while the Globalchess site, which is hosting the Candidates' Matches, reports that Deep Junior was White. Somebody has things mixed-up. Maybe an atttempt by ChessBase to double the amount of publicity?

It was a good game and another fine Caro-Kann display until he missed 28..Ne4 and then self-destructed. Bareev is still a great strategist but also still one of the worst tacticians among top GM's. It's also possible he is tired already.

freitag, the QGA with 3.e4 e5!? has been scoring generously for white recently. It is quite sound.

Hard to get to the scalp through all that hair...(take it as a hard to successfully capitalize on a material sacrifice against a strong calculater)

"Obviously, something went wrong with Kamsky's opening preparation."

Fairly normal as far as Kamsky opening preparation recently.

I don't understand it at all--not only do you choose a line, which has to be very well-known to your opponent, but it is also a line which leads to the kind of chess Kamsky obviously didn't want to play, since in a positional situation he decides to shuffle around heavy artillery aimlessly. Why have a no-game with white?

- What a beautiful victory of Grischuk! I guess the knight sac was due to opening preparation, and then 32. Rxc6 and 33. Rxf7 were definitely killers. It seems 19...Qc5 was a blunder from Rublevsky (or at least what Grischuk expected with that novetly, to advance the e-pawn).

- I praise the victory of Aronian, because I believe this was due to opening preparation, taking into account the style of his opponent (reminds me of Lasker). The unusual (at this level) 3.e4 and then 14.g3! (I believe is a novelty) and 15. Ba3! might not be the best objective moves, but I am pretty sure he was expecting that Shirov wouldn't resist to sacrifice the exchange with 15... Nxe4, and Aronian probably analyzed he was better after the exchange of queens (which Shirov didn't avoid).

As I commented earlier, I believe Aronian can play much better in this match, without the pressure of having in front of you a teenager "you are suppose to defeat easily, but you can't easily"; I believe the quality of the previous match was affected by those crcumstances, that does not exist in this case.

Note: I didn't followed Leko-Bareev and I am surprised by the fact that Bareev missed a tactic to probably win (especially against someone as Leko). Leko is fortunate he is facing the relatively weakest set of players in order to advance to Mexico (Probably Polgar would find that tactic, but in principle, she wouldn't chose Caro-Kahn with black).

After his return, it seemed to me that Kamski had trouble playing the white side of the Sicilian against strong opposition. I think now 1.d4 suits him better.

I think Shirov got disturbed by the fact that Aronian was wearing a multi-colored printed shirt instead of his usual White or Black attire... Or is there any other explanation for the insane amount of time he took on his opening moves which was all well known and relatively old theory...

A lot of the GMs are having serious time troubles. Surprisingly few games have gone by where neither of the GMs was in time trouble by move 25 or so. One explanation offered was that GMs don't want to miscalculate in a short match setting, which I think is a partial explanation. The other part of it I am guessing is that the GMs knew so far ahead of time who their opponents were. They were able to prepare their openings very well and they also expect their opponent to have something prepared for each line they commonly use. Grischuk's sacrifice today is an excellent example, but so is Shirov taking so long today in the opening, probably being careful of any mine Aronian might have set up.

Actually my position was OK if I played Bxc1 or Ba5 instead of erroneous c6.

As for the opening I played it after a few years' break, not easy to remember everything.

Is this a first - a post from a candidate during the match? Very impressive!
Thanks for sharing this with us and good luck tomorrow.

oh i love it when a GM comes on and puts the smackdown on lame internet posters.

GM Shirov-- go get 'em, tiger!! and thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Best of luck to GM Shirov! We want some "fire on the board" :-D

Not saying that that wasn't actually GM Shirov, but is there any way to verify that it was? Mig? Is it an Elista IP?

Thank you for your comments GM Shirov! Best wishes for your success tommorrow.

"It seems 19...Qc5 was a blunder from Rublevsky (or at least what Grischuk expected with that novetly, to advance the e-pawn)."

You think Qc8 was better? To me it looked like Rub was already down on his knees. Though he gave Grischuk some puzzles to solve at the end - but no threat for Sascha.

I'm a big fan of Alexei Shirov and I sicerely hope that comment was his, but the problem is the posting time 16:46 PM is equivalant to around 3 in the morning in Elista. So, maybe a GM who has an important game tomorrow should be sleeping then! :)
Just kidding. Good luck Alexei, make some fire for us!

Perhaps Qc8 was objectively better, but it looked awfully hard to play such a position with Black. I thought it started to look perfectly savable around 26..Bc6, but that was surely just an illusion because of the whole Rxc6 idea after Rc7, making Black's counterplay harmless; anyway Rublevsky probably went down faster than necessary, which of course is not strange when he was forced to use up so much time earlier. Great game by Grischuk.

Sorry, it was a miscalculation! The posting time was 12 midnight Elista time. So, it could be Alexei himself!! cheers

27.Rc7 was a key move. Maybe 27.- Be4 was a better idea (featuring f5).

GM Shirov,

Fans all over the world appreciate your continuous dialogue with us. It's GMs like you who create a strong desire for fans to follow the sport. Thank you for taking a moment to say something to your fans and critics during what I am sure are very busy days for you.

Go Shirov!

oh puhleeze, aronian had the whole game under control. go, levon. you da man.

Maybe the force will be with you, Shirov!

Cheech at ChessBase agrees that 24....c6 was not good, although he gives neither 24....Bxc1 nor 24....Ba5 as alternatives :

"24.Rb7 c6?! Perhaps Shirov initially intended to play 24...Bc3 , but saw in the last moment that after 25.Rxc7 d2 26.Rd1 he does not threaten to win material yet because his minor pieces are hanging. However, the position remains highly unclear, because the bishop is trapped after all and maybe he should have sticked to this line."

Any opinions as to which of Black's possible moves is the strongest (after 24. Rb7)?

Both Shirov and Aronian are very likeable players.

But Aronian is a potential World Champion and Shirov is not.

@ Mig

Site is very slow / sometimes unresponsive when posting.

That's why you see double posts sometimes...

These guys don't understand chess at all.......

no way, jose!

Yes, there are so many comments in the system that it creates a big server load with every new comment. Stupid system. I need a day of free time to recode the templates to try and reduce the load. If that doesn't work I may have to delete or hard-code a few thousand comments. Sorry about the duplicates; I delete them when I see then.

Don't false post under the names of public figures, please. I try to check or confirm by email if there's doubt. A few are regular posters. And Alexei posted from Elista so that's a pretty safe bet!

Another great smackdown from Nisipeanu in this month's Schach magazine. He is commenting on the M-Tel game where he had White against Adams and says this after the 47th move:

Ich habe in Internet gelesen, dass einige Zuschauer den Eindruck gewannen, ich haette diese Zugwiederholung gespielt, um meinem Gegner zu verhoehnen...

Liebe Freunde! Im Gegensatz zu Euch hatte ich kein Computerprogramm zur Hand, das mir anzeigte, dass ich total auf Gewinn stand. Ich war gegen Ende des Turniers einfach ziemlich erschoepft, zudem zeichete sich schon die naechste Zeitnot ab...

"I read on the Internet that some onlookers thought I played this move repetition in order to jeer at my opponent...

"Dear friends! Unlike you, I do not have a computer program at my side to tell me that I have a completely winning position. I was simply completely exhausted at the end of the tournament, as shown by my time trouble earlier..."

(Apologies for the lack of umlauts on my keyboard, and the rather literal translation. Corrections welcomed)

I'm surprised that the pros give us Net patzers the time of day, given the rubbish some of us come out with! Kudos to GM Shirov and his colleagues for sharing their thoughts with us.

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on June 6, 2007 6:50 AM.

    Rybka Goes Fishing was the previous entry in this blog.

    Candidates 07 R2 Day 2 is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.