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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Candidates Chess Matches Kazan 2011 R1: Grischuk draws a completely lost game, others have safer draw

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hello everybody,

Sheer excitement in Kazan!

The Candidates Chess Matches have begun in Kazan and the first round saw Alexander Grishchuk fight back to draw and absolutely lost game. The others drew much safely. Did you watch the hi-res live broadcast of the playing hall via the Russian Chess Federation at this link? The online broadcast of the games is at this link.

(Photo: Grandmaster Levon Aronian in top form.)

Here are the results of Round 1

1. Levon Aronian - Alexander Grischuk 1/2-1/2
2. Gata Kamsky - Veselin Topalov 1/2-1/2
3. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov - Boris Gelfand 1/2-1/2
4. Teimour Radjabov - Vladimir Kramnik 1/2-1/2

Topalov used his signature Najdorf and Kamsky accepted the challenge with a surprising and rare 7.a6 while Topalov also took Kamsky out of the book on the tenth move but eventually, after the trade of Queens, the game headed for a draw. The Radjabov and Kramnik game was a safe draw with neither side believing in any fireworks.

The Mamedyarov-Gelfand began with a surprise - from both sides. Mamedyarov switched to 1.e4 though he is more known for 1.d4 and Gelfand, who usually chooses the Petroff against the King's pawn opening decided to return the favour by going for the Sicilian. Eventually, Gelfand was on shaky ground with a little problems from his novelty at 12.... Be6 but eventually they settled for a draw with Gelfand defending strongly.

The Aronian-Grischuk was a stunner. Grishchuk played the Grunfeld which he probably never has or maybe very, very seldom but did Aronian expect that? By the 43rd move there seemed no way for Grishchuk to escape! But watch the game and you will marvel at Grischuk's sheer tenacity in making it as difficult as possible for his opponent. In fact, Grischuk had nearly swayed the game away from a clear win for some time. By the 62nd move both players were down to 12 minutes or so and time seemed a factor. And THEN - as the players came down to increment time only... Alexander Grischuk drew the game.

The press interviews later will tell us what the players thought. We will update the games shortly.

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