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Boris Gelfand breaks through to win World Cup

December 20, 2009|By Jack Peters

Position No. 6086: White to play and win. From the game Peter Svidler-Tomi Nyback, World Cup, Khanty-Mansiysk 2009.

Solution to Position No. 6085: White wins with 1 Qd8! (inviting 1 . . . Rxd8 2 Nf7 mate) Rc8 2 Qxc8.

Grandmaster Boris Gelfand, 41, of Israel won the World Cup on Monday in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. Gelfand, the highest-rated player and one of the oldest, outlasted Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine, 7-5, in the final round of the 128-player event.

How appropriate that the final required rapid (25-minute games) and blitz (five-minute) tiebreakers. Twice Gelfand took the lead, only to have Ponomariov tie it again. The match ended when Gelfand won two consecutive blitzes.

Of the 127 matches, 55 required tiebreakers. A best-of-four set of rapid games broke ties in 41 matches, and the other 14 were decided by blitz.

The tournament distributed $1.28 million. Gelfand's share was $96,000, plus a spot in the eight-person tournament to select the challenger in the 2011 world championship.

London Classic

The London Chess Classic, billed as the strongest tournament in England in 25 years, ended Tuesday in London. Magnus Carlsen, the Norwegian teenager unofficially ranked first in the world, took first prize with three wins and four draws. He defeated his chief rival, former world champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, in the first round, and held onto the lead despite anxious moments in his last two games. Kramnik finished second with three wins, three draws and a loss.

U.S. champ Hikaru Nakamura of Seattle had a disappointing result, drawing six games and losing to Luke McShane of England. Carlsen, Kramnik and Nakamura declined invitations to the World Cup so they could compete in London.

Local news

The Beverly Hills Chess Club, 8950 W. Olympic Blvd. in Beverly Hills, will conduct Holiday Hexes for kids next Sunday morning. Each entrant will play five 30-minute games against similarly rated opponents. The club also offers lectures and tournaments for children and adults. For information, see or call Robert Minoofar at (888) 912-4377.

Today's games

GM Sergey Karjakin (Russia)-GM Boris Gelfand, Game No. 1, World Cup, Khanty-Mansiysk 2009: 1 e4 e5 2 Bc4 Nf6 3 d3 The Bishop's Opening. Nc6 4 Nf3 Be7 Or 4 . . . Bc5, the Giuoco Pianissimo. 5 0-0 0-0 6 Bb3 d5 7 exd5 Nxd5 8 h3 Sharpest is 8 Re1 Bg4 9 h3. Black probably does not equalize with the pawn sacrifice 9 . . . Bh5 10 g4 Bg6 11 Nxe5 Nxe5 12 Rxe5 c6 13 Qf3, but 9 . . . Bxf3 10 Qxf3 Nd4! 11 Qxd5 Qxd5 12 Bxd5 Nxc2 13 Rxe5 Rae8 is more promising. a5 9 a4 Nd4 Welcoming 10 Nxe5?! Nxb3 11 cxb3 Re8 12 Nc3 Nb4, as White's pawns are vulnerable. 10 Nxd4 exd4 11 Re1 Ra6!? New. Instead, 11 . . . Be6 12 Nd2 is equal. 12 Qh5 If White accepts the piece by 12 Bxd5 Qxd5 13 Rxe7 Rg6 14 f3, Black can force a draw by 14 . . . Bxh3 15 Re2 Qxf3 16 Qf1 Bxg2! 17 Rxg2 Rxg2+ 18 Qxg2 Qd1+ 19 Qf1 (not 19 Kh2?? Qxc1) Qg4+ 20 Kh1 Qh5+. Nb4 13 Na3?! The smoother way to support c2 is 13 Nd2 Be6 14 Re2. However, White had to foresee 13 Nd2 Rg6 14 Nf3 Be6 15 Rxe6! fxe6 16 Ne5 Rgf6 17 Ng4 Rg6 18 Ne5, drawing. Rg6 14 Bf4 b6 15 Qf3?! A second inaccuracy causes serious trouble. White should defend by 15 Nc4 Bb7 16 Bg3. Be6! 16 Bxe6 Black will capitalize on the f-file, but the alter- native 16 Bc4 is also uncomfortable. One response is 16 . . . Bc5 17 Bg3 Bxc4 18 dxc4 Qd7 19 b3 c6, when White suffers because of his misplaced Knight. fxe6 17 Qe4 The maneuver 17 Re4 Qd5! 18 Qe2? fails, to 18 . . . Rxf4. Bd6! 18 Bxd6 Neither 18 Bg3 Qg5 nor 18 Be5 Bxe5 19 Qxe5 Qh4 helps. cxd6! 19 Qxd4 As good as any. Qg5 20 g3 After 20 Qg4 Qf6 21 Qe2 Nd5, White cannot resist against 22 . . . Nf4. The Knight invasion will also follow after 20 Qe4 Nd5 (threatening 21 . . . Rf4) 21 h4 Qh5. Qf5 21 g4 h5 22 Re4 d5 23 Kh2 Qf3 24 Ree1 hxg4 25 Qe3 gxh3 26 Qxf3 Rxf3 White has escaped a lost middlegame by landing in a lost end- game. 27 Rg1 Or 27 Re2 Rg2+ 28 Kh1 Rfxf2. Rxf2+ 28 Kxh3 Rxg1 29 Rxg1 Nxc2 30 Nb5 Rf3+ 31 Kg4 Rxd3 32 Nd6 Ne3+ 33 Kf4 Nc4, White Resigns. If 34 Nxc4 dxc4 35 Rc1, Black wins routinely by 35 . . . Rd2 36 Rxc4 Rxb2.

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