Monday, December 07, 2009

Karjakin - Gelfand, World Cup 2009

Karjakin - Gelfand
Position after 11....Ra6!

It has been hard to follow the FIDE World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk Siberia (see games at, which seems like a chaotic awards show, with loads of great stars making only cameo appearances and very few memorable performances.  That is until yesterday's Round 6 game between Sergey Karjakin and Boris Gelfand, which is very well annotated by Dennis Monokroussos.  Karjakin resorted to a Giuoco Piano by a Bishop's Opening move order to sidestep the drawing power of the Petroff, but Gelfand had easy equality with a Two Knights set-up and an early d5 (a la Marshall).  Then Karjakin ended up getting his head handed to him when he failed to play the standard 11.Qf3 inducing 11...Be6 and allowed Gelfand a neat Rook lift with 11....Ra6! (see diagram above) followed by Rg6 with attacking chances.  You may be asking yourself (or you should) why not simply 12.Bxd5 Qxd5 13.Rxe7 winning a piece?  Well, Black has a strong attack and at least a draw after 13...Rg6 (see Monokroussos's notes for details).  A fascinating game right out of the opening, and probably right out of Gelfand's preparation.

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