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Boris Gelfand vs Anish Giri
Tata Steel Group A (2012), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 1, Jan-14
Queen Pawn Game: Symmetrical Variation (D02)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-14-12  wordfunph: "I'm very happy also I think the game is very interesting, I played reasonably well, at some point I gave him drawing chances but OK, he is a strong player, he deserves it."

- GM Anish Giri

Jan-15-12  Novirasputin: The bottom line is Gelfand is the second best player in the world. He deserves that honor because enough top rated players took their chances in the tournament and he won. What he does in individual games is of no concern. Anand lost in 7 to a virtual beginners trap. That proved very little about what he would when it counted.

The system that creates the current 2nd best in the world (i.e. the challenger to the title) is not perfect. However, we can all agree its better then when they spun a wheel and chose who moves on, or when a world champion couldn't find a reasonable alternative to choosing a challenger or agreeing on a match.

There is no outside vacuum for perfect human chess (of the kind Fischer wanted) where outside factors (like say rules of a tournament, or even weather conditions) do not influence it. That sort of chess is best left up to computers.

Gelfand deserves respect for being the challenger, and btw, yes he doesn't care about anything but the WC match right now.

Jan-15-12  ksr: Gelfand is more likely the 18th Best Player in the world. To be fair there is no mandate that the world Champion or the challengers should be the best and second best players in the world, however the huge brand of the world championship built up over time is due the fact that most of the time best or nearly best players of the time became the world champions. Why would someone else invest 2.5 Mn USD for a WCC match when 250000 USD is sufficient to host a top tournament like Tata or Linares or Bilbao?

The fide knockout systems which generated weak world champions ( comparative to the playing strength and performance of other top players of the time) only weakened the brand of the so called FIDE World championships.

Jan-15-12  nimh: I have nothing against Gelfand, but it's shameful that a WC match is played between #4 and #19 instead of among players ranked within top 5.

Gelfand may have been much closer to the elite in the past, but since when has the right to play in a title match been degraded to being merely a homage to past achievements?

Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: "The 500-euro <“Piet Zwart Prize”> for the best game of the day was awarded to Anish Giri for his victory over World Championship contender Boris Gelfand of Israel.

The Dutch prodigy, fresh off his formidable tournament victory at Reggio Emilia in Italy a week ago, made a big impression with another fine example of his mature positional style".

(Report of round 1)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: There are some other games with 7. Bf4:

Mamedyarov vs Le Quang Liem, 2011 and

Jan-15-12  hedgeh0g: Gelfand losing a pawn on move 12? This has less to do with openings than it does with being in horrible form.
Jan-15-12  Llawdogg: If Magnus Carlsen and Lev Aronian played a match against each other at the same time as the Anand and Gelfand match, which would you rather watch? Which winner would have a better claim to the title of World's Best Chess Player?
Jan-15-12  Pedro Fernandez: What a interesting opinions here. IMO 4.Qb3 (not 3.Qb3 as I posted, sorry) is a weak move, and its refutation is exactly Giri's move 4...dxc4! liberating the strong black Queen's bishop protecting b7. Certainly the slave is a solid defence, and maybe Dr. Vidmar (as Alekhine claimed) was one out of the best specialist in this defence. But Alekhine never played 4.Qb3 vs Vidmar, because this move goes against the natural development of White's pieces.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: Hmmm.

Not much here to whet the chops for the upcoming World Championship Match of 12 games.

I understand the financial/historical reasons for a 12 game limit, but I think it's appalling. Would it really be pragmatically impossible for FIDE to arrange even just a 16 game match?

And apologies to <Gelfand> fans, and I know he earned it through his play and proper channels, but I think the fact that he is the challenger is appalling.

Here's a phrase you'll never hear again in chess writing:

"The match was won fairly easily by Alekhine wo scored eight wins to three, with 15 draws, reaching the winning total of 15.5 points <after <<<only>>> 26 games> had been played."

-<Skinner and Verhoeven>, with regard to the second <Alekhine-Bogoljubow> match.

Jan-15-12  maxi: I beg to differ, <Pedro Fernandez>. It has been sort of a recent discovery that the White Queen stands very well at d3. See, for example, Aronian vs McShane, 2011, where White had superiority, although the game ended in a draw. Here what we have is a simple blunder, 11.Be5?, instead of the obvious 11.Bd2, and White maintains superiority.
Jan-15-12  King Death: < Pedro Fernandez: ...IMO 4.Qb3... is a weak move, and its refutation is exactly Giri's move 4...dxc4...But Alekhine never played 4.Qb3 vs Vidmar..>

The move 4.Qb3 isn't something I ever played either but it isn't bad. Going way back everybody played 4.Nc3, but who wants to play down the main lines of theory every time? It's interesting to play something different for a change.

Jan-15-12  Ulhumbrus: After 24 ...Kh8 White has the bishop pair for a pawn, as well as a lead in development, but his King side pawn structure is broken

An alternative to 27 Qf5 is 27 f4 followed by f5 with a massive advantage in space

After 28...Nd5 Black's centrally placed knight is almost equal in value to White's bishop pair so that White has on balance little or no compensation for the pawn.

Jan-15-12  drnooo: truly laughable here: anand and gelfand, all the hoopdedoo. Neither may be even the third or fourth best. At least I ain't gonna watch or follow a single one of their games. And dont be fooled by Carlsens high rating: it means nothing against two or three of his bete noirs. If meaninglessness ever had a mom and dad it's here and now in the current crop of chumpions, uhh champions, straining at the bit while flounderingin the mud to prove......exactly what I do not know. Meanwhile Kasparov is off in the political wilderness proving the same. It's all very comical, these chessplayers.
Jan-15-12  mark jc. Garado: 10. Be5?
<10. Nxd5 Nxd5 11. Qd2 e6 12.a3. . . And i think it is better than 10. Be5> Nice game by Anish!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Jess> - <Skinner and Verhoeven> ... The Great Behaviorist and the director of Robocop collaborated on a work about Alekhine? That I'd like to see ...

<maxi> is right about the opening: 4.Qb3 is quite playable.

Jan-15-12  Paraconti: Yup I can see how Boris is going to beat Anand later this year lol
Jan-16-12  Pedro Fernandez: <cro777:The idea is to protect the c4-pawn with the queen.> Are you sure? I don't think so. Let's recall this is a Queen gambit! So its not make sense protect c4 pawn, and with the Queen? sacrificing the natural development of the minor pieces? In all case the idea of 4.Qb3 is paralyzing the black Queen's bishop who is protecting b7 but, sincerely it's a bad idea.
Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: <Pedro Fernandez: It does not make sense protect c4 pawn, and with the Queen? sacrificing the natural development of the minor pieces? In all case the idea of 4.Qb3 is paralyzing the black Queen's bishop who is protecting b7 but, sincerely it's a bad idea.>

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Qb3 (or 4.Qc2) dxc4 5. Qxc4

click for larger view

This is a sideline of the Slav Defense (the Slow Slav with 4.Qc2 or 4.Qb3). White uses this variation to avoid the deep theoretical lines and is ready to transpose into various Slav variations with an early queen sortie.

Gelfand has played this line with both colours. In his match against Ponomariov at the World Cup 20009 this line occurred in no less than three games. As White, he used this line against Ivanchuk at the Russian Team Championship 2010.

In the diagram position the main move is 5...Bf5. In this game against Giri, Black played 5...Bg4. This move is less popular, but it's playable (as Black Gelfand had used it against Ponomariov).

After 5...Bg4 6. Nc3 Nbd7 7. Bf4 Nb6 8. Qd3 Bxf3 9. gxf3 Nfd5

click for larger view

Gelfand should have played 10.Nxd5 Nxd5 11.Bd2 with slightly better position.

This line does not look too ambitious, but White usually gets a small advantage.

Jan-16-12  maxi: <Pedro Fernandez> should not call this a Queen's Gambit; it is a Slav Defense. There is a real chance of losing the White c Pawn with no compensation. A similar situation occurs in some variations of the Catalan Opening. The possibility of defending the c Pawn with the Queen is useful.

But the main point, IMHO, is that the Queen stands well at d3. Take the line given by some here, 10.Nxd5 Nxd5 11.Bd2, illustrated in the diagram by <cro777>. The White Queen allows eventually the move e4, and White has central control. The position has become a Grunfeld Defense, and Black has to play this position very carefully or else.

The White Queen is also well-placed to fight against the Queen side Black Pawns.

Jan-16-12  Pedro Fernandez: <maxi: I beg to differ, <Pedro Fernandez>. It has been sort of a recent discovery that the White Queen stands very well at d3. See, for example, Aronian vs McShane, 2011, where White had superiority, although the game ended in a draw. Here what we have is a simple blunder, 11.Be5?, instead of the obvious 11.Bd2, and White maintains superiority.> I suspect we are talking about two different points. Of course I totally agree with you in the sense that 4.Qb3 is totally playable, and as you said the fatal error, by no means, it was 4.Qb3. But my opinion it is based in Alekhine chess philosophy who thinks it is better the natural development of the minor pieces and, in this context, I think you agree with me.
Jan-17-12  maxi: <Pedro Fernandez> Sure, in general it is better to develop first the minor pieces, then the Rooks and Queen. But it is part of the revolution in chess that all is being challenged, and subject to scrutiny case by case. The computers are behind all of this.
Jan-18-12  sreeskamp: Giri being in the driversseat from start to finish! Full throttle Anash!!
Jan-18-12  pericles of athens: <nimh> that's well said, friend.
Jan-22-12  notyetagm: Game Collection: EST's: Equal or Stronger Threats
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