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Alexander Grischuk vs Boris Gelfand
FIDE Grand Prix London (2012), London ENG, rd 9, Oct-01
Sicilian Defense: Closed Variation. Traditional (B25)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-01-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Btw, in addition to Kf7 & Kd7 there's a third possibility for Black on move 24 - Kf8 (well, also 24...Kd8 which obviously loses to 25.Rd1):


click for larger view

This loses to 25.Rxf6+! gxf6 26.Qxf6+ Kg8 27.Qe6+! Kg7 28.Qg4+ Kf7 29.Qf5+ Kg8 (29...Kg7 30.Re7+) 30.Qxc8+ and mate in a few more moves.

Oct-01-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: Gelfand should learn from Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross:

A B C

"Always Be Castling, Always Be Castling!"

"If you can't castle then you can't do nothing. You are nothing! Hit the bricks, pal!"

Oct-01-12  scormus: Thanks CG, for another great game. I'm not sure if I can handle all this excitement ;)
Oct-01-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Maybe Gelfand got too optimistic about playing without castling after his win over Adams... (Adams vs Gelfand, 2012)
Oct-01-12  rapidcitychess: Now Shak might take the lead. (!)
Oct-01-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  MrSpock: After move 7 Grischuk has a tremendous advance in development in an open position. The game looks like Morphy versus N.N.
Oct-01-12  Kinghunt: 22... Qxd6? I would very much be interested in knowing what was going through Gelfand's head when he played this. He surely considered the obvious reply 23. Bxe6. Did he misevaluate it, or was he convinced that everything else lost anyway?
Oct-01-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: What about 24...Kf8?
Oct-01-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <What about 24...Kf8?>

Leads to mate after 25.Rxf6+!; I gave the line a few posts back. 24...Kf7 also loses to 25.Qh5+ g6 26.Qf3! and Black has to give back the piece and remain two pawns down (26...Qc3 27.Rxf6+! Qxf6 28.Qb7+ winning the rook on c8).

Gelfand should have castled instead of playing 22...Qxd2, and keep fighting with a pawn down but a rather solid position; in the interview after the game, Grischuk himself evaluates Black’s chances to draw in such a case as slightly better than White’s chances to win.

Oct-01-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Btw, Gelfand’s reluctance to castle in previous stages of the game wasn’t just perverse. For example, after 14.Ne4 0-0 White is winning with 15.Nxf6+ Bxf6 16.Nxd7 Bxb2 (16...Qxd7 17.Bxf6 gxf6 18.Bxh7+ Kxh7 19.Qh5+ Kg7 20.Qg4+ Kh7 21.Re3) 17.Nxf8 Bxa1 (17...Qxf8 18.Rb1 with the exchange up) 18.Nxe6 fxe6 19.Qxa1. On moves 15 & 16, castling by Black can be met by a double exchange on f6 followed by Qh5, forking h7 and c5 (though it’s possible that giving up the c5 pawn like that would have been better than the way Black actually lost a pawn in the game). And after 17.Re3(!), 17...0–0 loses outright to 18.Nxf6+ Bxf6 19.Bxh7+! Kxh7 20.Qh5+ Kg8 21.Rh3.
Oct-01-12  HeMateMe: Fillayed King is such a tasty meal. Perhaps, with a glass of dry white.
Oct-01-12  csmath: Closed sicilian used to be a good weapon in the hands of classical universal players like Capa and Spassky but this Bb5 line seems quite odd. Queenside fianchetto looks even weirder yet Gelfand has not found good plan against it and after 20 moves he was in serious trouble. I do not see anything wrong he did really. Perhaps here Kan setup just doesn't work since white has no plan to command the center but rather to attack kingside.

My knee-jerk reaction on b3 (or b3 and c4) is Dragon. I think Dragon setup would have worked here better. Unfortunately when you play e6 early Dragon does not look as an attractive option later.

I believe Grischuk has played this really smart

Oct-02-12  csmath: In the past 11. ... e5 has been played with closing of the center and the plan to install one of the knights on d4 forcing white to fight that off.

That seems very natural response to queenside fianchetto by white.

Positionally it looks a bit crappy though.

Oct-02-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: IMO Gelfand shouldn't have allowed G. to open his play and entangle his rather cramped position with 12.e5. 11.-e5 instead of Be7 would have made G.s two bishops unemployed for a while. Bd3 can't use c4 yet, and Bb2 would be in jail. True, it would give black a less flexible position, and it seems to me that Gelfand in this game couldn't decide on a clear direction of his strategy.

But the way he continued recklessly is highly surprising since one would assume that especially the experienced, battle-hardened Gelfand wouldn't make a principle mistake well-known since the days of Paul Morphy.

Oct-02-12  Xeroxx: woot.
Oct-02-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <But the way he continued recklessly is highly surprising since one would assume that especially the experienced, battle-hardened Gelfand wouldn't make a principle mistake well-known since the days of Paul Morphy.>

If this refers to his not castling, I've already explained in a previous post that starting from move 14 there was a concrete tactical problem with castling on every move - Black would be losing at least a pawn, if not more; in this regard, Grischuk's play was very efficient in this part of the game in putting pressure on Gelfand, who had to play to a large extent according to concrete calculations, rather than "general principles". Yeah, on move 22 Gelfand should have definitely castled instead of grabbing the pawn on d2, but by this stage he was already a pawn down (and in time trouble), and it was a matter of missing something concrete tactically - if Bxe6 doesn't work (and the way it works in all variations isn't trivial to calculate at all), then Black could get away with it and more or less equalize.

Oct-02-12  solskytz: <Eyal> castling on move 15 for black looks risky because of a k-side attack potential - the white pieces seem poised for that and just waiting for the moment black castles... however I didn't see the forced material loss.

This is contrary to move 14, where the pretty variation goes 14...0-0 15. Nxf6+ Bxf6 16. Nxd7 Bxb2

(or ...Qxd7 17. Bxf6 gf which looks nasty - I liked here 18. Qh5, much less so 18. Bxh7+ Kxh7 19. Qh5+ Kg7 with ...Ne5 or ...Ne7 coming)

now 17. Nxf8 Bxa1 18. Nxh7, and nastiness is peaking).

Maybe black 'was just waiting for the proper moment to castle, and maybe indeed the time to do it was at 22 rather than filling up on material - the challenges and dilemmas of practical play at any level, as distinct from analysis...

Oct-02-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <solskytz> As noted, I’ve mentioned that on a previous post – on moves 15 & 16, castling by Black can be met by a double exchange on f6 followed by Qh5, forking h7 and c5 (Black can actually save the pawn by Qh6 – so that Qxc5 is met by Qxd2 – but then a queen exchange seriously spoils his pawn structure). In retrospect, it might have been better to lose the c5 pawn like that than the way Black loses a pawn in the actual game, but I suppose that by this stage Gelfand still believed he could do better than that, missing the trouble that he was going to get into after 17.Re3! (a great practical move - really putting a stop to castling and preparing the doubling of rooks on the e-file - even if the computer thinks Black’s position is more or less ok after a crazy line like 17...h5 18.h3 Nd5 19.Qg3 Nxe3 20.Qxg7 Kd7 21.dxe3 Qg8 22.Qxh8 Qxh8 23.Bxh8 Rxh8).
Oct-02-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: <Eyal: ... If this refers to his not castling,> I didn't particularly refer to the not castling, but both to his general play and to the particular fact that he allowed 12.e5, thus letting white's officers into the game. Being behind in development I think it would be better to close the position instead of allowing it to open. Between moves 3 and 8 Gelfand made 5 - five - moves with the same Knight - if it hadn't been Gelfand, I think most of us would call it reckless or careless.
Oct-02-12  Ulhumbrus: Gelfand might get away with giving White an enormous lead in development and he might get away with letting White open the game but he couldn't get away with both
Oct-02-12  hugogomes: Yes Qxd2 was the mistake. 0-0 was better.
Oct-02-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Between moves 3 and 8 Gelfand made 5 - five - moves with the same Knight - if it hadn't been Gelfand, I think most of us would call it reckless or careless.> Well, during the same time Grischuk made 4 - four - moves with the bishop, and two of those five knight moves were just part of a repetition (the position after 8...Nc6 is identical with the one after 6...Nc6), so I'd say that's a somewhat exaggerated way to present things... But yeah, Black was behind in development and so allowing White to play 12.e5 was very risky - though it took some very clever play by Grischuk to exploit it to his advantage in the way he did. Probably better than 11...Be7 is either e5 or - if Black doesn't want to commit himself to such a pawn structure - Qc7.
Jul-16-14  Conrad93: Grischuk has a lot of guts to play such an opening at the Super-GM level...
Jul-22-14  N0B0DY: does it better
Jul-24-14  Conrad93: Why did black and white repeat moves from move 6-8?
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