THE comeback trail continues for former prodigy Gata Kamsky, as he celebrated his 39th birthday in style on Sunday by demolishing Russia’s Alexander Morozevich in the penultimate round of the Fide Thessaloniki Grand Prix in Greece to hold onto his lead over the field going into the final round.
Kamsky is currently enjoying an Indian summer, and his win over the Russian gives him an astonishing closing streak of 4.5/5 so far in the GP, moving him ever closer to what would be a remarkable late-career win.
On 7.5/10, Kamsky has a half point lead at the top over Leinier Dominguez of Cuba. But Kamsky’s final round match-up, against the Miami-born and Brooklyn-raised Fabiano Caruana could prove to be his toughest test yet, with the young Italian needing to go all out to win for the outside chance of an upset GP victory.
Earlier this month, Kamsky claimed his fourth US title, 22 years after he won his first as a teenager.
Yet despite the hype of his rival and US No 1, Hikaru Nakamura, Kamsky is the only American to qualify to play a title match against a world champion since Bobby Fischer 41 years ago.
Kamsky’s match was against Anatoly Karpov in 1996, after which he took a time-out from the game for the best part of seven years.
Standings: 1. Kamsky, 7.5/10; 2. Dominguez, 7; 3. Caruana, 6.5; 4-5. Grischuk, Ponomariov, 5.5; 6. Kasimdzhanov, 5; 7-8. Svidler, Topalov, 4.5; 9-10. Bacrot, Nakamura, 4; 11. Morozevich, 3.5; 12. Ivanchuk, 2.5.
G Kamsky - A Morozevich
Thessaloniki Grand Prix, (10)
Ruy Lopez, Chigorin variation
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0–0 Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 d6 8 c3 0–0 9 h3 Na5 10 Bc2 c5 11 d4 cxd4 12 cxd4 exd4 13 Nxd4 Re8 14 Nc3 Bb7 15 Nf5 Rc8 16 Bg5 Nc4 17 Qd4 Nxb2 18 Bb3 Nc4 19 Rad1 Qd7 20 Rd3 Bd8 21 Nxg7! Re5 22 Nf5 Nxe4 23 Nh6+ Kf8 24 Bxd8 Rxd8 25 f4 1–0