THE first three games in the World Championship Candidates' final match in Kazan, Russia, between Alexander Grischuk and Boris Gelfand, have all been drawn games – two of which being epic struggles that Grischuk came close to winning, and the other, a big surprise opening novelty from Gelfand … only for that game to fizzle out to a 14-move draw.
Even the 14-move draw had its moments, with an adventurous gambit-play by Gelfand as early as move nine in a Queen's Gambit Declined, but both players spent too much time analysing all the ramifications of it that they mutually "bottled out" of the fight.
We're now come down to the crunch of the final three games that will be played this week. If it is still tied at 3-3 after that, the match will move into a nerve-jangling series of rapid and blitz tiebreakers. If the tie is still not broken, then it will all be decided by one sudden-death Armageddon game.
All of which will put additional pressures on both players with so much at stake, as the winner will go forward to play a 12-game World Title match next year against the current world champion, Vishy Anand.
B Gelfand – A Grischuk
Candidates Final, (2)
1 Nf3 c5 2 c4 Nc6 3 Nc3 e5 4 g3 g6 5 Bg2 Bg7 6 a3 Nge7 7 b4 d5 8 cxd5 Nxd5 9 Ng5 Nc7 10 d3 cxb4 11 axb4 e4 12 Ngxe4 f5 13 Bg5 Bxc3+ 14 Kf1 Qd4 15 Nxc3 Qxc3 16 Bf4 Nb5 17 Rc1 Qf6 18 Rc5 a6 19 Bxc6+ bxc6 20 Be5 Qf8 21 Qc1 Bd7 22 Bxh8 Qxh8 23 Qe3+ Kf7 24 Re5 Qf8 25 h4 h5 26 Qf4 Qd6 27 Kg2 Kf6 28 Re4 Qxf4 29 Rxf4 Be6 30 Rc1 Ke7 31 f3 Kd6 32 Kf2 Rb8 33 e4 Nc7 34 g4 fxg4 35 Rf6 gxf3 36 Rxg6 Rxb4 37 Rh6 a5 38 Rxh5 a4 39 Rhc5 Bd7 40 Kxf3 Ne6 41 R5c4 c5 42 h5 Rb2 43 Rh1 Nd4+ 44 Ke3 Be6 45 e5+! Kxe5 46 Rxc5+ Bd5 47 Rxd5+ Kxd5 48 h6 Re2+ 49 Kf4 Ne6+ 50 Kg3 Nf8 51 h7 Nxh7 52 Rxh7 a3 53 Kf3 Re1 54 Ra7 Ra1 55 Ke3 a2 56 Ra5+ Kc6 57 Kd4 Kb6 58 Ra8 Kb7 draw agreed