Alexander Grischuk – Boris Gelfand
Candidates’ Final Match – Game 5
Courtesy of Chessbomb and Chessdom, with analysis by GM Naiditsch

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 Today we start on time, 13.00 and Sasha opens with 1.d4.

2… e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O This opening we already saw in many games during the Candidate Matches, in the match Kramnik – Radjabov as well as when Grischuk made few shorts draws against Kramnik. Let’s hope he prepared something for today…and let it be not a draw offer on move 15.

6. e3 Nbd7 7. c5 Nh5 8. Be2 Early novelty by Grischuk! Normally white place the bishop on d3. What can be the difference…difficult to say. The regular continuation after 8.Bd3 could be 8…Nf4 ef 9.ef b6 10.b4 a5 11.a3 c6, with about equal play. In the game against Kramnik he offered a draw in about this position, so probably the seconds have done some work over the last week. I guess soon we will either see the great idea why the bishop on e2 is standing better or we will see another short draw. Boris is trying to figure out the difference between the bishop position on d3 and e2.

8… c6 Boris decides not to take on f4, but plays 8…c6 first. Maybe he found the difference between the Bishop on d3 and e2? Or just avoiding Grischuk’s preparation?

9. O-O Maybe he found the difference between the Bishop on d3 and e2? Or just avoiding Grischuk’s preparation?

9… Nxf4 10. exf4 Maybe 10…Qc7 forcing white to play g3 or Qd2 and then b6 and a5? Also possible is to play 10…b6 11.b4 a5 and 12.b5?! is a bad move because of simple 12…Bb7. In Chess Evolution July edition we will analyze several of the most interesting games of the Candidate Matches. Also the format of the book will we changed. We will provide more verbal commentary and explanations, giving the reader the main ideas of the positions. We hope to make every game in the Chess Evolution July edition like a small lecture 🙂 It looks like the last two players in Kazan are super tired! Games are getting shorter, thoughts are getting longer.

10… f6 Completely unexpected! Boris is trying something new 10…f6!? A very interesting idea, black just wants to play next e5! If white tries to prevent it by playing 11.b4, then black can play first 11…a5 12.a3 Qc7, and e5 coming next. With white Bishop on d3, 10…f6 would be of course complete nonsense, because of the easy 11.Re1.

11. b4 Very bad news for Boris, Sasha played almost instantly 11.b4. This means that he is familiar with the move 10…f6. I am certain that Boris hoped to surprise Grischuk with 10…f6. So now 11…Qc7 or 11…a5 are the most logical continuations.

11… Qc7 12. Qd2 Boris has to play 12…e5. The position is very complicated and difficult to evaluate. Computer’s evaluation can be misleading here. Gelfand’s plan with 10…f6 is looking a bit risky to me. How can he continue after 12…e5 and let’s say 13.Rfe1? Then 13…e4 is not possible because of 14.Ne4! de 15.Bc4 Kh8 16.Re4 and white is almost winning. And also another important fact is that Grischuk seems to know this position…and Boris doesn’t.

12… Rf7 What can we say about 12…Rf7, Boris admits he is worse, and maybe much worse. I think now 13.Rfe1 or Rae1 are giving white big advantage.

13. Rae1 I think Boris has to play 13…a5, to at least have eventually some play in the future. Putting the knight on f8 now and “holding tight” should be a wrong decision I think.

13… Nf8 Boris is choosing the passive defense. White’s next moves could be Bd3, g3, Kg2, h4, h5, to double the rooks on the e-file. Black position is looking quite bad and no counterplay at all. A big chance for Sasha to win his first “standard” game in the Candidate Matches.

14. Bd3 By the way, the players are much quicker today, by spending only 1h 50 for the first 13 moves instead of yesterday’s 2h 10min. Candidates Matches are brought to you thanks to Chess Evolution, Chess Friends and Lord Of Chess.

14… Bd7 I can see only one good thing about the game going so slow till now – later it will get much faster!

15. g3 It is still not possible to give the verdict about 8.Be2, because Boris played 10…f6, we didn’t see the critical 10…b6.

15… Re8 15…e5 been a bad move, just Bh3 17.Nd4 and whites position is looking overwhelming.

16. Re3 Bd8 17. Rfe1 Qb8 How to break through the “black wall”? I think Kg2 is always a good move, then h4-h5. Maybe also to insert a3, should be never bad. And white has endless time…black’s next moves might be just something like Rfe7 and Qc8-b8, simply waiting for Sasha to do something.

18. Na4 A bit strange. I can see only one logical idea behind this move, to bring the knight to d3.
18… Bc7 Sasha is thinking again…perhaps he even managed to surprise himself with the 18.Na4 🙂

19. Nb2 Rfe7 20. Qc3 Grischuk is carefully preventing any counterplay for black, and here it can only be e5!

20… Rd8 Now probably back to the knight maneuver, so 21.Bf1 with the idea 22.Nd3. Gelfand’s moves look like they make no sense, but he is just waiting for white to start doing something and hopes to get some counter-chances then.

21. Bf5 Rf7 Grischuk is bringing his bishop to h3 and “finally” next the knight goes to d3. But would it not be better for white first to put the pawn to h4 and then Bishop on h3? Of course, Grischuk has enough time to do this in the future.

22. Bg4 What a sudden chance for black now, maybe 22…e5 23.Bd7 exf4 is possible! I think Boris won’t miss such an opportunity, the position is almost equal now after e5!

22… e5 23. Bxd7 exf4 It is a clear sign that Grischuk is very tired, in good shape he would never give black a chance to free the position. I think he has to play 24.Be8 now. Candidates Matches are brought to you thanks to Chess Evolution, Chess Friends and Lord Of Chess.

24. Be8 And perhaps a draw offer from white…after such a blunder it is very difficult to play.

24… fxe3 After 25.Bf7 Kf7 followed by Re8 the game looks like a dead draw. 25.Qe3 is probably the best way to continue, as a final attempt to play for a win.

25. Qxe3 25…Re8 26.Qe8 Qe8 27.Re8 Rd7 28.Ra8 a6 seems to be a draw.

25… Ng6 Still remains equal position. Pity for Grischuk, today he had a huge chance to take the lead in the match.

26. Bxf7+ Kxf7 27. Qe6+ Kf8 28. Qh3 Grischuk’s last try…I think now 28…Qc8 is very very strong!

28… Qc8 When it comes to defense Boris is getting super strong! Not leaving any chances to white! Now his seconds can start the preparation for the last classical game of tomorrow.

29. Qxc8 Rxc8 30. Kf1 Re8 31. Rb1 Ke7 Black king is standing very good on d7, protecting everything. Afterword black will bring the knight to e6, and maybe play b6 or a5.

32. Nd3 a6 33. a4 Kd7 34. b5 Hmmm, why is Grischuk giving up the a-file? Now 34…ab 35.ab Ra8 and only black can fight for a win in my opinion.

34… axb5 35. axb5 cxb5 Strange, why to play 35…cb? 35…Ra8 been a better move.

36. Rxb5 Rb8 Now of course it is still a draw, but why not to try your luck, Grischuk is clearly in very bad shape today.

37. Nb4 Ne7 38. Ne1 Nc6 This is looking very solid. Also 38…b6 should bring an easy draw. Stay tuned for a video analysis here.

39. Nxc6 Thank you all for following the live coverage with GM Arkadij Naiditsch on and! See you again tomorrow 13:00 CET. ½-½

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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