Wednesday, December 26, 2007

World Cup 2007 : Khanty - Mansiysk, Russia : Here is the crucial position in Game 2 of the final match between Gata Kamsky and Alexei Shirov. They played four games, three of which were drawn. This is the game that put Kamsky over the top. At first glance, it is not easy to ascertain who has the advantage since black's rooks on the second rank looked very menacing plus the C3 pawn is ready for capture. With the C3 pawn gone, black will have a tremendous 3-pawn advantage on the queenside. The g8 square is defended by both the knight on h6 and the bishop on a2. White had to come out slugging, and at this point Kamsky played 32. Rd8+ Ng8 ( 32...Kg7 33. f6# ) 33. Ngf3...It was just fantastic how this knight ultimately played a decisive role in this game having started so far away on the g1 square. Shirof went 33...Rc3+ 34. Kf4 Rh5 35. Rg1 Rf6 ( 35...b5 36. Rgg8+ Bg8 37. Nf7+ Kg7 38. Nh6 Bb3 39. Ne5 Rc1 40. Kg5 Rg1+ 41. Neg4 and the black king is alone and very vulnerable ) 36. Ng5 h6 37. Ngf7+ 1 - 0. If play continued, it would have gone 37... Bf7 38. Nf7+ Rf7 39. Rgg8 Kh7 40. Ke5 and black does not have the time to promote his queenside pawns.

So, we now have an American in the coming WC cycle. Kamsky's next assignment is to beat Topalov (Sept. 2008) and then play the winner of the Kramnik-Anand match. Congrats to Gata Kamsky!


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