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Gelfand wins World Cup semi-final

GM Boris Gelfand swept his opponent Sergey Karjakin 2-0 in the semi-finals of the FIDE World Cup currently being held in Siberia. Gelfand, currently a resident of Israel, won the second game of the mini-match early this morning (EST). Gelfand won as Black in the first game of the match and with the White pieces in the second. He must, however, wait to learn the identity of his opponent in the final round: Rusian Ponomariov and Vladimnir Malakhov remain deadlocked after two games (both of which were drawn).

The tiebreaks for Ponomariov and Malakhov are scheduled to be played tomorrow (Dec. 8).

Here is the second draw between them, a Slav Defense which results in an unusual endgame configuration.

Ponomariov-Malakhov
FIDE World Cup 2009

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 a6 5. c5 Nbd7 6. Bf4 Nh5 7. Bd2 Nhf6 8. Bf4
Nh5 9. Bg5 h6 10. Bd2 Nhf6 11. Qc2 Qc7 12. e4 dxe4 13. Nxe4 Nxe4 14. Qxe4 Nf6
15. Qc2 Be6 16. Ne5 Nd7 17. Bf4 Nxe5 18. Bxe5 Qa5+ 19. Qc3 Qxc3+ 20. bxc3 Bf5
21. O-O-O O-O-O 22. Be2 f6 23. Bg3 e5 24. Rhe1 Be7 25. Kb2 Rd7 26. dxe5 Bxc5
27. exf6 gxf6 28. Bh5 Rxd1 29. Rxd1 Rd8 30. Bf4 Rxd1 31. Bxd1

{Here’s something you don’t see every day: a four Bishop endgame.}

31….Bf8 32. g4 Be6 33. h4 b5 34. h5 Kd7 35. Be3 c5 36. Bf3 Kc7 37. Bf4+ Kb6 38. Be3 Kc7 39. Bf4+ Kb6
40. Be3

{After forty moves, neither player is able to make progress or induce an opponent’s error, so they call it a day.Computer analysis to a 21-ply
depth shows this position to be dead even (0.00 evaluation).} 1/2-1/2

If you’d like to learn more about the Slav Defense, or you’d just like to expand your endgame knowledge, ChessCentral highly recommends the following products:

Starting Out: Slav and Semi-Slav by Glenn Flear is a ChessBase-format e-book which teaches the basics. Unlike many opening books and DVDs which assume a player already has a firm background with the opening in question, Starting Out starts from scratch and works its way up. It’s ideal for the weekend tournament player who doesn’t have days to devote to learning a new opening.

Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual by Mark Dvoretsky is deservedly considered to be a modern classic. It has become the standard work on the endgame for players the world over. This CD version (in ChessBase format) makes the material much easier to absorb for most players, but a print version is available as well.

Have fun! — Steve

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