Grandmaster of repute Boris Gelfand of Israel made it to the finals of the Chess World Cup following victory over Ukraine’s Sergey Karjakin in the second game of the semifinal.
In the other semifinal, Vladimir Malakhov of Russia failed to break the ice against Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine despite getting a complicated position and another drawn result means that the stalwarts will have to tackle it out in the tie-break games.
Having won the first game with black, it was Gelfand all the way. The seasoned campaigner just needed a draw with white to secure his berth in the finals.
The game began with a Slav defense, and Karjakin always got the position he was looking for - complexities mingled with enough chances. The problem was that Gelfand was well-armed, knowing exactly what to do when it was needed.
In the words of former Soviet champion Lev Psakhis who is currently in New Delhi it was deep preparation and indeed it reaped high dividends.
Gelfand was on top in the middle game when he attacked the black king with overwhelming security. Karjakin fell back on his defenses soon after never to recover and with slow but steady maneuvers, Gelfand’s advantage increased.
A pieces sacrifice followed by routine moves saw the Israeli well on top and soon after it was just a matter of routine technique.
The other game was interesting as well as both Ponomariov and Malakhov tried a few tricks before signing peace.
“We had a very interesting and complicated game. Ruslan found an opportunity to make it not easy and the position became unclear. I had a pawn plus, but my opponent had an obvious compensation. I could have played stronger in a way. Truly speaking I don’t know what would happen if Ruslan did not offer a draw. We both had a chance, but if you intend to win, you risk. There is almost no time and there is a danger to miscalculate,” Malakhov explained after agreeing to a draw in an unclear position.