Wow! So, today was the first game of the 2011 World Championship Candidates Matches being held in Kazan. All four games were draws, though two were exciting games to watch. Naturally, as an American, I’m cheering for my fellow Brooklynite Gata Kamsky. This morning at 7am New York time when I was frying and egg and making coffee I was shocked by the first few moves of their game. In a standard Sicilian Najdorf, Kamsky played 6.a4!? and then followed it up with 7.a5! GM Danielsen describes some of the ideas behind this wacky sideline over at Chessdom. Kamsky was just coming off from his win at the U.S. Championship and was in full form for this battle with Topalov. Topalov won a match a couple of years ago against Kamsky as you may recall, but since then Kamsky seems to have gotten sharper while perhaps Topa has fallen off his game a bit- so this match could easily go either way. I can’t wait for 7a.m. tomorrow morning when the battle resumes and Topa will have white.
Here is the first game in its entirety. Kamsky missed a couple of wins as outlined by GM Danielsen over at Chessdom, though the most surprising one to me was when Kamsky played 17.b3, when 17.Bb3 gives white a chokehold on the position, as it threatens Ba4 and thus allows white the push the black queen around and place his pieces actively on the queenside of the board.