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Shirov, Kamsky to clash in final

December 12, 2007 11:38 IST

Latvian-born Spaniard Alexei Shirov earned the right to meet Gata Kamsky of the United States in the final of the chess World Cup following a 1.5-0.5 victory over Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine in the rapid tie-break games of the semi-finals.

It turned out to be a rather one way battle for Shirov in the tie-breaker after first two games against Karjakin ended in draws on Tuesday.

Playing black in the first game, Shirov warded off some dangerous threats from Karjakin and came close to winning before signing peace.

In the return game, the Ukrainian was subjected to a lesson in the opening preparation as Shirov recorded a smooth victory.

Kamsky, who went through to the finals after beating Magnus Carlsen of Norway 1.5-0.5 in the normal games, has now got a very tough customer in Shirov in the finals of the strongest knock-out event of the world.

The stakes for both Shirov and Kamsky are high as the winner of this match becomes a part of the next World championship cycle according to the rules laid down by the world chess federation.

The second game of the tie-breaker turned out to be a nightmare for Karjakin. Playing black in the oft-repeated Marshall gambit, the youngest ever GM in the world faced a variation in which he appeared at sea once the dust subsided.

As is typical of the opening, Shirov remained a pawn plus for the major part of the game and simply cashed on in his material superiority. According to the pundits of the game, Shirov was a treat to watch in the ensuing endgame where he won without offering any chances after being on top.

Earlier in the first game, Karjakin scared Shirov but the latter remained in contention throughout showing steely nerves in extremely complicated situations.

Once it became clear that Karjakin's threats yielded him little, many expected Shirov to carry home his advantage but the Ukrainian remained in the game thanks to some timely exchanges and eventually split the point.

Final results, semi-finals: Gata Kamksy (Usa) beat Magnus Carlsen (Nor) 1.5-0.5; Sergey Karjakin (Ukr) lost to Alexei Shirov (Esp) 1-1, 0.5-1.5.

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