A match between Boris Gelfand, 48, and Ernesto Inarkiev, 30, was dominated by the older grandmaster.

Boris Gelfand’s still got it.

Gelfand, 48, an Israeli grandmaster, has won a match against Ernesto Inarkiev of Russia that ended Friday. The 12-game match kicked off last week and included six classical and six rapid games. Gelfand won two and drew four of the classical games and then dominated in the rapid games as well, scoring three wins and two draws before losing the final game. Since the games played at a classical time control counted double, the overall score was a lopsided 12-6 in Gelfand’s favor.

Despite the disparity on the scoreboard, Inarkiev has not played especially badly. Instead, Gelfand has been playing well, winning more of the theoretical battles and making the best use of his chances. The first two games (a draw followed by a Gelfand win) were covered in last week’s column. This was Game 3, the first of four Rossolimos in the match:

Inarkiev, Ernesto vs. Gelfand, Boris
Gelfand-Inarkiev Classical | Magas RUS | Round 3 | 15 Jul 2016 | ECO: B31 | 1/2-1/2
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 A surprise, as Gelfand had played
3... e6 many times in the past, but not 3...g6, or at least not recently.  )
4. Bxc6
4. O-O is also very common, but Inarkiev's move has been the main line for years.  )
4... bxc6
4... dxc6 is also possible, but here, as opposed to the Exchange Variation of the Ruy Lopez, Black can construct a large pawn center, and generally prefers to do so.  )
5. O-O Bg7 6. Re1 Nh6 7. c3 O-O 8. h3
8. d4 is more common, but Inarkiev's move has been popular lately.  )
8... f5 9. e5 Nf7 10. d3
10. d4 has also been tried, with good results for Black after
10... cxd4 11. cxd4 Bb7 or
...   )
10... Ba6 11. c4 e6
11... d6 12. e6 Ne5 has also been seen this year, e.g. in a draw between Adams and Giri from Wijk aan Zee.  )
12. Nc3 g5 13. Be3 h5
13... g4 14. hxg4 fxg4 15. Nh2 g3 16. fxg3 Nxe5 17. Bxc5 d6 18. Be3 Rb8 19. Qd2 c5 20. Re2 Qf6 21. Bf4 Qg6 22. Rd1 Bb7 23. Nb5 Rbd8 24. Nxd6 Rxd6 25. Bxe5 Bh6 26. Qc3 Rd7 27. g4 Rdf7 28. Bg3 Bg7 29. Be5 Bh6 30. Bg3 Bg7 31. Be5 1/2-1/2 (31) Kasimdzhanov,R (2703)-Mamedov,R (2655) Almaty 2016  )
14. h4 White could take on c5, when Black can reply with an interesting exchange sac:
14. Bxc5 g4 15. Bxf8 (Not forced.)
15... Qxf8 16. Nd4 Nxe5 17. hxg4 Qd6! 18. gxf5 Qxd4 19. Re4 Qxd3 appears complicated to human eyes, but the engine offers triple zeroes: full equality.  )
14... g4 15. Ng5 Nxe5 16. Bxc5 Ng6 Reiterating the offer, and again Inarkiev declines.
16... Re8  )
17. g3
17. Bxf8  )
17. Qa4  )
17... Re8 18. Qa4 Bb7 White enjoys more space, but Black has a large mass of central pawns and the bishop pair. Inarkiev decides not to test Gelfand's idea any further, but goes for a repetition.
19. Qb4 Ba6 20. Qa3 Bb7 21. Qb4 Ba6 22. Qa3 Bb7 23. Qb4

Very good preparation by Gelfand led to an easy draw. In Game 4, his preparation was also better, but Inarkiev handled the post-opening phase more adroitly and even enjoyed slightly better chances as the game went along.

Gelfand, Boris vs. Inarkiev, Ernesto
Gelfand-Inarkiev Classical | Magas RUS | Round 4 | 18 Jul 2016 | ECO: A20 | 1/2-1/2
1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 h6 This isn't Black's main move, but it's a known move with the logical idea of preventing a later Bg5, which would exert pressure on a Black pawn center composed of pawns on light squares.
4. Nf3
4. Nc3 Bb4 is usual.  )
4... e4 5. Nd4 d5 6. d3 exd3 7. cxd5 Bb4+ 8. Nc3 Nxd5 9. Qxd3 O-O 10. O-O White has found a setup that makes Black's third move irrelevant, and enjoys a pleasant edge as a result.
10... Nxc3 11. bxc3 Bc5 12. Rb1 Perhaps this isn't the most accurate move, but even so White's positional compensation for the slight weakness on c3 is evident. His queenside pressure and lead in development give him the advantage.
12. Rd1  )
12. Bf4  )
12... c6 13. Bf4 Na6 14. Rfd1 Qf6 15. Qe4
15. e4 Bb6 16. Qc2 Nc5 17. Be3 White will expand in the center with f4 and e5.  )
15... Bb6 16. Be5?! Qe7 17. Bf4 Qxe4 18. Bxe4 Re8 19. Bf3 Nc5 Now Black is okay. The queenside pressure has been neutralized and White's center isn't going anywhere for a while.
20. h4 Ne4 21. Rbc1 g5 22. hxg5 hxg5 23. Be3 g4 24. Bxe4 Rxe4 25. Rd3 Bd7 Black stands better. Gelfand does a good job of holding tight, and Inarkiev is unable to grow the advantage into a win.
26. c4 c5 27. Nb5 Bc6 28. Nd6 Re5 29. f3 Rd8 30. Kf2 Rh5 31. Kg2
31. fxg4  )
31... Bc7
31... Kg7 was stronger, not just to activate the king (which will go to g6) but clearing the way for Black to double rooks on the h-file.  )
32. Rcd1 Kg7 Too late.
33. Nb5! Now Black doesn't have time to double, and the White king can breathe a sigh of relief.
33... Rxd3 34. Rxd3 Bb6 35. Nc3 Ba5 36. Bf4 gxf3+ 37. exf3 Rh8 38. Ne4 Re8 39. Re3 Rd8 40. g4 Kg6 41. Nxc5 Rd2+ 42. Kg3 Rxa2 43. Nd3 Rc2 44. Bd6 Kg7 45. c5 Bd2 46. Re7 Bg5 47. Rc7 a5 48. Ne5 Bd5 49. Nd7 Re2 50. Be5+ Rxe5!? A little risky, but it doesn't seem that White has any clear way to punish Black.
50... Kg6 was fine.  )
51. Nxe5 a4 52. Rd7 Be6 53. Rxb7
53. c6! was stronger, but after
53... bxc6 54. Ra7 Bb3 55. Nxc6 Bf6 56. Kf4 Bb2 57. Ke3 a3 58. Nb4 Kh6 59. Nd3 Kg7 it looks like a fortress.  )
53... a3 54. f4 a2 55. Ra7 Be7 56. Nd3 Bf6 57. Ne5 Be7 58. Nd3 Bf6 59. Ne5 Be7 60. Nd3

Game 5 was another Rossolimo, and Gelfand varied first.

Inarkiev, Ernesto vs. Gelfand, Boris
Gelfand-Inarkiev Classical | Magas RUS | Round 5 | 19 Jul 2016 | ECO: B31 | 1/2-1/2
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 4. Bxc6 bxc6 5. O-O Bg7 6. Re1 Nh6 7. c3 O-O 8. h3 d5 Gelfand varies first, not waiting to see what Inarkiev has cooked up.
8... f5 was played in game 3.  )
9. d3 c4 10. dxc4 dxe4 11. Qxd8 Rxd8 12. Rxe4 e5
12... Rd1+ 13. Re1 Rxe1+ 14. Nxe1 Nf5 15. Na3 Be6 16. Nf3 Nd6 17. Nd4 Bxd4 18. cxd4 Nxc4 19. Nxc4 Bxc4 20. b3 Bd5 21. Ba3 Kf8 22. Re1 Be6 23. Rc1 Bd5 24. Re1 Be6 25. Rc1 Bd5 26. Re1 1/2-1/2 (26) Rublevsky,S (2692)-Dubov,D (2644) Sochi 2016  )
13. Re1 f6 14. Nbd2 Nf7 White's extra pawn is permanent and meaningful. Mitigating this is Black's center, the bishop pair, and the slight devaluation of White's majority due to the extra pawn's being doubled. It isn't clear that this a better option for Black than the Rublevsky-Dubov game, but Gelfand's strength and conscientiousness gives us reason to trust his judgment.
15. Nb3
15. Ne4  )
15... a5 16. Be3 a4 17. Bb6 Re8
17... axb3!? 18. Bxd8 Nxd8 19. axb3 Rb8 20. b4  )
18. Nc5 g5
18... Bf8! 19. b3 Bxc5! 20. Bxc5 Bf5 Later in the match, Gelfand will choose a third option:  )
18... Bf5!  )
19. b3 g4 20. hxg4 axb3 21. axb3 Bxg4 22. Nh4
22. Na6! Bxf3 23. gxf3 f5 24. Nc7 Rxa1 25. Rxa1 Rb8 26. Ne6! Re8 27. Nxg7 Kxg7 28. f4!  )
22... f5 23. Rxa8 Rxa8 24. Nd7 f4 25. Nc5 Rb8 26. Bc7 Rc8 27. Ba5 Ra8 28. Bb4 Gelfand has done very well the last few moves to keep White from activating his 3-1 pawn majority on the queenside. White's pieces are poorly coordinated and are doing a better job of impeding their queenside pawns than of helping them up the board.
28. b4 Nd6  )
28... Ng5
28... Bf6!  )
29. Nd3
29. f3  )
29... e4! Very nice.
30. Nxf4 Be5 White is two pawns up, but his coordination is terrible.
31. g3
31. Ne2?? Bxe2 32. Rxe2?? Ra1+ 33. Re1 Rxe1#  )
31... Kf7 32. Rc1 Ra2 Not bad, but there was even better.
32... Bxf4! 33. gxf4 Nh3+ 34. Kh2 Nxf2  )
33. Bc5 Bxf4 34. gxf4 Nh3+ 35. Kh2 Nxf4 36. Re1 Nd3 37. Rxe4 Nxc5 From here, the game is always headed to a draw, but it's only agreed to at a point when agreement is no longer necessary.
38. Rf4+ Ke6 39. b4 Na4 40. Re4+ Kf6 41. Rxg4 Rxf2+ 42. Kg3 Rc2 43. Rf4+ Ke6 44. Nf3 Rxc3 45. Re4+ Kf6 46. Rf4+ Ke6 47. Kg4 Nb2 48. Re4+ Kf6 49. Rf4+ Ke6 50. Ng5+ Kd7 51. Rf7+ Kc8 52. c5 Nd3 53. Rxh7 Rc4+ 54. Kf5 Rxb4 55. Ne6 Kb8 56. Kf6 Rc4 57. Rh5 Nf4 58. Rh8+ Kb7 59. Nd8+ Ka6 60. Nxc6 Rxc5 61. Nb8+ Kb5 62. Nd7 Rc6+ 63. Kf5 Nd5 64. Rb8+ Nb6 65. Rxb6+ Rxb6 66. Nxb6 Kxb6

Gelfand still led by a point – or rather, two points on the doubled scoring system – going into the final classical game, and he won in excellent style with a direct kingside attack in an important and currently popular line of the Queen’s Indian Defense:

Gelfand, Boris vs. Inarkiev, Ernesto
Gelfand-Inarkiev Classical | Magas RUS | Round 6 | 20 Jul 2016 | ECO: E15 | 1-0
1. d4 As in game 2, but not game 4.
1... Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Varying from game 2, in which Gelfand played 3.Nc3, allowing the Nimzo-Indian.
3... b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. b3 d5
5... Bb4+  )
6. Bg2 Bb4+ 7. Bd2 Be7 8. cxd5 exd5 9. O-O O-O 10. Nc3 This line received a very high-level workout at the Candidates Tournament earlier this year, showing up in five(!) of Karjakin's games. He drew all four times he reached this position with Black, and won his game with White, against Nakamura.
10... Re8
10... Nbd7 11. Qc2 Re8 12. Rfd1 Nf8 13. Ne5 Bb7 14. Bc1 Ne6 15. Bb2 Bd6 16. e3 a6 17. Ne2 c5 18. dxc5 Nxc5 19. Nd3 Nce4 20. Rac1 Rc8 21. Qb1 Qe7 22. Bd4 Rxc1 23. Rxc1 b5 24. b4 Nd7 25. a3 Nf8 26. Ba1 Ne6 27. Qa2 Bc7 28. Nd4 Bb6 29. h4 Nxg3 30. fxg3 Nxd4 31. Bxd4 Bxd4 32. exd4 Qe3+ 33. Qf2 Qxd3 34. Rc7 f5 35. Rxb7 h6 36. Bxd5+ Kh7 37. Bg2 Re2 38. Bf1 1-0 (38) Karjakin,S (2760)-Nakamura,H (2790) Moscow 2016  )
11. Ne5 Nakamura and Topalov tried
11. Rb1 against Karjakin, while Caruana went with  )
11. a3  )
11... Bb7 12. Bc1 Nbd7 13. Bb2 Bd6 14. f4 The main move in the database, but it appeared mostly in old games.
14. Nd3 a5 15. Rc1 c6 16. Na4 Rc8 17. e3 Ba6 18. Re1 h5 19. Bh3 Ng4 20. Nf4 g6 21. Bxg4 hxg4 22. Qxg4 Nf6 23. Qg5 Be7 24. Nxg6 fxg6 25. Qxg6+ Kh8 26. Nc5 bxc5 27. dxc5 Rf8 28. Qh6+ Kg8 29. Qg6+ Kh8 30. Qh6+ Kg8 1/2-1/2 (30) Giri,A (2793)-Karjakin,S (2760) Moscow 2016  )
14... c5
14... a6 15. e3 Qe7 16. g4 Ne4 17. Nxe4 dxe4 18. Nxd7 Qxd7 1/2-1/2 (16) Flohr, S-Stahlberg,G Gothenburg 1957  )
14... Ne4 15. Nxe4 dxe4 16. e3 Nf6 17. a3 c5 18. Qe2 cxd4 19. Bxd4 Qe7 20. b4 a5 21. b5 Bxe5 22. Bxe5 Nd7 23. Bd4 Nc5 24. f5 Nd7 25. f6 Qe6 26. Qh5 Ne5 27. Rf5 Ng6 28. fxg7 Rad8 29. Qxh7+ 1-0 (27) Botvinnik,M-Padevsky,N Monte Carlo 1968  )
15. e3 cxd4
15... a6 16. Rc1 Rc8 17. Na4 b5 18. Nxd7 Nxd7 19. Nxc5 Nxc5 20. dxc5 Bxc5 21. Rxc5 Rxc5 22. Bxg7 d4 23. Bxd4 Bxg2 24. Bxc5 Bxf1 25. Qg4+ Kh8 26. Bd4+ f6 27. Qf5 Kg7 28. Kxf1 Qd6 29. Qg5+ Kf8 30. Qf5 Kg8 31. Qg4+ Kf8 32. Qh5 Rc8 33. Qxh7 Rc1+ 34. Kg2 Qc6+ 35. Kh3 Rc2 36. Qh8+ Kf7 37. Qh7+ Kf8 38. Qh6+ Kf7 39. Qh5+ Kf8 40. Qh6+ Kf7 41. Qh7+ Kf8 42. Qh6+ Kf7 43. Qh7+ Kf8 44. Qh8+ 1/2-1/2 (42) Rashkovsky,N (2485)-Kuzmin,G (2565) Sochi 1976  )
15... Rc8! looks like a sensible alternative.
16. Bh3 is slightly irritating, but even so Black seems able to equalize with
16... cxd4 17. Nb5 Bxe5! 18. fxe5 Nxe5 19. exd4! Nc6 20. Bxc8 Bxc8 21. Rc1 Bg4 22. Qc2 Nb4 23. Qc7 Nd3 Of course, it's one thing to find this line with a computer at home; another to find - and trust - this over the board.  )
16. exd4 Bb4
16... a6  )
16... Rc8  )
17. Rc1 Bxc3
17... Rc8  )
18. Rxc3 Ne4 Black's knight looks impressive, but it turns out not to be as big an asset as he might have hoped.
19. Rc2 Nf8?!
19... f6 was best, chasing the knight before White starts mounting threats on the kingside.  )
20. Qh5 g6 21. Qh6 Black swapped off his dark-squared bishop to get the knight to e4, and now he's paying the price for it: the dark squares around his king are weak and there's no bishop to help. As for the beautiful knight on e4, White will exchange it followed by d5 (aiming to open the long dark-squared diagonal) or f5 (to open the f-file for the rooks). Black is in big trouble.
21... f6?
21... Rc8 had to be played. Still, White enjoys a big advantage:
22. Bxe4 dxe4 23. Rc4 b5 Despite the threat to his rook, White can ignore this and play either of his thematic breaks.
24. d5! bxc4 25. Nc6 Qb6+ 26. Bd4 f6 27. Bxb6 axb6 28. bxc4 Bxc6 29. dxc6 Rxc6 30. f5  )
21... f5 stops f4-f5 and allows Black to defend along the 7th rank. It's not enough:
22. Bxe4 dxe4 23. d5 Re7 24. Rd1 Qd6 25. Qh4 followed by Nc4, with a winning advantage.  )
22. Bxe4! fxe5
22... dxe4 23. Ng4 Bd5 Stopping d5, but not - you guessed it:
24. f5  )
23. f5! Re7
23... dxe4 24. f6! Black can stop Qg7# or f7+, but not both - at least not unless he plays something like
24... Re7 , which is also hopeless:
25. fxe7 Qxe7 26. Ba3! Qg7 27. Qxg7+ Kxg7 28. Rc7+  )
24. Bg2 e4 25. Ba3 Rf7?
25... Rg7 loses more slowly.
26. Bh3 Ba6 27. Rff2 Bd3 28. f6 Rf7 29. Be7 Qe8 30. Rc1 a5 31. Qg5  )
26. fxg6 Rxf1+ 27. Bxf1 Nxg6 28. Rf2
28. Bh3! Bc8 29. Rc6! Bxh3 30. Rxg6+ hxg6 31. Qxg6+ Kh8 32. Bd6 was the most brutal method.  )
28... Qd7 29. Bh3 Qc6 30. Be7 e3 31. Rf6 Qc1+ 32. Rf1 Qc6 33. Bf6 Black gets mated or loses everything (and then gets mated).

With the win, Gelfand finished the first half of the match with an 8-4 lead. By winning the first rapid game, he put Inarkiev in the position of needing to win the final five games to tie the match.

Inarkiev, Ernesto vs. Gelfand, Boris
Magas, Ingushetia | Magas, Ingushetia | Round 7 | 21 Jul 2016 | ECO: B31 | 0-1
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 4. Bxc6 bxc6 5. O-O Bg7 6. Re1 Nh6 7. c3 O-O 8. d4 Inarkiev played
8. h3 twice in the classical portion.  )
8... cxd4 9. cxd4 d5 10. e5 f6 11. exf6 exf6 The preceding moves are standard, and now White has a choice, with no one move dominating the others.
12. Nbd2
12. h3  )
12. Nc3  )
12. b3  )
12... Re8
12... g5!?  )
12... Nf5  )
12... Bf5  )
13. Nb3
13. h3  )
13... Nf7 Black had tried the inferior
13... Bg4 in a couple of relatively low-rated games, both of which finished with white wins. The reason it's not so good here, but is fine on the next move, when Gelfand plays it, can be seen in the following variation.
14. h3! Rxe1+ 15. Qxe1 Bxf3 This looks unpleasant for White at first glance, but thanks to the zwischenzugs
16. Bxh6! Bxh6 and
17. Qe6+! Kf8 he enjoys the better chances after
18. gxf3  )
14. Nc5?! Now
14. h3 looks like a good idea.  )
14... Bg4 15. Rxe8+ Now
15. h3?! Rxe1+ 16. Qxe1 Bxf3 /-/+ is simply better for Black - there's no Bxh6 followed by Qe6+ this time.  )
15... Qxe8 16. h3 Bxf3 17. Qxf3 Qe1+ 18. Kh2 Ng5 19. Qe3 Re8 Structurally White is in great shape, but Black is better due to White's laggardly development.
20. Bd2 Qe2! 21. Qxe2 Rxe2 22. Be3 Rxb2 23. Rc1 Bf8 24. h4 Bxc5 25. Rxc5 Ne4 26. Rxc6 Nxf2 27. Rc8+?!
27. Bxf2 Rxf2 28. Ra6 Rd2 29. Rxf6 Rxd4 30. Ra6 Rxh4+ 31. Kg3 should let White escape with a draw.  )
27... Kf7 28. Rc7+ Ke6 The h-pawn is not as important as an active king. White's margin of error is shrinking.
29. Bxf2 Rxf2 30. Rxa7?
30. Rxh7 Rxa2 31. Kh3 still ought to draw.  )
30... h5 Now the evaluation is far less clear.
31. Rg7 Kf5 32. Rd7 Ke4?! It was better to get rid of the offending pawn straight away.
32... Rxa2 33. Rxd5+ Kg4 34. Rd6 Rf2 35. d5 Kxh4 36. Rd8 Rd2  )
33. Rg7
33. a4! Kxd4 34. a5 Ra2 35. Ra7 gives White better chances. If White can swap his a-pawn for Black's d-pawn the resulting ending will almost certainly be a draw, so Black needs to seek progress by other means. The following analysis is suggestive but makes no claim to completeness:
35... f5! 36. Ra8 f4 37. Kg1 Ke4 38. Re8+ Kf5 39. Rf8+ Ke6 40. Re8+ Kf7 41. Ra8 Ke7 42. a6 d4 43. Ra7+ Ke6 44. Ra8 Kf5 45. Rf8+ Kg4 46. Rf6 d3 47. Rxg6+ Kf5 48. Rd6 Ra1+ 49. Kf2 Ke4 50. Re6+ Kd5 51. Re7 Rxa6 52. Re1 Kd4  )
33... Kxd4
33... Kf5  )
34. Rxg6
34. a4!  )
34... Ke4? A strange move, as there's no obvious reason why the king should retreat towards his kingside pawns. Every tempo is precious, and the king should come closer to the d-pawn's queening square.
34... Ke3!  )
35. Kg1?
35. a4!  )
35... Rf5
35... Ke3!  )
36. g4 hxg4 37. Rxg4+ Ke3?
37... Kd3!  )
38. Rg3+ Ke2?
38... Ke4!  )
39. Rg2+ Kd3 40. Rh2? White makes the last mistake, and now Black wins without any further hiccups.
40. Rf2! Rxf2 41. Kxf2 d4 42. h5  )
40... Rh5! 41. Kf2 d4! 42. Kf3 Kc3! 43. Kg4 Rd5! 44. Rf2 f5+ 45. Kg5 d3 46. h5 d2 47. Rf1 Kc2 48. h6 d1=Q 49. Rxd1 Kxd1 50. h7 f4+! The only winning move.
50... Rd8?? 51. Kxf5  )
51. Kg4 Rd8!

The next game was very well-played by both grandmasters, but the drawn finish meant that Gelfand had already clinched the match with four games remaining.

Gelfand, Boris vs. Inarkiev, Ernesto
Magas, Ingushetia | Magas, Ingushetia | Round 8 | 21 Jul 2016 | ECO: E18 | 1/2-1/2
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Bb7
4... Ba6 was played in the final classical game.  )
5. Bg2 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Re1 An old Kramnik favorite.
7. Nc3 is the classical main line move, while Polugaevsky's  )
7. d5 pawn sac still shows up from time to time.  )
7... Na6
7... d5 is the main alternative.  )
8. Nc3 And here
8. Ne5 is also relevant.  )
8... Ne4 9. Bf4 Nxc3 10. bxc3 Be4 11. Ne5 White has generally preferred
11. Bf1 , with the idea of continuing with Nd2 and e4 unless Black exchanges on f3.  )
11... Bxg2 12. Kxg2 d6 13. Nf3 Nb8 Black will maneuver the knight to a5, where it will pressure White's potentially weak pawn on c4.
14. e4 Nc6 15. Qd3 Na5 16. Nd2 Qc8 17. Nb3 Eliminating the knight just in time.
17... Qa6 18. Nxa5 Qxa5 19. a4 c6 20. Bd2 Rac8 The position is equal, as White's space advantage is offset by his queenside pawn weaknesses. Additionally, the extra space isn't that important with three pairs of minor pieces already exchanged off the board.
21. h4 Rfd8 22. Qe2 Qa6 A good move, preparing to exchange queens by means of ...d5. White is starting to build on the kingside, so it's important for Black to react now, before the threats start showing up.
23. h5 h6 24. Qg4 Kf8 25. Qe2 d5! 26. cxd5 Qxe2 27. Rxe2 cxd5 28. e5 Now it is White whose position is potentially more precarious.
28... Rc4 29. Kf3 a5 30. Be1 Rb8 31. Rb2 Ke8 32. Ke2 Kd7 33. Kd3 Kc6 34. Bd2 b5 35. axb5+ Kb6 36. Rba2 Ra8 37. f4 a4 38. g4 Kxb5 39. Rb1+ Ka6 40. f5 Rac8 41. Rba1 Ka5 42. f6 gxf6 43. exf6 Bxf6 44. Rxa4+ Rxa4 45. c4+ Kb6 46. Rxa4 Rg8! 47. cxd5 Rxg4 48. dxe6 fxe6 49. Rb4+ Kc7 50. Bxh6 Rh4 51. Be3 Rxh5 52. Ra4 Rh3 53. Ke4 Rh4+ 54. Kd3 Rh3 55. Ke4 Rh4+ A very well played game by both sides. Unfortunately for Inarkiev, the result was still that Gelfand clinched match victory, as the draw gave him a five point lead with four games to go.

In Game 9, Inarkiev finally had his chance to strike. The players repeated the opening of Game 5 through White’s 18th move, and while Gelfand improved on his play in the earlier game, he soon went wrong, and Inarkiev obtained a big advantage. Soon the advantage was nearly decisive, but a blunder on Move 33 (compounded by a further error on the next move) gave away the full point.

Inarkiev, Ernesto vs. Gelfand, Boris
Magas, Ingushetia | Magas, Ingushetia | Round 9 | 21 Jul 2016 | ECO: B31 | 0-1
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 4. Bxc6 bxc6 The theoretical duel continues: this is the fourth game in the match to reach this position.
5. O-O Bg7 6. Re1 Nh6 7. c3 O-O 8. h3 As in games 3 and 5, but not game 7.
8... d5 Repeating the line chosen in game 5.
9. d3 c4 10. dxc4 dxe4 11. Qxd8 Rxd8 12. Rxe4 e5 13. Re1 f6 14. Nbd2 Nf7 15. Nb3 a5 16. Be3 a4 17. Bb6 Re8 18. Nc5 The players are still repeating game 5! Only now does Gelfand vary.
18... Bf5!
18... g5 was his choice in the earlier game.  )
18... Bf8 was my suggestion in my notes to the earlier game; Gelfand chooses a third option.  )
19. Nh4
19. g4 Bc8 20. b3 f5 21. gxf5 Bxf5 22. Kg2 e4 23. Nd4 axb3 24. axb3 Rxa1 25. Rxa1 Ng5 26. h4 Nf3 27. Nxf3 exf3+ 28. Kxf3 Bxc3  )
19... Bc8 Is the knight *that* bad on h4? Apparently so.
20. Rad1
20. b3 axb3 21. axb3 Rxa1 22. Rxa1 e4 23. Ra8 f5 is one illustration of the knight's poor placement on the edge of the board.  )
20... f5?!
20... Bf8 was better. Now Inarkiev obtains an advantage, and for a while is able to use and increase it.  )
21. Nf3 e4 22. Nd4 Ne5 23. b3 axb3 24. axb3 Bf8
24... Nd7  )
25. Ra1 Rxa1 26. Rxa1 Bh6 27. Bc7 Nd7 28. Nxd7
28. Bd6! /+-  )
28... Bxd7 Up to now Inarkiev has played very well, and is close to achieving his first victory of the match. Instead, a little carelessness ensues, and he falls to -4 (-6 with the double scoring from the classical games).
29. b4?!
29. Bd6 /+-  )
29... e3 30. f4 Bg7 31. Kf1 e2+ 32. Kf2 Be6?
32... Bxd4+ 33. cxd4 Re4 34. Be5 Be6 35. b5 cxb5 36. cxb5 Bd5 37. b6 e1=Q+ 38. Rxe1 Rxe1 39. Kxe1 Bxg2 40. Kd2 Kf7 41. Kc3 Ke6 seems to draw.  )
33. Nxe6??
33. Be5 keeps a significant advantage. White has very good winning chances after
33... Bxe5 34. fxe5 Bxc4 35. Ra5 followed by Nxe2.  )
33... Bxc3! This zwischenzug - which is also a kind of fork with the bishop hitting both a1 and e1 - immediately turns the tables.
34. Be5?
34. Re1 was forced, keeping chances to survive after
34... Bxe1+ 35. Kxe1 Rxe6 and now either or
36. b5 cxb5 37. cxb5 Re3 38. b6 Rb3 39. Kxe2 Kf7  )
34... Bxa1 35. Nc7 Re7 36. b5 Bxe5 37. fxe5 Rxc7 38. b6 Re7 When it rains, it pours.

The last day of the match initially didn’t bring Inarkiev any better results, as Gelfand won yet again. Gelfand enjoyed a promising position that turned into a winning one after Inarkiev blundered a piece with 23…c5. Black had some counterplay, but it wasn’t enough, and Gelfand’s lead grew to seven points.

Gelfand, Boris vs. Inarkiev, Ernesto
Gelfand vs. Inarkiev | ? | Round 11.1 | 22 Jul 2016 | 1-0
1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 An unusual move that turns the game into a sort of Slav/Catalan hybrid.
4... Bf5
4... dxc4 5. Bg2 leads to very different play.  )
5. Nc3 e6 6. Nh4 Bg4
6... Bg6 and  )
6... Be4 are also common.  )
7. Qb3 If White starts with
7. h3 Bh5 8. g4 , intending to meet 8...Bg6 with 9.Qb3 (transposing to the game) he does allow Black the extra options of
8... Nfd7 and
...   )
7... Qb6 8. h3 Bh5 9. g4 Bg6 10. Nxg6 hxg6 11. Bg2 Na6 12. Bf4 Preventing ...Nc7 for the moment.
12... Qb4
12... Nc7?? 13. Qxb6 axb6 14. Bxc7  )
13. O-O
13. c5!?  )
13... dxc4 14. Qc2 O-O-O This might prove a bit risky. It isn't bad, but it wasn't forced, either.
15. Rfd1 Bd6 16. Bg5 Nc7 17. Ne4
17. e4 e5 18. d5 also favors White, who has more space and can chip away in the center and on the kingside, while Black has no counterplay whatsoever.  )
17... Be7 18. Bd2 Qb5 19. Ng5 Rhf8 20. Nf3 Ncd5 21. Rdc1 Bb4 22. Bg5 No trades! Black's minor pieces are tripping on each other and White's aren't, so White wants to keep more pieces on the board.
22... Nb6 23. e4 c5?? As Black gets very little counterplay for the material he's about to lose, this was probably an oversight. Black's position was already unpleasant, but not lost.
24. a3 cxd4
24... Ba5 25. dxc5 Qxc5 26. b4 is the basic tactical point.  )
25. axb4 d3 26. Qd1 Qxb4 27. Rxa7 Black has two pawns for the piece, but only one passer and it isn't going anywhere. His king is exposed, e4-e5 is still a threat, and in general White possesses all the trumps. Black tries a further sacrifice hoping to seize the initiative.
27... Nxe4 28. Bxd8 More than good enough, but the computer demonstrates a spectacular alternative:
28. Ne5!! Kb8 29. Bf4! Rd6 30. Rca1 f5 31. Nxc4 Nxc4 32. Ra8+ Kc7 33. Rxf8  )
28... Rxd8 29. Ne5! d2 30. Bxe4 dxc1=Q 31. Bxb7+ White's pieces wind up in a bit of a pickle on the queenside, so it would have been simpler to take the rook first and worry about the b-pawn later.
31. Qxc1  )
31... Kb8 32. Qxc1 Qd2 33. Nc6+ Kc7 34. Qf1 Rd6
34... Rd7  )
35. Ba8+ Kc8 36. Ne5 Qc2 37. Bf3 White has restored his coordination while maintaining his extra piece. The rest is simple.
37... f6 38. Nc6
38. Qa1!  )
38... Qxb2 39. Rxg7 g5 40. Kg2 Rd2 41. Qe1 e5 42. Qe3 Nd7 43. Qa7 Rxf2+ 44. Qxf2 c3 45. Qxb2 cxb2 46. Be4

Game 11 was a short draw, assuming that what follows is the full score.

Inarkiev, Ernesto vs. Gelfand, Boris
Gelfand vs. Inarkiev | ? | Round 12.1 | 22 Jul 2016 | 1/2-1/2
1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nd4 4. Bc4 e6 5. Nf3 Nf6 6. O-O a6 7. Bb3
7. d3 is usual.  )
7... d6 8. d3 Nxb3 9. axb3 Be7 10. d4 cxd4 11. Qxd4 O-O 12. Rd1 e5 Preventing White's e4-e5 while grabbing some central space and clearing the way for the light-squared bishop to come into the game. The drawback is the potential weakness of the d5 square, which explains Black's next move.
13. Qd3 h6 A standard idea, preventing Bg5xf6, after which White will try to outpost a knight on the d5 square. Chess history is full of examples in this structure where White has a dominating knight on d5 against a hapless bishop on e7.
14. Nd2 b5 Stopping Nc4.
15. Nf1
15. Nxb5?! falls into a small trap:
15... Bg4 wins the exchange. White should avoid falling into a further trap with
16. f3?? axb5 17. Rxa8 Qb6+ 18. Kh1 or
...  Rxa8 19. fxg4 Nxg4  )
15... Bg4 16. Re1 Given the fighting chess characterizing the rest of the match - including the next, final game - I'm not certain that the game ended here; perhaps there was some sort of transmission error. At any rate, the game is approximately equal here and did finish in a draw.

Finally, in Game 12, the match ended with a bright spot for Inarkiev. Gelfand’s choice of the solid London System did not turn out so well after his king was caught in the center. Gelfand tried to create an attack on Black’s king, but in the end it was his own king that perished. That gave Inarkiev his only win of the match, which was otherwise all bright spots for Gelfand.

Gelfand, Boris vs. Inarkiev, Ernesto
Gelfand vs. Inarkiev | ? | Round 13.1 | 22 Jul 2016 | 0-1
1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 The London System has become surprisingly popular among top players over the last decade, albeit mostly in games with a short time control. It hasn't been a part of Gelfand's repertoire, however, so maybe he played it to finish the match with an easy and solid draw. If so, it didn't work.
2... c5 3. e3 Nc6 4. Nf3 e6 5. c3 Bd6 6. Bg3 Nf6 7. Nbd2 O-O 8. Bb5
8. Bd3 is the traditional main line, but the text has become popular lately.  )
8... Ne7
8... a6 9. Bxc6 bxc6 10. Ne5 Qc7 11. Nd3 c4 12. Bxd6 Qxd6 13. Nc5 e5 14. b3 cxb3 15. axb3 Re8 16. O-O Ng4 17. g3 Qh6 18. h4 Ra7 19. Kg2 Rae7 20. Nf3 e4 21. Nh2 Nxh2 22. Kxh2 g5 23. Rh1 gxh4 24. Kg1 h3 25. Nxa6 Ra7 26. Nc5 Rxa1 27. Qxa1 Bg4 28. Kh2 Qf6 29. Qb2 Qf3 30. Rg1 Ra8 31. c4 Kg7 32. cxd5 cxd5 33. b4 Rb8 34. Na6 Rb6 35. Nc7 Rxb4 36. Qa2 Ra4 37. Qb2 Ra5 38. Ne8+ Kg6 39. Nc7 h5 40. Qc2 Kh7 41. Qb2 Qf6 42. Rc1 Qf3 43. Rg1 Qf5 44. Rc1 Ra7 45. Ne8 Qf3 46. Rg1 Ra6 47. Qc2 Re6 0-1 (47) Carlsen,M (2850)-Karjakin,S (2762) Berlin 2015 (blitz)  )
9. Bd3 A loss of time? Not really, because ...Ne7 weakened Black's control over the e5 square.
9. dxc5 Bxc5 10. Bd3 b6 11. O-O Bb7 12. Qc2 Ng6 13. Rad1 Nh5 14. c4 Nxg3 15. hxg3 Rc8 16. Qb1 dxc4 17. Nxc4 Qf6 18. Be4 Ba6 19. Rc1 Be7 20. Bd3 Rfd8 21. Nd4 Bc5 22. Nb3 Bf8 23. Nd4 Bc5 24. Nb3 Bf8 25. Nd4 1/2-1/2 (25) Kramnik,V (2801)-Nakamura,H (2787) Zuerich 2016  )
9... Qb6 10. Rb1
10. b3  )
10... Ng6 11. Bxg6 White exchanges off both bishops to plant a knight on e5, but it's not a permanent outpost. The exchange on g6 is a cousin to the swap on c6 - see Carlsen-Karjakin above. Note that the plan didn't work so well there either, and that Carlsen rejected the analogous follow-up 10.Bxd6.
11. O-O  )
11... hxg6 12. Bxd6 Qxd6 13. Ne5 b6 14. Qf3?!
14. O-O  )
14... Ba6! 15. h4 Was this Gelfand's intent all along, or is he making the best of the new situation?
15... Nd7 16. Nxd7 Qxd7 17. h5 g5?!
17... cxd4! 18. exd4 e5! 19. Nb3 Rae8  )
18. h6 f6 19. Qh5
19. dxc5 bxc5 20. c4 dxc4 21. Ne4 Bb7 22. Rd1 Qe7 23. Qg4 g6 24. O-O  )
19... Bd3
19... cxd4! This is a useful move, making sure a pawn remains on d4 so that Black can later open the center with ...e5.  )
20. hxg7? After this it's all one-way traffic. Black gets to contest the h-file, after which White's attack ends and Black's grows and grows.
20... Kxg7 21. Qh6+ Kf7 22. Rc1 Rh8 23. Qxh8 Rxh8 24. Rxh8 White is doing great as far as material is concerned, but he has two big problems which are jointly fatal: his rooks will never be connected, and his light squares are desperately weak. Inarkiev's play from this point isn't perfect, but the general trend is always in Black's favor.
24... Kg7
24... e5  )
25. Rh1 Qa4
25... e5  )
26. a3 e5
26... Qb5 27. b3 c4  )
27. f3 Kg6?
27... exd4  )
28. Kf2?
28. dxe5 fxe5 29. Kf2 White's rooks are connected and his light squares aren't an immediate cause for concern. Even so, Black is probably still winning.  )
28... c4
28... exd4! 29. exd4 cxd4 30. Rhe1 dxc3 31. bxc3 Qxa3  )
29. e4? The lines this move opens will only benefit the queen.
29... exd4 30. exd5 Qb5 31. cxd4 Qxd5
31... Qxb2! 32. Ke3 f5  )
32. Rc3 Qxd4+ 33. Ke1 b5 34. Kd1 a5 35. Re1 b4 36. axb4 axb4 37. Rxd3
37. Rc1 Qxb2 is horrible.  )
37... Qxd3 38. Kc1 b3
38... b3 39. Kd1 c3 40. Re2 cxd2 41. Rf2 Qc2+ 42. Ke2 d1=Q+ 43. Ke3 Qdd3#  )

—————————————————————-

Dennis Monokroussos is a FIDE master who has written about chess on his blog “The Chess Mind,” since 2005. He has been teaching chess for almost 20 years and for the last 10 years has been making instructional chess videos, which can be found at ChessLecture.com. Between 1995 and 2006, he taught philosophy, including a four-year stint at the University of Notre Dame.