Svidler Beats Giri As Black On First Day World Cup Semifinals

Svidler Beats Giri As Black On First Day World Cup Semifinals

| 61 | Chess Event Coverage

Peter Svidler is close to reaching the final of the 2015 FIDE World Cup. All he needs is a draw with white tomorrow after beating Anish Giri in a Zaitsev Ruy Lopez today. 

All photos courtesy of FIDE.

After the first of only two rest days in total, the FIDE World Cup resumed today with only four players. For what has now become a very small event, the organizers created an elevated stage in the Fairmont Hotel's Grand Ball Room — another sign of the high level of organization in Baku.

The tension keeps on growing obviously. The net amount of U.S. $96,000 for the World Cup winner is at stake. At the same time one could say that the semifinals are two small finals, because in both cases the winner will directly qualify for the Candidates’ Tournament. 

Only two tables left — now on an elevated stage.

The only player of the four who doesn't feel the “Candidates’ pressure” too much is Anish Giri. If he won't reach the World Cup final, he has a very good chance to qualify by rating, like Veselin Topalov will.

One player who is rooting for Giri is Vladimir Kramnik, because at the moment he is next in line for the other rating spot. For him, and all the Dutch fans, it was bad news that Giri started with a loss today.

The Dutch grandmaster started with 1.e4, and that was already a surprise for Svidler. “For some reason I failed to consider propely the fact that he can actually play 1.e4. He generally plays the closed openings against me,” he said in the official broadcast.

“I kind of checked the entire Grünfeld in the morning and some other things and after 1.e4 I was sitting there thinking: I should have at least made a plan!”

It's hard to believe, but Svidler had no plan against 1.e4.

Svidler decided to not do anything fancy, but play one of his main defenses as Black these days: a sideline of the Zaitsev that is growing in popularity. As he couldn't remember all his notes, he spent quite some time while Giri was still in his preparation by move 20.

The latter made one or two questionable decisions on the queenside, then failed to create an attack that led to checkmate, and could resign right after the time control.

“He was completely in control of this game,” said Svidler. “All of the major decisions were taken by him and I was just sitting there waiting for the moment where I have to make some hard choices. Eventually when I was forced to make them I think I made decent ones.

“But it's more that he lost the game than that I won.”

Here's Peter Svidler analyzing his game with Evgeny Miroshnichenko:


Anish Giri lost his first game since 31 May 2015, when he was defeated by Yuri Solodovnichenko
in the French league. Will he return to his Taimanov for tomorrow's must-win game?

The other semifinal is played between two members of the Ukrainian team that won the 2004 Olympiad. Back then, Eljanov and Karjakin were first and second reserve, behind Vassily Ivanchuk, Ruslan Ponomariov, Andrei Volokitin and Alexander Moiseenko.

Eljanov still represents Ukraine; Karjakin moved to Russia years ago. There isn't really any tension between the two though; in last week's interview Eljanov said he had no bad relations with his Russian colleagues.

In an old line of the Queen's Indian that Jan Timman already used in the early 1980s, Karjakin ended up with an isolated queen's pawn. Pushing all the way to d3 didn't solve his opening problems.

On move 22 Stockfish's evaluation is a juicy 1.77 at a depth of 26 half moves, so apparently Black has some trouble getting back his coordination, and the a7-pawn drops along the way.

Eljanov definitely had winning chances today.

Eljanov played something else, and allowed his opponent to equalize. Karjakin seems to have missed one or two easy draws, and eventually had to defend a RN vs RN ending a pawn down, which he did splendidly.

Annotations by GM Dejan Bojkov


2015 World Cup | Round 6, Day 1 Results

# Name Name C1 C2 TB Score
1 Anish Giri Peter Svidler 0-1     0-1
2 Pavel Eljanov Sergey Karjakin 1/2     0.5-0.5

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