Svidler Qualifies For Candidates, World Cup Final

Svidler Qualifies For Candidates, World Cup Final

| 32 | Chess Event Coverage

Peter Svidler drew his second game with Anish Giri to reach the final of the 2015 FIDE World Cup and qualify for the 2016 Candidates’ Tournament. Pavel Eljanov and Sergey Karjakin will play a tiebreak on Tuesday. 

All photos courtesy of FIDE.

“Frankly I didn't rate my chances very highly. Getting through this tournament twice to get to the Candidates’ is... this has to rank very high in the list of things I achieved in my professional career. I think this is an incredibly hard tournament to do well in. I'm very happy right now.”

Peter Svidler didn't hide his relief, nor his satisfaction during his interview with Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam in the official broadcast of the World Cup. By drawing his second game with Anish Giri, he had reached his main goal in Baku.

Svidler draws as White, exactly what he needed.

“I was absolutely honest when I said on more than one occasion here that for me the main aim of this tournament was to qualify. But now that I'm in... winning it twice would be nice! So I hope I can refocus and play the final as well as I can.”

In what was a must-win game, Anish Giri played the Caro-Kann as Black. That was a somewhat suprising choice; one would expect a Najdorf perhaps, or even a Pirc, a well-known choice in similar situations (e.g. Kramnik went for it in the final round of the 2013 Candidates’).

Who expected a Caro-Kann from Giri today?

“From a psychological viewpoint I thought that was a very decent choice,” said Svidler. “I had to play in a style... in a normal game I would never in a million years go for this line because I would be bored. More than anything I would just be bored to death. So it forced me to do something that I'm not particularly good at doing. I thought it was a decent chance.”

Svidler played the 6.Nh3 line against the 4...Bf5 system, arguably the most solid way of playing. An ending appeared with RRB vs RRN, and Svidler had to take up a passive position — but it was rock solid nonetheless. Giri tried, but couldn't find anything.

“It wasn't brilliant by any means but I got the job done,” said Svidler. “That's the most important thing.”

After Vishy Anand, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura and Veselin Topalov, Svidler is now certain of playing the 2016 Candidates’ Tournament. (Giri will most likely qualify on rating as well.) His comments about that:

“I think it's going to be a very hard one. For anyone, but for me in particular because even if you compare it with let's say the previous Candidates’ there has been a very marked change of guard.

“The tournament will be chock full of people who, you know, the public has been glamouring for them to finally play in the Candidates’.

“Hikaru will be there, Fabiano will be there, I think Anish is qualifying by rating. At least half the field will be the young guns who for various reasons were not playing in the previous ones, and I'm not getting any younger.

Svidler isn't getting any younger, but not any worse either it seems!

“So I think for me it will be a very challenging tournament, but I'm obviously very happy to have a chance to play in it because when I play well, as this tournament shows, I can play against these people. They're not untouchable.

“It will be a very interesting tournament; I think generally Candidates’ are very tense and very interesting to watch. In 2016 it promises to be a very interesting tournament just judging by the field of people who are qualified for it. And I don't mean myself, I mean all the other people!”

Watch the full interview here:

The other semifinal match, between Pavel Eljanov and Sergey Karjakin, will be decided on Tuesday in a tiebreak. Their second game ended in a draw too, and much quicker than the first.

Eljanov played 6...e4 in the English Four Knights, a line that was tested in the Seville 1987 Kasparov-Karpov match. It was recently played in games such as Aronian-Anand, St. Louis 2015 and Khismatullin-Tomashevsky, Russian Superfinal 2015.

The game hadn't yet left the opening phase when Karjakin suddenly offered a draw to his opponent, on move 14. 

Eljanov briefly joined the official broadcast as well. “If one would ask me before the match: 1-1, I would agree,” he said about the quick draw.

Of all 128 World Cup participants only Svidler and Eljanov haven't
lost a single game, whether it's classical, rapid or blitz. 


2015 World Cup | Round 6, Day 1 Results

# Name Name C1 C2 TB Score
1 Anish Giri Peter Svidler 0-1  1/2   0.5-1.5
2 Pavel Eljanov Sergey Karjakin 1/2  1/2   1.0-1.0

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