Svidler wins first game World Cup final

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(FULL REPORT) Peter Svidler immediately took the lead in his World Cup final against Alexander Grischuk. In a Kan Sicilian, Svidler's opening set-up looked suspicious but Grischuk's time management even more: in heavy timetrouble he let a nice position fall apart. In the match for 3rd and 4th place, the first game between Vassily Ivanchuk and Ruslan Ponomariov ended in a draw.

General info

The 2011 FIDE World Cup is a 128-player knock-out taking place August 27-September 20 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Siberia. The tournament delivers three participants for the next Candidates tournament/matches, as part of the new World Championship cycle. Except for the final, all rounds have 2-game matches at the FIDE time control: 90 minutes for 40 moves followed by 30 minutes to finish the game, with a 30-second increment from the first move. In case of a 1-1 tie, on the third day of the round there's a tie-break with rapid games and if necessary blitz games and an Armageddon. More info here.Tournament bracket

Finals, day 1

There are only four players left in the tournament, who enjoyed the first and only official rest day on Thursday. On Friday they continued their extremely long tournament for four, and maybe five more days.

Some say that the match between Vassily Ivanchuk and Ruslan Ponomariov is more interesting from a sporting point of view: not only is this a remake of their 2001-2 FIDE World Championship final, but this time they're playing for a spot in the next Candidates event. As far as we can see, they're only playing for that - the regulations only speak of 'Round 6 losers' in the prizes paragraph and there it says that Ivanchuk and Ponomariov have both earned US $50,000 in Khanty-Mansiysk. The winner of the final between Alexander Grischuk and Peter Svidler takes home US $120,000 while the loser gets US $80,000.


The playing hall with more cameras than players

Svidler took an excellent shot at that big prize by winning his first game with Black on Friday. In a line of the Kan Sicilian he went for the little known set-up of Qd8-b6-b8 and Bf8-d6 which looked a bit too clumsy, especially when Grischuk found the excellent central push e4-e5. Black continued Bd6-c7 and had to sacrifice his pawn on d7 to finish his development.

The problem for Grischuk was that there were so many interesting ways to continue the game for White. The Moscovite spent much time, too much time on the clock and eventually went for a piece sacrifice which wasn't really a sacrifice as he got three pawns for it. It was more or less forced as well, as his rook on d7 got trapped, but he must have seen that in advance. Well, that's what you might expect, but at the press conference Grischuk did say he blundered that rook...

However, there was no real attack and in fact he got a bit stuck, and surprisingly Black could just snatch a pawn with Nb6-a4xb2 without getting punished. Playing on the last minute plus increment from move 23 then proved too difficult a task for Grischuk.


Even for Grischuk playing on increment for more than 15 moves proved too difficult

At the press conference, Grischuk said:

Normally when you blunder a rook, you lose! Somehow I got a decent position after my blunder, but still lost. So the result is fair in a way.


A smiling Svidler at the press conference

Svidler:

Playing against a close friend is very difficult. I get many dubious positions with Black at the World Cup, but then the game develops in an inexplicable way, just like today.

Ivanchuk-Ponomariov was less spectacular but quite interesting as well. It looks like Ivanchuk had a small advantage in the ending at the first time control, but with his 41st move he suddenly allowed an instant move repetition.


Ponomariov, concentrating at the start of his game...


...and Ivanchuk hoping for some extra help!?

Three more classical games are scheduled in both matches, and a possible tie-break on Tuesday.

Games round 7 (finals)

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Photos © FIDE | Official website

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