World Cup R6.2: Peter Svidler reaches final

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(FULL REPORT) Peter Svidler is the first player who reached the final of the FIDE World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk. On Tuesday Svidler defeated Ruslan Ponomariov with Black to set the score to a decisive 1.5-0.5. Alexander Grischuk and Vassily Ivanchuk drew both classical games and a tie-break on Wednesday will decide which player will face Svidler in the final, and which player will fight Ponomariov for the third spot in the next FIDE Candidates tournament.

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

Round 6.2

After becoming Russian Champion for the 6th time less than a month ago, Peter Svidler clearly managed to keep up his good form in Khanty-Mansiysk. On Tueday he knocked out Ruslan Ponomariov, the 2009 finalist, with the Black pieces. When Svidler wins with Black it's not a surprise that the opening was the Grünfeld, but actually this time he didn't get out of the opening very well at all. At the press conference he explained:

The usual story. An opening I've been playing for 25 years non-stop and yet I'm seriously worse after ten moves. 7...Bd7 is probably a mistake. After 8.Qa3! Black is in quite a bit of trouble. The play I chose is the only way to justify my ridicolous 7..Bd7.

Svidler went for a plan involving ...Nc6, ...e5 and something rare for the Grünfeld: castling queenside, which he thought his opponent should have prevented.

Then the scenery changed quite a bit; Black has all this play against White's centre.

Quickly after that Svidler made another fine judgement: he decided to go for a positional exchange sacrifice.

Ruslan is one of the best players in the world in positions where he has quiet play and a small advantage so the exchange sac was very strong in this respect. Somewhere around 18.Bxd4 Ruslan offered a draw but there already I'm the only one playing for a win.

Especially from a practical point of view the position was just very difficult for White to hold. Still, Svidler was quite critical of his own technique at the press conference, and said that he made some mistakes in the ending. It's not clear whether he actually threw away the win somewhere.

As my good friend Alexander Grischuk once said: 'My play is based on playing quickly and setting one-move traps'. Well, this worked again today, 36...Kb6 threatens to run to a3 or c3 but also sets the trap 37.f4? Bc6+ he can just resign.

Khanty-Mansiysk, 2011


Vassily Ivanchuk and Alexander Grischuk will play a tie-break on Wednesday to decide matters, as their second game also ended in a draw. After about 20 moves of Vienna/Ragozin QGD theory the position was about equal, but as so often Grischuk spent a lot of time on the clock. In timetrouble it almost went seriously wrong for the Russian, who said at the press conference:

I had no problems, but then I did something incredibly stupid and I remained without a queen in a complicated position. Of cours the critical moment was when I blundered 30.Bb7.

In the game it turned out that it was just too difficult to win the position with queen against rook and bishop; Ivanchuk himself wasn't sure if he was winning anywhere.

Khanty-Mansiysk, 2011



FIDE World Cup 2011 | Round 6 results

Semifinal Match 01
Svidler, Peter (RUS)½1       1.5
Ponomariov, Ruslan (UKR)½0       0.5
Semifinal Match 02
Grischuk, Alexander (RUS)½½       1
Ivanchuk, Vassily (UKR)½½       1

Photos © FIDE | Official website


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