Reports | September 08, 2011 17:06

World Cup R4 tie-break: Polgar eliminates Dominguez in blitz

(FULL REPORT) Judit Polgar, Vassily Ivanchuk, Ruslan Ponomariov, Vugar Gashimov and Alexander Grischuk qualified for the World Cup's quarter-finals after winning their tie-break matches on Thursday. The pairings for the quarter-finals, which start tomorrow, are Polgar vs Svidler, Ponomariov vs Gashimov, Ivanchuk vs Radjabov and Navara vs Grischuk.

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


Tie-breaks round 4


After her dramatic victory with Black on Wednesday most chess fans were following Judit Polgar's tie-break closely. Would the world's best female chess player pull it off? Would she manage to get through to the next round, thereby eliminating the strongest of the two Cuban chess players left in the competition, Leinier Dominguez? One thing was clear: online commentator Anna Sharevich didn't try too hard staying neutral, and expressed her admiration towards Polgar more than once during the broacast.

In a tie-break match where she seemed to avoid theoretical lines, Polgar started well. She used the Grand Prix successfully in the first game, after she didn't get anything with White last Tuesday against Dominguez' Najdorf. However, in the return game the Cuban levelled the score equally convincingly. In this game Polgar tried the 3...Qd6 Scandinavian. In her White game she allowed the Najdorf again, and started attacking furiously:

Khanty-Mansiysk, 2011

19. Nce2!?
Basically sacrificing the knight on d4, as after Black's next move it doesn't have a good square.
19…e5 20. f6 Bd8 21. Nf5!?
Fully going for the attack. Objectively speaking the sacrifice is not correct, but practically it's offering good chances. 21. Nf3? Qxe4.
21... gxf5 22. Nc3 Kh8 23. Qh3 Nf4
23... Nxf6! 24. gxf6 Rg8+ 25. Kh1 f4 was the simplest defence.
24. Bxf4 exf4 25. Rxf4 Rg8 26. Rh4 Rxg5+ 27. Kf1

27... Kg8! 28. Rxh7 (28. Nd5 fxe4) 28... Bxf6 29. Nd5 Bg7! was the last moment where Black could still win.
28. Nd5! Much stronger than 28.Rxh7+ which transposes to the previous line.
28… Qxb2?
Now it’s White who's winning! 28... Be5 29. Rxh7+ Kg8 30. Ne7+ Kf8 31. Qh6+ Kxe7 32. Qxg5+ and White has at least a draw while Houdini comes up with the remarkable 28... Rg1+!! 29. Kxg1 Rg8+ 30. Kh1 Bxh4 31. Qxh4 Rg6=.
29. Rxh7+ Kg8

30. Qh6! Bd8 31. e5!
That's it.
31…Rg1+ 32. Kxg1 Qd4+ 33. Kf1 1-0

But again Dominguez tied by winning his white game as well (another 3...Qd6 Scandinavian), and the match continued with a very tense draw. Both players smiled here and there, realizing how crazy things were getting! In the final blitz game, with the Armageddon looming, Polgar returned to the Sicilian and then and there, her opponent collapsed:

Khanty-Mansiysk, 2011

17. h4
Online GM Konstantin Landa expected 17. Qg3 d6 (just to avoid ...d5) 18. h4 but this fails to 18… Nxf3! 19. Qxf3 Bxe4 and wins.
17... d5! 18. exd5 Rxd5 19. h5?!

19… Nxf3!
A nice trick that works in all lines.
20. Qg3
20. Bxc7 Nxe1; 20. Nxf3 Qxc2+.
20... e5
It’s suddenly completely over.
21. Bg2 exf4 22. Qxf3 Rxd4 23. Nxd4 Bxf3 and Black won.

Things were quite tense as well in the match between Ruslan Ponomariov and Lazara Bruzon. The Ukrainian started with a good win with White but then the Cuban made it 2-2, and then even 2-3. Ponomariov had to win, and did it, starting with 1.Nf3 g6!? 2. e4 c5 3.d4 Bg7!? and eventually winning a nice ending with the bishop pair. The seventh game between these players ended in a draw, and then Ponomariov won the final one:

Khanty-Mansiysk, 2011

Black has just pushed his pawn to g5 which wins material, but in a very risky way.
15. Nxf7!
Ponomariov didn't seem much affected and played this quickly.
15… Kxf7 16. Bxg5 Qd7?
This quickly loses a third pawn; better was 16... Nc7.
17. Qh4! Qf5 18. Bxf6 Qxf6 19. Qxh7+ Qg7 20. Qf5+ Qf6 21. Bxd5+ Bxd5 22. Qxf6+
22. Qxd5+ Kf8 23. Qb7! Nb4 24. a3 Reb8 25. Qh7 Na6 (25... Nc6 26. b4) 26. Qd3 Nc7 27. Ne4 followed by 28.b4 would have decided the game immediately but OK, it's a typical computer line.
22... Kxf6 23. Nxd5+ Kf7 24. e3 With four pawns for the piece this should normally be winning too and Ponomariov did win it at move 54.

Peter Heine Nielsen was knocked out by Vugar Gashimov. After five games all won by the white player, the score was 3-2 for the Azerbaijani and then he won with Black too:

Khanty-Mansiysk, 2011

Black was already putting pressure on White's position, but this drops a piece immediately, with the unpositional swap of the fianchetto bishop for the knight:
18… Bxc3! 19. Bxc3 Qc7 20. Rc1 Rc8 and Black won.

Vassily Ivanchuk beat Bu Xiangzhi 2-0 and made it look easy. However, at the press conference the Ukrainian denied this: "No, I cannot say this is the case. One can see that my opponent was not that lucky in rapid games, but my victory was not an easy one, because I had to calculate a lot of variations during the game itself."

Alexander Grischuk also needed just two games to beat Vladimir Potkin. The first he drew with White, and then in the next game Potkin made a huge error in a pawn ending:

Khanty-Mansiysk, 2011

48. Kb3?
After 48. b5 the position is a draw.
48... Kb5 49. Kc3 e3! 50. Kd3 Kxb4 51. Kxe3 Kc3

The opposition decides the pawn ending.
52. Ke2 Kc2 53. Ke3 Kd1 54. Kf2 Kd2 55. Kf3 Ke1 56. Ke3 Kf1 57. Kf3 Kg1 0-1

Games tie-breaks round 4



FIDE World Cup 2011 | Round 4 results
Name G1 G2 R1 R2 r3 r4 B1 B2 SD Tot
Round 4 Match 01
Polgar, Judit (HUN) 0 1 1 0 1 0 ½ 1   4.5
Dominguez Perez, Leinier (CUB) 1 0 0 1 0 1 ½ 0   3.5
Round 4 Match 02
Bu, Xiangzhi (CHN) ½ ½ 0 0           1
Ivanchuk, Vassily (UKR) ½ ½ 1 1           3
Round 4 Match 03
Zherebukh, Yaroslav (UKR) 0 0               0
Navara, David (CZE) 1 1               2
Round 4 Match 04
Bruzon Batista, Lazaro (CUB) ½ ½ 0 1 1 0 ½ 0   3.5
Ponomariov, Ruslan (UKR) ½ ½ 1 0 0 1 ½ 1   4.5
Round 4 Match 05
Gashimov, Vugar (AZE) 1 0 1 0 1 1       4
Nielsen, Peter Heine (DEN) 0 1 0 1 0 0       2
Round 4 Match 06
Potkin, Vladimir (RUS) 1 0 ½ 0           1.5
Grischuk, Alexander (RUS) 0 1 ½ 1           2.5
Round 4 Match 07
Radjabov, Teimour (AZE) 1 ½               1.5
Jakovenko, Dmitry (RUS) 0 ½               0.5
Round 4 Match 08
Svidler, Peter (RUS) 1 1               2
Kamsky, Gata (USA) 0 0               0

Photos © FIDE | Official website


Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Marvel's picture

Next is Svidler vs Polgar! It is a bit sad that one of them has to go out. I wanted both of them to go further.

john's picture

Svidler eliminates Kamsky 2-0, impressive, Peter is really on a roll.

RuralRob's picture

Judit has got to be exhausted after all those nerve-wracking games against Dominguez. She is going to have a tough time against the well-rested Svidler. All the same, I wish her the best of luck.

Go Judit!

Alvaro Frota's picture

Go Judith! Go!

Juan's picture

Well, both cubans are eliminated, now it is time to root for Judith and Ivanchuk.

Nima's picture

What a day! One game more exciting than the next!

Johnny's picture

Any 3 of the 8 quarterfinalists will be worthy candidates in the 2013 world championship candidates cycle. And the public has gotten to witness fascinating struggles and good fighting chess. So in that sense this tournament has been a massive success i would say.

bondegnasker's picture

There's a surprising lack of surprises this time around. The only real surprise in the remaining 8 players is that Judit is only seeded 33rd.

Thomas's picture

Looking at the history of knockout events, just one surprise in (or, all the way to) the quarterfinals seems rule rather than exception:

- 2009 had Malakhov (#22, but rather unknown at least outside of Russia)

- 2007 had Cheparinov (#31)

- 2005 had #38 Gurevich and #39 Rublevsky (but the latter somehow managed to avoid very strong opposition)

- 2004 had many outsiders (one of them, 28th seed Kasimdzhanov went all the way)
- 2002 the weakest quarterfinalists was #21 Lautier (still extended world top and regular suppertournament participant at the time)

- 2000 had a couple of outsiders (but in hindsight the weakest, #46 Grischuk wasn't a fluke)

- 1999 had a couple of outsiders (including final winner Khalifman).

Overall some favorites are eliminated at an early stage (after all, one bad day can be enough) but others prevail.

Thomas's picture

Hmm, somehow "new Chessvibes" doesn't allow formating (line breaks) in comments ... .

Gilgamesh Pais Pinto's picture

Well done Judit!! You more than other deserve it. Good fight spirit. I bilieve that you can even go further more!!!! I will be watching you here in ANGOLA.

Appetithappen's picture

Women of the chess world, look at her! Her fighting spirit is amazing...

Septimus's picture

Polgar v Dominiguez was totally crazy from the outset! Although I don't like throwing in Blitz to decide Classical matches, blitz is certainly exciting to watch. Given the format, the games were pretty wild!

How many rating points did she gain?

Marvel's picture

She is 2720.80 on live rating. so she has gained 20.80 points so far.

Thomas's picture

Actually it's "just" 19.8 points - still enough to make her 16th seed if the World Cup started all over again using the current live rating list (this also indicates how "statistically small" the rating gaps are). Other big rating winners are Navara and Radjabov (now live #6), the latter because he avoided tiebreaks until now. One of the biggest rating losers is Ponomariov who played three tiebreaks and lost a few rating points in each match (including the first round against Gwaze where he was expected to score more than 75%). And - with respect to the third rating spot for the candidates matches - the net winner is absent Kramnik as Karjakin lost further ground on him.

Peter Visser's picture

Go, Anna, go!

Minzi's picture

I admire Moro, but to see the heart of a heavyweight-champion he can take a look at Judit Polgar.

columbo's picture

Well, Moro has a role in this movie, and judith has an other one ... don't get mixed up with those things ... or you will never be able to become a film maker

WGIFM's picture

I just cannot belive there are no better translators in Russia other than this woman. She sometimes just mistranslates stupidly simple sentences.

RealityCheck's picture

Firm masculine handshake. (photo Pono--Brozon) Very nice.

RealityCheck's picture

shd be *Bruzon

VB's picture

I bet for Polgar vs Svidler.

Septimus's picture

Ivanchuk destroyed Radjabov today. The Nf6+ and the crazy calculations it entailed were great to watch. Chucky found the correct plan in a few minutes. Amazing!

Svidler wasted his white pieces when he allowed Polgar to latch on to a (nice) perpetual. Not a good strategy to make it easy for your tired opponent.

David Navara's game was quite exciting although it fizzled out in the end. I think Gris is going to be pushed to the limits here.

The other game was a complete joke. Draw in 12 moves? GTFO man...

Thomas's picture

I think there have been more complex or 'crazy' calculations than the ones after Nf6+ - once you see the idea, it's relatively straightforward and risk-free.
As to Ponomariov-Gashimov: didn't they provide enough entertainment yesterday?

Septimus's picture

I don't think it was straightforward by any means. Black had some serious work to do! Why stop at "didn't they provide enough entertainment yesterday?", why not extend it to: "didn't they provide enough entertainment in 1995?"

Thomas's picture

Well, they should have recovered from whatever they did in 1995 (when they were 9 and 12 years old). But not necessarily from the tiebreaks yesterday - which probably were emotionally, mentally and even physically more demanding than wichever game or tournament in your chess career as a (so I presume) humble amateur. And Ponomariov had three consecutive tiebreaks!
You may argue that they are professionals, but even for them rapid and blitz games worth a few thousand Euros (plua a possible role in the next WCh cycle) aren't daily diet. And, like it or not, conserving energy is also part of a professional attitude.

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