World Cup semi-finals start with two quick draws
(FULL REPORT) Both games in the World Cup's semi-finals in Khanty-Mansiysk were quickly drawn today. Alexander Grischuk couldn't claim an advantage with White against Vassily Ivanchuk - a Rubinstein French ended after 22 moves. Peter Svidler and Ruslan Ponomariov drew two moves faster in a 4.d3 Berlin Ruy Lopez.
|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.|
After very short tie-breaks on Sunday, the Monday session lasted even less long! The first two games of the semi-finals, which form a so-called "Russia-Ukraine" match, both ended in quick draws. The Ukrainians will be quite satisfied, as they were the ones playing the black pieces. With the stakes getting higher and higher, the players seemed to be more cautious than ever.
After eliminating Vugar Gasimov with this opening, there was no reason for Ruslan Ponomariov not to go for the Berlin Wall again. Peter Svidler didn't feel like entering the (inf)famous ending, and opted for 4.d3, which is less principled but at least doesn't define the pawn structure yet and keeps the queens on the board.
Since this is a major and quite popular alternative, Ponomariov was obviously well prepared here too. After the funny double central blows 14...d5 15.d4 everything inevitably simplified, at high speed.
After the game Ponomariov said:
After Svidler exchanged on f4 at move 20 he did not have even the advantage of the bishop pair. The position became almost symmetrical and absolutely equal.
The game between Alexander Grischuk and Vassily Ivanchuk lasted only two moves longer. Against his unpredicatable opponent Grischuk decided to go for 1.e4, which was answered by the Rubinstein variation (3...dxe4) of the French Defence.
At first sight the position looked quite promising for White, as he had a natural development of his pieces while the black pieces were placed passively. However, when Ivanchuk could execute the pawn break ...e6-e5 all of his problems were solved.
After we've seen so many exciting games in this World Cup already, this Monday was a disappointing affair. Therefore we'll share with you one funny moment. During the games, for about half an hour GM David Navara replaced GM Konstantin Landa to join Anna Sharevich in the English commentary. At the end of the session Sharevich got the Czech GM in a slightly uncomfortable situation when she asked him:
Would you like to say something to the spectators before we leave? Wish them something!
Poor David tried hard, but naturally he couldn't come up with anything better than:
I wish the spectators many interesting games. And I wish them.. I don't know...
Sharevich pushed him a bit more with:
Wish them good luck. I guess that ehm... maybe...
Luckily, then David came up with:
I wish them they have more fantasy than I have at the moment!
|Semifinal Match 01|
|Svidler, Peter (RUS)||½||0.5|
|Ponomariov, Ruslan (UKR)||½||0.5|
|Semifinal Match 02|
|Grischuk, Alexander (RUS)||½||0.5|
|Ivanchuk, Vassily (UKR)||½||0.5|
Photos © FIDE | Official website
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