Reports | September 12, 2011 14:22

World Cup semi-finals start with two quick draws

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.

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 6.1

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.

Khanty-Mansiysk, 2011


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.

Khanty-Mansiysk, 2011


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!


FIDE World Cup 2011 | Round 6 results
Name G1 G2 R1 R2 r3 r4 B1 B2 SD Tot
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


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.


ShockeR_40's picture

Dont start with the draws again...


TongPo's picture

oh, come on! give them a break, they are probably tired and want to rest, the draw rate is totally respectable in this competition so far...

hansie's picture

I can understand Sasha taking a quick draw with White, but am unable to fathom the state of Peter's mind ...

TMM's picture

Peter also took a draw with white against Polgar, to win with the black pieces.

Jonathan Yedidia's picture

I don't think Peter wanted to draw either Polgar or Ponomariov with White. It is simply that they succeeded in completely equalizing the position against him when they had Black. Against Polgar, there was a perpetual check on the board so he couldn't continue if he wanted to. Against Ponomariov he could have continued but the chances on the board were completely equal and it was quite drawish so from the overall tournament point of view, it made no sense to continue against a player as strong as he is.

Chess Fan's picture

I don't draws are deliberate, especially on White's part. I do not think any of these super-GMs at this level want to risk going into rapids, if they can avoid it.

R.Mutt's picture

Except Grischuk.

misja's picture

Well.. according to ("Based on games present in our database; may not be complete.") the score in rapid games between Grischuk and Ivanchuk is 2 wins for Ivanchuk and 1 draw. And in blitz it is Ivanchuk 4, Grischuk 2, and 2 draws.

WGIFM's picture

Now the World Cup will morph into Candidates Tournament with lots and lots of draws.

S3's picture

that's what you get when there are no weakies left. More draws. Those who dislike it should find another hobby cause this is part of chess.
Well, maybe someone will make a mistake out of tiredness.

ebutaljib's picture

In previous rounds there were 74 short draws (in 30 moves or less) but nobody noticed and complained. Thats because there were many other games that could be followed. Now there are only two games, so a short draw is noticed very quickly. The problem is not the quick draw itself, the problem is that public doesn't have anything else to watch. If for example Svidler and Ponomariov had agreed to a quick draw, but Grischuk and Ivanchuk would have been and interesting affar then nobody would care about the short draw and complain about it.

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