Reports | September 16, 2011 15:18

Svidler wins first game World Cup final

Svidler wins first game World Cup final

(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


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)



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.


ebutaljib's picture

Someone should ask the players if they know what they are qualifying for - Candidates matches or Candidates tournament. I bet they don't know the right answer.

Marcos's picture

What a strange game from Grischuk, looks like he lost on purpose

adam's picture

24. b3 1-0 :S

nep's picture

I don't see the path to victory, what is the line? Also, looking quickly the game with a computer, Svidler's position is never evaluated as really bad, maybe it was all home preparation?

Amir's picture

Grischuk had a good position, but he fell into deep deep time trouble. literally he was playing on the incriment. I'm happy for Svidler though!!

Septimus's picture

Isn't Qc7 the usual Kan setup? Qb8-Bc7 looked really dubious. I was looking for notable games in this system and found something brilliant by who else...the great Tal. Check this out-->

Not sure what the point of the sac was. Also why did Gris give up the b7 pawn for free?

chessdrummer's picture

There are positions where you play Qb8-Bc7 combination, but it is usually in hedgehog type positions against the Maroczy Bind. In that line you play Kg8-h8, Rg8 and g5!?

anonymous's picture

Even if Grischuk manages to get past Svidler, his approach to clock management would eventually hurt him.

Johnny's picture

Very pleased that Grischuk has not yet managed to draw his way to another blitz tie-break. If Svidler wins, i hope you will consider the headline, "Svidler on the Roof".

john's picture

It is always sad to see white lose like that, but not for Svidler on this occasion ;-)

choufleur's picture

I am quite happy. Grischuk seems to be a nice guy but in a way his behaviour just destroys the form of chess I like.

Peter Batman's picture

Many people in chessbuisness and commentators talking aboit Ivanchuck as a real Chessgenius.In my opinion he is not moore genius in chess then Kramnik, Aronian, Carlsen, Topaslov.But i hope he will reach the candidate-tournaments

Anonymous's picture

No one said he was more genius than Carlsen, Aronian, etc. What they said is in spite of his losses due to bad nerves management, he is a genius !

chessdrummer's picture

I believe what they are referring to (and I've heard Kasparov say this) is Ivanchuk's wealth of knowledge, understanding of many positions and creative ideas he brings to the board. All of the players above have this, but some of Ivanchuk's ideas very unique.

Thomas's picture

Of course a spot in the candidates event also means extra income, even if [Ivanchuk or Ponomariov] should finish in last place. Rather similarly, the Kazan finalists Gelfand and Grischuk both earned 90,000 $ - but Gelfand will eventually get "a bit more" (actually several times more) from his match against Anand.

Anonymous's picture

everythng's wrong in this tournement

LuxusOhr's picture

From a practical point of view Qg4 looks wrong. The (self)pin blocks whites play.

redivivo's picture

Four straight wins with black against 2700+ opponents, if Anand, Carlsen or Kramnik had done something like that there would be no end to the talk about how they had proved that they were the best player in the world by doing it.

Septimus's picture

The second Svidler-Gris game was a short draw. Lookls like Svidler wasted his white yet again. Ivanchuk was aided by an unfortunate blunder by Pono and wrapped it up just after the first time control.

Knallo's picture

If you hadn't noticed, it's with *Black* that Svidler is winning most of the time!

Septimus's picture

True, but the question is why? Why not press the advantage of making the first move?

Thomas's picture

You have a certain point but "wasted" is the wrong term. Svidler admitted himself that he didn't get anything from the opening in his last four classical games (even though he still beat Kamsky _in the endgame_). But yesterday he may have been happy, or at least not too sad to "waste" the white pieces: for the first time he had white while ahead in the match, and he may have been a bit afraid of Grischuk's prep in sharper Najdorf lines. Moreover, as Svidler was Grischuk's second in Kazan it may be hard to find a line they hadn't investigated together (Kramnik and Karjakin had the same problem). After today's draw, one thing is for sure: Svidler will tomorrow be happy to waste another white - and Grischuk has to avoid a short draw.

Anonymous's picture

Pretty amazing: Svidler wasted his white 'cause he drew but Grischuk didn't waste his white when he lost. Septimus knows all!

Septimus's picture

Hey dumbass, did you watch the game? It was a short draw. In Grischuk's game with white, he had an active position but blundered in time trouble. Making short draws with white is a waste.

S3's picture

Making short draws with white while you are ahead in a 4 game match is the safest way to increase the chance of winning. Is this so hard to understand?

S3's picture

Besides, white has no advantage in the final position.

redivivo's picture

Not impossible that it will be a fifth black win in a row for Svidler. The next game is the one where Grischuk will go all out to win, I think it's his last chance since he knows he won't get much out of black in the last game. Maybe he will overpress and lose.

Knallo's picture

It will be interesting to watch his so-called time management.

Thomas's picture

Did you get what you expected? About an hour for the first eight moves - Grischuk survived but, given the match situation, this may not be enough. What will happen tomorrow? Twenty minutes on the first move, thinking what to play in a must-win game with black??!

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