Reports | September 17, 2011 23:31

Ivanchuk wins on second day World Cup finals

Ivanchuk wins on second day World Cup finals

(FULL REPORT) The second game of the World Cup final between Alexander Grischuk and Peter Svidler ended in a rather quick draw on Saturday. In the match for 3rd and 4th place, Vassily Ivanchuk took the lead; he beat Ruslan Ponomariov with the black pieces.

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 2

Asked about his unsuccessful FIDE World Championship match against the same opponent in January 2002, Ivanchuk replied:

I do not recall on the events that took place such a long time ago.

So maybe the Ukrainian doesn't feel think about it that way, but he does have a good chance to take revenge for his loss back then. On Saturday Ivanchuk took the lead in his mini-match, winning a strange game with the black pieces.

Strange, because Ponomariov did something quite risky in the opening: he went for a speculative knight sacrifice, maybe on intuition, who knows. Where Grischuk had played 13.h4 against Kramnik, last month at the Russian Championship, Ponomariov went for 13.Nxe6. This move has been played a few times, but scores very badly for White. And when Ivanchuk quickly played the well-known theoretical reply, Ponomariov started thinking!

Ponomariov looks disturbed after 13.Nxe6?! Qe5!

The complications led to an ending that was clearly better for Black, but for a long time Ponomariov was hanging on. Ivanchuk:

Frankly speaking when I captured with my Rook on f2, Ruslan managed to arrange his pieces and it seemed to me that he had enough compensation for a pawn. However, in the mutual time-trouble he made a rough mistake and the blow on g2 was decisive.

Just before the time control, in a difficult position, he blundered and the game was decided immediately.

Ivanchuk is one game point away from the next FIDE Candidates event.

There's not much to say about the game between Peter Svidler and Alexander Grischuk. Against Grischuk's Najdorf, of the many moves possible at move six Svidler chose 6.a4, according to Grischuk

the most boring and reliable.

The game confirmed this: after fifteen known moves and three new half moves, the position was equal and the point was split. Svidler:

As I said yesterday, most of my White games are drawn. I decided not to deviate from this successful recipe! (...) After my move 12.Qe2 that might be considered as a novelty, we got a practically forced position where we agreed for a draw. Black will double on the c-file, White on the d-file and neither one of them can really do anything. In general, it was rather logical that the game was drawn there, because there is really no serious plan. (...) It is clear that one could have played in a more ambitious way but once again — this is not the first White game in this tournament where I do not manage anything from the opening.

Grischuk added:

Today Peter proved once again that he is a man of his word. Like Alexander Kerzhakov who used to say: "I kicked, I am kicking and I will keep kicking!", Peter is saying: "With White I drew, I draw and I will draw!"


Two friends in a good mood: Peter Svidler and Alexander Grischuk

Games finals, day 2




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.


FBardamu's picture

Chucky for president!

Nima's picture

Yes! Hopes of seeing Ivanchuk become world champion one day are not dead.

Bartleby's picture

Today's game was a fine example how to create maximal problems for your opponent out of a small advantage. Since Ponomariov had no clear way to stop Ivanchuk's queenside advance, he sought dynamic compensation in active rook play at the expense of a pawn. A difficult decision, but probably the right one. Under pressure from Ivanchuk's following attack against his king, and with little time, Ponomariov blundered. Either he didn't see the saving combination that would have let him continue the game, or he noticed too late that his line was completely losing. Ivanchuk as the attacker had some room for minor inaccuracies. Ponomariov as defender had to find the narrowest path, and after many precise steps he missed one.

christos's picture

Quoting Mark Crowther in TWIC: After the game Ivanchuk faced the kind of tough questioning that unfortunately has now become all too common for the modern chess professional. "Do you like the sea?"

Actually, the English language commentary also suffers, in my opinion, from Anna Sharevich's chess journalism. Even though I don't speak the language, I have switched to the Russian commentary. After a while you understand the names of the squares and the pieces, but even if you don't, Sergey Shipov shows many interesting variations on the diagram chessboard anyway.

RuralRob's picture

Perhaps the question was really, "Do you like the Sicilian?", but the sound got cut off at the end.

paul's picture

Great coverage but indeed Anna Sharevich is just very very bad as a commenentator/journalist/speaker. Her way of extremely supporting Ivanchuk makes him look like a a moron who can't face the tension. I switched to Russian commentary too!

Peter Visser's picture

Hands off from Anna!

jmd85146's picture

In the game of Pono - Chucky I don't see why the position that arises after 41...Re8 (in the variation given at the end) is so bad for white. Doesn't that position looks very drawish?

Bartleby's picture

The problem are the queenside pawns. White has no good way to defend a3. The threat of creating an advanced passed a pawn, together with the other weakness on f3, gives Black good options. It's still a rook endgame, so draw is a possible outcome.

Anonymous's picture

These games between players of the same country seem to be fixed. Former soviet mentality never changes.

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