Reports | September 19, 2011 14:31

Svidler wins FIDE World Cup, Ivanchuk finishes 3rd

Svidler wins FIDE World Cup, Ivanchuk 3rd

(FULL REPORT) Peter Svidler won the FIDE World up 2011 after drawing the 4th game of the final against Alexander Grischuk today. The grandmaster from St. Petersburg set the final score at 2.5-1.5 and clinched the title and US $120,000 first prize. Vassily Ivanchuk managed to draw a difficult ending for the second time against Ruslan Ponomariov and finished third, qualifying for the next FIDE Candidates.

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 4

I'd like to say that, in regards to my opening, I sort of crawled over the finish ribbon. My courage was over, my hands started shaking!

said a happy Peter Svidler at today's press conference. Smiling modestly, the grandmaster from St. Petersburg seemed to need a bit of time to get adjusted to the idea that he just reached his career's best performance: victory at the 2011 FIDE World Cup. He agreed with the interviewer that winning in Khanty-Mansiysk was his biggest sporting achievement, which came just a month after his 6th Russian title. His friend and opponent in the final Alexander Grischuk didn't disagree either, and joined the journalists who applauded for Svidler at the start and end of the press conference. But let's first look at the game!

Despite being nervous, Svidler played pretty confidently:

Khanty-Mansiysk (04), 2011


Asked about his most memorable moment in Khanty-Mansiysk, Svidler answered:

It's hard to point out one moment. Despite the fact that I have won more than one classical game, it was never easy. Maybe the second game against Kamsky and if not that one, we must look at the 2007 edition.

Despite losing the fight for the highest prize, Grischuk joined the press conference as well:

I was very happy after the opening because all my pieces are still alive and in fighting positions. (...) After I played the ridiculous move 18...Nh7 I didn't have any real chances. Peter played very energetically; maybe he could have achieved even more but all he needed was a draw and he achieved it easily. Of all the participants Peter definitely played the best and deserved the victory.

For the second time, Vassily Ivanchuk managed to draw a very difficult ending against Ruslan Ponomariov:

Khanty-Mansiysk (04), 2011


As TWIC's Mark Crowther pointed out, Ivanchuk qualified for the Candidates for the first time since 1991 (!) when he was eliminated by Artur Jussupow. At the press conference, the Ukrainian said:

Yes, I feel very happy, but I was feeling happy before as well. Of course it's always pleasant to win! My opponent outplayed me today; I had a very difficult position. Ruslan came close to winning this game.
(...) In three days another tournament starts: the Grand Slam Masters Final. I'm a bit tired but I'm going to fight further!

Peter Svidler officially won US $120,000 but if we don't take into account the 20% that's going to FIDE, he actually pocketed 'only' $96,000. Grischuk won net $64,000, and both Ivanchuk and Ponomariov net $40,000. The four players can enjoy another 'rest day' as the closing ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday evening.

And so after three gruelling weeks the World Cup, with all its great games and superb video coverage, is finally over. But, as Svidler noted today, the whole circus just continues.

Now everyone is off to Slovenia. Absolutely no rest for the wicked!

The World Cup winner was referring to the European Club Cup which starts already next Sunday in Slovenia. It's going to be terribly strong, with not only e.g. Boris Gelfand and the complete Armenian squad, but also three of the World Cup finalists: Grischuk, Ponomariov and Svidler. A day later, Vassily Ivanchuk starts in the Grand Slam Masters Final in Sao Paulo, Brazil together with Vishy Anand, Levon Aronian, Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura and Paco Vallejo.

Results finals

Name G1 G2 G3 G4 R1 R2 r3 r4 B1 B2 SD Tot
Final. Match for the 1st place
Grischuk, Alexander (RUS) 0 ½ ½ ½               1.5
Svidler, Peter (RUS) 1 ½ ½ ½               2.5
Final. Match for the 3rd place
Ivanchuk, Vassily (UKR) ½ 1 ½ ½               2.5
Ponomariov, Ruslan (UKR) ½ 0 ½ ½               1.5

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.


Janis Nisii's picture

Congratulations to Svidler, a fine player and a very interesting human being (with a good healthy sense of humor too!).
I've asked one top player (a _very_ top player) who he would have bet for as the world cup winner and he told me 'Svidler!' without esitations. These top GM know everything, don't they? ;)

misja's picture

the very top, that must be Anand then

MJul's picture

"(a _very_ top player)"

S3's picture

It's certainly not Carlsen then..;)
He tipped Ponomariov as the winner. That wasn't a bad guess either, with Pono ending 4th. It's really a shame that he won't get a shot in the candidates while others get there without playing.

MJul's picture

I repeat that because if he said "I've asked one top player (a _very_ top player) who he would have bet " it's logical that he didn't want to tell who he was.

And... today I'm too happy so I won't discuss with you, my dear.

Janis Nisii's picture

I'm a she. And he's one in the top ten. Oh and one=a ;)

ebutaljib's picture

It looks like Ivanchuk will finally made! The game is still not over though, but a draw seems secured on move 54.

ebutaljib's picture

Hooray for ivanchuk!!! So Svidler, Grischuk and Ponomariov are in the Candidates tournament. They will be joined by either Anand or Gelfand (runner-up in 2012 WC match) three rating qualifiers (most likely Carlsen, Aronian and Kramnik) and a host nominee (time for USA to step up and nominate Nakamura!) That will be one hell of a Candidates tournament!!!

ebutaljib's picture

Oups, that is of course: Svidler, Grischuk and Ivanchuk are in the Candidates tournament.

ebutaljib's picture

Oups! I meant: Svidler, Grischuk and Ivanchuk are in the Candidates tournament.

S3's picture

Curiously, during the world cup press conference they said that Ivanchuk qualified for candidate matches.

By the way: What happens if one of the top 3 rating qualifiers declines to play?
Will Topalov-being 4th in line- be included??

misja's picture
S3's picture

Thanks Misja. If Carlsen, Aronian or Kramnik decline to play Topalov will be in. Pretty sick considering the level of his play and amount of his games. I'd rather see Ponomariov or Radjabov/Karjakin in that case.

Thomas's picture

Actually the average of the July 2011 and January 2012 rating lists decides the rating spot(s). As Karjakin had Elo 2788 back in July (before dropping about 25 points), he is still favorite for the third spot along with Kramnik (Carlsen's and Aronian's spots seem 99% safe). Topalov would only enter the equation if Karjakin loses another 15 points in the coming months - or if Topalov gains some points (but will he play at all??). Makes perfect sense to me because Topa's current 2768 is a leftover of his former high level - in the last 1 1/2 years he lost points whenever he played (WCh match, Olympiad, Nanjing, Kazan) and was otherwise inactive. Moreover, he already had more than enough privileges: a shortcut to his match against Anand and being seeded first in Kazan (which didn't help him much). My worst-case scenario would be a candidates event in Bulgaria with a wildcard for Topalov (oh nooo, noooot again ....).

misja's picture

"runner-up" for a match? that's called loser
i'm happy for Ivanchuk

adam's picture

tbh, i'd rather like to see topa or karjakin on the list above than naka... anyways, it was an exciting tournament, warm congrats to the winners, even though they weren't the ones i was rooting for

KingTal's picture

Flawless performance by Svidler, not even losing a single game in the whole tournament. And congrats to Ivanchuk, should be an epic Candidates with him.

Septimus's picture

Svidler is a very solid player and a cool customer. Congrats!

Ivanchuk's game ended with just two kings and a knight on the board. At one point Pono had tripled pawns on the f file...quite amusing to see. :)

This new word verification to post is annoying! Please get rid of it!

Michel83's picture

No offense, just a typo I guess :) - but it was Ivanchuk who had the tripled pawns on the f-file.

Septimus's picture

Sorry,you are right. I mixed it up. :)

S3's picture

Ivanchuk is in for a world of pain. In 3 days he has to compete in a top tournament while he just played for a month in the cup. Not the first time Ivanchuk plays too much, I fear this won't end well.

Bartleby's picture

People fear. Ivanchuk plays. Which of those two is too much?

Knallo's picture

Where is he playing? (I agree that it seems slightly insane.)

Morley's picture

He is playing in Bilbao, against the best of the best. Anand, Carlsen, Aronian, Nakamura, Ivanchuk, and Vallejo Pons make up the field. Should be a good one.

S3's picture

Defenitely a good one, but it would almost be inhuman if Ivanchuk performs well there. And it would be a shame if this super GM affects the final standings by dropping points out of tiredness (I dare predict that Ivanchuk will make a couple of big blunders at Bilbao).

Anyway, in the past Ivanchuk has dropped rating like this when he could have qualified by rating if he just had stopped playing. This is just one of the reasons why I think that rating is not suited to determine a candidate.
Fortunately Ivanchuk is safe now anyway.

RealityCheck's picture

Congratulations! GM Svidler, GM Grischuk, GM Ivanchuk and GM Ponomariov!
You put on a great show in the spirit of unity; really enjoyed it.

Best wishes and much chess success to all of you in the coming days, months, and years ahead.

Nima's picture

Phew! Ivanchuk qualified.

anonymous's picture

I love Ivanchuk's style. But if Svidler is in this kind of form when the Candidates tournament comes, I don't think Ivanchuk will be able to overcome him.

ShockeR_40's picture

thats pretty good ! ;)

I would prefer Ponomariov instead of grischuk though.

Oh well, one cannot have everything, right ?

noELO's picture

Sorry for David Navara (49.Nc3 in second game vs. Grischuk). He could be not only Fair play prize holder.

Septimus's picture

Deciding three candidates based on rating seems a bit illogical. It would be weird to see the top rated player not compete, so perhaps one exception can be made. But allowing three is a bit too much.

Jesus H.Christ word-verification batman :(

Stephen Leeb's picture

I admit I am an Ivanchuk fan, so you can take what I say with a grain of salt. I believe Ivanchuk showed he can conquer his nerves in this tournament. His bludner of a rook against Grishuk, time notwithstanding, was the difference in the match, yet he played extremely well against Pono. Indeed I would argue that Pono made no mistakes in the last game yet in the chosen opening Ivanchuk showed a draw was the best white result. I doubt that any game in the tournament was up to this level. If the world's most brillant player of the past generation is to become world champion it will be Ivanchuk.

harami's picture

Congratulations to GM Ivanchuk (chucky). Great to see the genius back in action at the World Championships !

harami's picture

My thoughts go out to GM Ponomariov for coming so close, both this time as runner up to Ivanchuk and last world cup as runner up to Gelfand.

He seems to be a kind man and i look forward to some invites for GM Ponomariov in top events.

Thomas's picture

Agreed! Actually I would (dare to) say that Ponomariov left the better impression in three out of four games: he comfortably equalized with black in game 1, and had the advantage (but not enough to win) in games 3 and 4. It was all decided by the offday he had in game two. Ivanchuk fans will disagree - but while I do not mean to imply that Chucky doesn't deserve to play, and isn't most welcome in the candidates event, Stephen Leeb's admittedly biased comment above is quite over the top.

Martin's picture

I'd hope he stands a chance yes. I would rather fear Chucky being 'overplayed' before he starts that candidates tourney. Now is not a big problem. Bilbao is kinda of just another tournament.

champak's picture

somehow Anand seems to be far far above than these players when 12 game one to one rounds are taken in considerations. God save gelfand the humilitaion.

redivivo's picture

Anand is an all time great, but it was 5.5-5.5 before the last game against Topalov, when the latter avoided a repetition because he knew he would lose in a rapid tiebreak. There are probably several players that are no weaker than the current edition of Topalov that could score a similar result, I don't count Gelfand among those though. :-)

anonymous's picture

Well some players styles are harder to crack - just like years ago Shirov beat Kramnik in a match and Karpov beat Kasparov in a rapid match when there was a huge disparity in rating also Aronian had a plus score against Anand for some time. Also Topalov had access to a huge supercomputer loaded with a not-yet-released copy of Rybka (at that time the worlds strongest chess software).

anonymous's picture

Also there was the business with the organizers in Bulgaria not being willing to delay the match for a few days to allow Anand to rest from his long road journey and acclimatize (remember all planes were grounded by volcanic ash). This is not to make excuses for Anand because as the winner of the match he doesn't need excuses - but all these things taken together were good reasons for the match to be close. Those reasons and the fact that Topalov was a very dangerous 2800+ player at the time and there haven't been many chess players that have been able to reach that level at any point in their careers. At that time Topalov was really strong.

redivivo's picture

The difference is small in the top, and to me Anand isn't in a class of his own. If Aronian or Carlsen wins the Candidates I think few still will see a 45-year-old Anand as far far above them when that match is played, I think the three are pretty equal already. It will be fun to see them in the Grand Slam final and see who comes out on top, it would be nice if Anand wins but I wonder if he will make it, it's been a very long time since he won a tournament in classical chess.

adam's picture

agreed, i do not believe anand stands out sooo extreme. he got very, very solid over the years, but kramnik or topa would for sure take another grip on him and it is more or less agreed that carlsen and aronian are up to the task. additionally, i could name a half dozen other players from the top 50, youngsters as well as old foxes, whom i would not bet my monthly salary against. gelfand is one of them

Sarunas's picture

As I had predicted, no further game in World Cup could outsmart 26...Re2!! with coming Qg3 as in Kamsky -Svidler.The man able to make such brilliancies appear, deserves more than to win a single game.
Basically, in 4 game format no lesser player can pin hopes on making it to rapids and then fishing in the mud. In 2 game semifinal Chucky was pressing but due to format inconsistencies failed to deliver a final blow, so the match went drawn. Playing for 3rd place, he could aim untroubled and now he didn't let it go.

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