Reports | May 24, 2009 23:19

Gelfand wins 3rd ACP World Rapid Cup

3rd ACP World Rapid CupBoris Gelfand won the 3rd ACP World Rapid Cup today by beating Peter Svidler 3-1 in the final. The first two rapid games had ended in a draw and despite reaching very good positions twice, Svidler lost both games 3 and 4. Scoring 9.5 out of 13 rapid games, Gelfand earned US $ 10,000 in one weekend of chess in Odessa.

The 3rd ACP World Rapid Cup took place May 22-24 in Odessa, Ukraine. The venue was the Odessa National Academy of Law.

It was a 16-player knockout tournament with two-game matches, except for the final which had four games. The rate of play was 20 minutes per game with an increment of 5 seconds per move.

3rd ACP World Rapid CupTraditionally sponsored by the Pivdenny Bank in Odessa, the prize fund was USD $57,000 with US $10,000 for the winner, Boris Gelfand. As the ACP World Cup commentator Viktor Korchnoi decided, Alexander Moiseenko was awarded a special prize for the best game (Moiseenko-Bacrot 1-0), named after the Odessa IM Mikhail Podgaets. Podgaets passed away in Odessa on 14 May 2009.

On the second day (Saturday) Jakovenko, Gelfand, Grischuk and Svidler had qualified for the semi-finals. In the all-Russian semi-final, Svidler defeated Grischuk with Black in the first game, using the Alekhine Defence which he had used to kick out Movsesian as well. He then outplayed his opponent with White in a Scheveningen, but didn't press all the way and allowed Grischuk a draw.

3rd ACP World Rapid Cup

Svidler and Grischuk shaking hands at the start of their semi-final

Gelfand and Jakovenko needed an Armageddon game to decide their semi-final after the two rapid games had ended in a draw, and both players won one blitz game. In the first Gelfand won a piece in the opening, but he then lost in a Petroff (Jakovenko was successful in the 3.d4 Nxe4 4.dxe5 d5 5.Nbd2 line which was also tried by Gashimov and Naiditsch in this tournament). In the Armageddon game White got 5 minutes against 4 for Black, who only needed a draw. Gelfand got the white pieces and won nicely.

3rd ACP World Rapid Cup

The semi-finals in progress in the Odessa National Academy of Law

The final started peacefully with two quiet draws, and then Svidler got a big advantage with Black in game three. He missed 17...Nb4 and then 23...Nf3+ was probably also better; soon Gelfand's bishops became a killing factor. In the fourth game Svidler blundered horribly with 56.Bxd5?? where 56.Kxh1 Bxc4 57.Rxc4 Rxa5 58.Rb5 is most probably a winning rook ending.

Nonetheless winning the 3rd ACP World Rapid Cup is of course an excellent result for Gelfand, who did the same as Shirov yesterday: proving that one can still be at the top in one's late 30s or early 40s!

3rd ACP World Rapid Cup

The final between Svidler and Gelfand


1/8 1/4 1/2 Final Winner
A.Grischuk (W)
2 - 0 A.Grischuk (W)
P.Eljanov (B)
1,5 - 0,5 A.Grischuk (W)
A.Moiseenko (W)
1,5 - 0,5 A.Moiseenko (B)
E. Bacrot (B)
0,5 - 1,5 P.Svidler
S.Movsesian (W)
1,5 - 0,5 S.Movsesian (B)
P.Tregubov (B)
1,5 - 2,5 P.Svidler (B)
A.Karpov (W)
1,5 - 2,5 P.Svidler (W)
P.Svidler (B)
3-1 B.Gelfand
M.Gurevich (W)
0,5 - 1,5 D.Jakovenko (W)
D.Jakovenko (B)
3 - 2 D.Jakovenko (B)
Y.Drozdovskij (W)
1 - 3 A.Naiditsch (B)
A.Naiditsch (B)
2 - 3 B.Gelfand
E.Najer (W)
0,5 - 1,5 B.Gelfand (W)
B.Gelfand (B)
2 - 0 B.Gelfand (W)
V.Gashimov (W)
1,5 - 0,5 V.Gashimov (B)
Z.Efimenko (B)

Games Day 2 and 3

Click on the pairings at the top of the board to reveal a drop down list of all the games. Click on the arrow under the board just once, then the arrow keys of your keyboard also work.

3rd ACP World Rapid Cup

Boris Gelfand, turning 41 in exactly one month, but still going strong

All photos © Boris Bukhman


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.


Amos's picture

What's with that "Boris Gelfand, turning 41 in exactly one month, but still going strong" caption? I think 35-40 is the age a chessplayer reaches his best. I think Gelfand will show great performance for years to come.

Peter Doggers's picture

In the current world's top 50, Ivanchuk and Gelfand are the only two players above 40. Don't get me wrong, I also think Boris will continue to be successful for many years, but at the absolute top you just don't see it too often anymore at his age.

midi's picture

Also a nice performance by the the Alekhine

mavi's picture

Good to see that the PETROFF was highly popular in this tournament!

Merijn's picture

Untypical how Svidler ruined his good positions in the final...

Deep Mikey's picture

Have there been four rapid games in the final or two rapid and two blitz?

Deep Mikey's picture

Although many sites reported two rapid and two blitz games, I found the information on the official website: "In the final, four games will be played." So no need to reply! :)

Peter Doggers's picture

Luckily we weren't one of those many sites... Check the third paragraph! ;-) (Which could have been written more clearly, I admit.)

rivaldo's picture

congrats Boris!

I enjoy your games. you should stop vishys victories in rapid in Mainz.
your chess is better than his!

Deep Mikey's picture

LOL! Better than the fact that you could find the info on the official site. But I was totally worried, that ChessBase (german) for example wrote about two blitz games. Meanwhile it has been corrected.

And to the other comment: If I'm not totally wrong, Gelfand was very very lucky in two last games against Svidler. I honestly doubt that Vishy would have overlooked the mate in game 4 for example. And I also doubt that Vishy would blunder the Queen as Jakovenko did against Boris.

But I must agree that Gelfand would be an interesting opportunity for our Chess Classic in Mainz. He is one of the small number of top players who have not been in Mainz yet.

If his chess is really better than Vishy's ... well, I fear you are quite alone with this statement ...

Deep Mikey's picture

additional to my previous post: I even doubt that Gelfand himself thinks that he is better than Vishy! ;)

rivaldo's picture

gelfand is just too modest. he has a unique understanding and style. he's able to play every type of position. from very complex tactical battles to dry positional ones.
I understand aronian very good, when he says, that gelfands games had the biggest impression on him and he learned the most from him compared to the other top players today.
gelfand always had exceptional results in rapid. for instance crushing wins (6-2) against polgar and many others.
here's some outdated rapid-ratinglist:

Thomas's picture

Rivaldo, all you write about Gelfand is true - so he deserves to be more in the spotlight than he is at present. As far as I am concerned, I only realized that Gelfand is such a strong and 'complete' player when I bought and read his "My most memorable games".
But all of this is also true concerning Anand. And if ratings, tournament victories and WCh titles mean anything, there is no evidence whatsoever that Gelfand is better than Anand. Incidentally, the link you provide (while at most marginally relevant at present, from 1999!) supports that picture:
" 1. Vishwanathan Anand (India) 2840, 2. Vladimir Kraminik (Russia) 2760, 3. Boris Gelfand (Israel) 2730"

GuidedByVoices's picture

What I liked most from the tournament is a picture published in Chessbase, where Karpov and Korchnoi are sitting next to each other, both in very good mood. This only shows that in chess, the boundary between being enemies (1970-80's) and friends (today) is somewhat blurred now... I really wellcome this, as both Karpov and Korchnoi helped so much to shape the state of the art in highly competitive chess... A really nice caption!

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