Reports | September 14, 2011 14:49

Grischuk reaches World Cup final after thrilling tie-break

Grischuk reaches World Cup final after thrilling tie-break

(FULL REPORT) Alexander Grischuk is Peter Svidler's opponent in the final of the FIDE World Cup which starts on Friday in Khanty-Mansiysk. Today, in a thrllling tie-break semi-final, Grischuk defeated Vassily Ivanchuk, who will play against his compatriot Ruslan Ponomariov in a match for 3rd and 4th place to decide on the third spot in the next FIDE Candidates tournament.

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

Tie-break round 6

You don't know what you've got until it's gone. We've been spoiled with such brilliant video coverage of the World Cup in the last few weeks. Then, when it's not there, you suddenly realize that you're so used to it, and really don't want to miss it!

After both Alexander Grischuk and Vassily Ivanchuk had won one rapid game in their semi-final tie-break, at the start of their first 10 minute + 10 seconds increment game suddenly the live video feed crashed, probably collapsing under the tremendous amount of fans who were following the game live. Unfortunately the crucial moment of the tie-break, where Chuky blundered in a won position, could only be followed the old way: with 'only' the board and the moves...

But let's start at the start, which was pretty dramatic already.

Khanty-Mansiysk (tie-break, game 1) 2011


Ivanchuk, with enough time on the clock, pushes the pawn to g4 instantly.

This game showed once again what everyone already knew: Ivanchuk, one of the most brilliant players who ever lived, always had, and always will have difficulties keeping his nerves under control during very important events, while Grischuk is just very fond of quick play and is at his very best in these circumstances.

However, at first the Ukrainian countered this theory:

Khanty-Mansiysk (tie-break, game 2) 2011


A superb game by Ivanchuk. But things went horribly wrong anyway:

Khanty-Mansiysk (tie-break, game 3) 2011


Peter Svidler, reading book during the final (well, probably during one of the breaks)

And so Ivanchuk was again in a must-win situation, but this time he didn't come close to winning chances:

Khanty-Mansiysk (tie-break, game 4) 2011


The end of this last game saw a strange little incident. When the players were repeating moves, and a position was reached for the second time, Grischuk looked at the arbiter and without stopping the clock he asked to see the score sheet, as he apparently wanted to find out if he could claim already.

The arbiter showed it, Grischuk played a few more moves and then Ivanchuk accepted the draw, as he couldn't avoid it anyway.

At the press conference Grischuk was asked:

You're not only a professional, but also lucky. Do you agree?

Grischuk answered:

No. I consider my wife Natasja very lucky. She always beats me in card games! I think I was lucky with Navara. Today was very tough; in the first game I got a very good position and in the second a very bad one. In the third game I was playing Polgar style, an absolutely unsound combination, all pieces were hanging, typically Judit! I was really looking forward to this tie-break; everyone knows that I prefer these tie-breaks over classical chess. I'm not thinking about Svidler yet; I don't want to spoil this very nice day.

The results of yesterday and today mean that the organizers can be happy with a full Russian final between Alexander Grischuk and Peter Svidler. These two players have also already qualified for the next FIDE Candidates tournament. The final will be played over four classical games and a possible tie-break. At the same time a match for 3rd and 4th place will be played between Ukrainians Vassily Ivanchuk and Ruslan Ponomariov and the winner will also qualify for the Candidates tournament. Tomorrow is a rest day; the finals start on Friday.

Finalists Grischuk and Svidler chatting after the tie-break has just finished

Tie-break games round 6



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 1               1.5
Ponomariov, Ruslan (UKR) ½ 0               0.5
Semifinal Match 02
Grischuk, Alexander (RUS) ½ ½ 1 0 1 ½       3.5
Ivanchuk, Vassily (UKR) ½ ½ 0 1 0 ½       2.5

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.


Ruben's picture

Chuck can still beat Pono now. Succes Chucky dont let you make mad.
Just play your strong chess and you will see!

Septimus's picture

Rapids are a different kettle of fish. Unfortunately for Chucky, Grischuk's sole aim was to get here. I'd say this is a pretty poor way do decide the result of a classical match. A way to solve this problem would be to increase the number of games to six once you get to the semi-final stage. Decide by a coin toss if all games are drawn.

Septimus's picture

Also, it in rather poor taste to jump to conclusions about "nerves" based on a garbage blitz game. It could have happened to anybody. I did not see the editor draw any conclusions in the case of Morozovich's match against Grischuk regarding "nerves" or "mental toughness"?

S3's picture

Anyone with a little knowledge of (recent) chess history knows that the editor is not "jumping to conclusions" but merely sees confirmation of this long standing theory. Besides, he also notes evidence of the contrary in the 2nd rapid game.

And speaking of people with poor taste, Grischuk played several-classical-brilliancies this tournament in spite of people saying that he'd only play for short draws.

Septimus's picture

Promoting an opinion/speculation to a "theory" in your own mind does not lend any credence to it.

S3's picture

I would agree, but this theory was not mine but that of Kasparov and several other chess players and commentators. Most guys with a little interest in chess and chess history know that.

Septimus's picture

I was not aware of that. In any case, I don't think Ivanchuk's famed nerves had anything to do here. Anybody who can think for themselves would immediately notice that blitz games are a lottery. After all according to the nerves theory, he should have collapsed on the floor withering in agony, spewing blood and guts. Instead, he won a few, made some critical mistakes due to bad time management and his luck just ran out.

harami's picture

I hate to think of this, can someone bribe Pono to lose ? ..

I mean it is Kirsan's chess world after all, this one bribe can be actually a noble gesture ..

st32's picture

Any new info on why Moro offered a draw in 12 moves?

Septimus's picture

Of course not. It would take some real journalism to get that information. Nowadays, there is no distinction between news and opinion.

AljechinsCat's picture

The loss of Ivanchuk seems a little undeserved and a lot of chess fans might now debating again on the format.
In my opinion same things should already be stated:
The many, many enthusiastic comments here and elsewhere about certain games have shown that this format leads to spectacular "chess shows", and together with the improved broadcast a fairly big audience via the Internet can be attracted.This is a good thing, and there is even more room for improvement for the presentation.
Secondly exactly this format gave 128 (!) GMs an equal chance to qualify for the world championship. In the past there has been so much bla-bla why certain players should take part in the championship bringing down the competition to a rather political topic. Here it only counts what happens on the board. This speaks in my opinion against an elite tournament format- this will start another boring "who should take part?"-discussion.
In my eyes Chanty 2011 was a great event and I like the format now more. Besides I already feel very sorry for the loser of the "small final".

Thomas's picture

"The loss of Ivanchuk seems a little undeserved"
Neglecting that Ivanchuk 'seems' to be more popular among chess fans than Grischuk, would a loss of Grischuk have been deserved? The decisive semi-blitz game was very tense (mostly due to Grischuk's creative and risky play), and the advantage changed sides several times - "Ivanchuk blew a winning position" is a gross simplification of what happened in the game. With this format, for better or for worse, there can be only one winner per match. IMO, it's also wrong to say that Grischuk only aimed for tiebreaks and faster time controls - this was probably the case in Kazan, also at the World Cup in his second-round match against Feller, but not in his other World Cup matches.

ebutaljib's picture

Of course not. Every one of the 4 deserve to be in the Candidates (plus many more who have been eliminated earlier) but there are just three tickets available. And there are very few people who wouldn't like to see Ivanchuk in the Candidates again after 20 years.

Knallo's picture

A minor point: Not all of the 128 are GMs.

AljechinsCat's picture

Youre right :).

Brecht's picture

just wondering, what is the purpose they are playing a final now? they both got a ticket to the Candidates Cycle,'s just now for the highest money price now between Svidler and Grishuck, or do they get some special privileges too in the Candidates if they win the final?

ebutaljib's picture

The difference between the winner and runner-up is 32.000 USD. Thats enough reason to play.

Septimus's picture

For non-Europeans he means $32,000 (thirty two thousand) or 32 x 10^3. :)

Septimus's picture

For non-Europeans he means $32,000 (thirty two thousand) or 32 x 10^3. :)

RealityCheck's picture

Will the battle for third place be contested over two, four, or six long-games?

ebutaljib's picture

Same as the final - 4 games.

ebutaljib's picture

I don't know when did FIDE change thee regulations but now it seems that the Candidates won't be played as matches but as a double round robin tournament.

ebutaljib's picture

The pdf document was last changed on September 7th, 2011. Typical FIDE, they change something without announcing it.

ebutaljib's picture

And here is the proof that FIDE changed it. On August 29th it was still saying "Candidates matches" - see google snapshot:

while now it says "Candidates tournament" see current page:

Unfortunatelly I can't find a snapshot of the original pdf in web archive.

ebutaljib's picture

I found the original regulations. You can see them here (the site seems a little slow so have patience):

mishanp's picture

It wasn't official, but Sutovsky revealed the change in mid-August:

ebutaljib's picture

Thanks for the info. But this is no official announcement. FIDE should announce such things on their site (that is what is it for!). And while I think that tournament is better and more atractive format than (short) matches, this things just can not be changed secretly and in the middle of the cycle!!!

mishanp's picture


S3's picture

Might be annoying for Carlsen. I suppose he now can participate in a drr title shot-tournament without qualifying in any event, like he wanted. But that would also mean particpating in a cycle that was changed halfway, and he made it look like that was one of the reasons of withdrawing earlier.
Should he participate or remain true to his word?

Chessfan's picture

Magnis Carlsen is a huge talent but doesn't have the courage as of now to take on Anand/Kramnik/Aronian. He will participate when he musters that courage to take on them.

Competing in other routine tournaments that happen all through the year against them(Anand/Kramnik/Aronian) is completely different to competing against them in a World Cup. I don't rate his chances any higher than 40% against them in a match, and he knows that and smartly uses various "intellectual shields" to shy away from them. You need balls to fight against Anand/Kramnik/Aronian in a match and Carlsen needs to grow them to fight them on. He has still has plenty of time on his side, so I definitely see he can grow balls during that time and compete against them when his most tough opponents are growing old. It is all part of this strategy.

Sorry Carlsen fan-boys, I may offended you with my candid views, but this is what I feel about your "chickened-out" hero:)

ebutaljib's picture

There is a player in history who "chickened-out" from far more competitions than Carlsen, but is by some considered as the greatest ever. Maybe you dislike the way Carlsen "chickened out" because there is a difference between these two: Carlsen said "I'm not playing", the other guy said "I'm not playing unless you give me this, this and this."

S3's picture

Effectively he did do just that; withdrawing and simultaneously describing how he thinks things should be done (no wch match(es) and so on}. And apparently Fide met some of his demands (again).
I hope we don't see a repeat of the 70's, where Fischer's every demand was met while the world champion and other top players had to wait and watch it happen. And when they were at their weakest, doubtlesly affected by the situation, Fischer decided to play. Without ever giving them the chance to fight back in an equal position.
Because of these off the board tactics I can't see how Fischer would be the greatest ever.

Chessfan's picture

Well put S3.

To me, hero is the one who plays with the established rules and wins them in those rules and then sacrifices his privileges for the next round, if he wishes to do.

The rest of the stuff is all hypocrisy, I like Carlsen but I already summarised above what I think about his chances against the above mentioned players. There is too much stake for him to take such chances, because he still has many fan-boys who already anoint him as the greatest ever and already an "Official WC" in their minds, since he sits on world number one ranking.

I never considered Bobby Fischer to be in the top three, let alone the greatest. To me, champion is the one who fights for a prolonged period of time and fights various great players and comes on top in critical matches like World championships. Hence, the great Garry Kasparov thumps Bobby Fischer on all counts.

ebutaljib's picture

Oh so we do agree afterall :)

redivivo's picture

Let me guess, your interpretation will be one of these two and it will be repeated quite a few times on these pages: 1. Carlsen is still a scared coward chicken and doesn't play, or 2. Carlsen is a lying hypocrite with Fischer style demands and participates. :-)

ebutaljib's picture

When talking about the format: I would go even one step further - the World Champion should be joined by 7 "Candidates" and together they would contest a double round-robin. The top two in this tournament would then play for World Championship, with the tournament winner having the draw odds in a match. Seeding the reigning Champion straight into the final match is in my opinion just too much of a privilege. This is not against Anand or any other player, my position is the same regardless who the Champion is.

Septimus's picture

Grischuk, lost with the white pieces today. He blundered in time-trouble. He gave up a free pawn on the Q-side and while Svidler neutralized his king-side attack. I wonder why he did not go with h4 instead of h3 if he were giving up free pawns?


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