Reports | December 11, 2009 20:50

World Cup Final starts with two draws

Game 1 and 2 of the World Cup final between Boris Gelfand and Ruslan Ponomariov have ended in a draw. In the first, Ponomariov achieved a tiny edge against Gelfand's Petroff but by strong play the Israeli GM held the draw quite easily. The second game lasted only 20 moves, when Gelfand apparently decided that his opponent had equalized in a Catalan.

The FIDE World Chess Cup takes place November 20th-December 15th inn Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. It's a seven-round knockout with six rounds of matches comprising two games per round. The final seventh round consists of four games and will be played December 10th-14th. The time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an addition of 30 seconds per move from move one. Games start at 15:00h local time (11:00 CET).

Results of the final

World Cup 2009 | Results round 7

Games 1 & 2

After the only rest day of the tournament on Wednesday, the final of the FIDE World Cup started yesterday. Our online commentator GM Sipke Ernst wrote: "Both players have shown excellent form throughout the tournament, so it is very hard to pick the winner. A lot will depend on the energy left with the two players. Both enjoyed some rest after the semi-finals (Gelfand even had two restdays in a row) but I think this is hardly enough to recuperate."

Well, perhaps Ruslan Ponomariov is a slight favourite. If only because he has won such a tournament before, back in 2002, when the FIDE World Championship title was at stake. Besides, in head-to-head games Ponomariov scored 9.5-6.5 against Gelfand, although it must be said that half of those games were blitz and rapid games. All games with a classical time control ended in a draw so far, and this is still the case at half time in the final.

In the first game Ruslan Ponomariov started with the white pieces and he had to prove that there's still hope for White against the Petroff, these days played by Boris Gelfand with almost no exception. The 26-year-old Ukrainian chose a set-up that was tried by Akopian a few times, e.g. against Kasimdzhanov in Jermuk this year. As always, Gelfand was well prepared and came up with the new idea 19...Bxe5 and 20...c5. According to GM Ernst this was an instant equalizer.

Still, White's position looked a bit more pleasant, thanks to his bishop pair and a passed d-pawn, but with some tactics Gelfand showed that Black had not much to fear. Afterwards, at the press conference the players were asked whether the Petroff will 'kill chess'. Ponomariov didn't agree as he thought he had reasonable chances in the game. Gelfand said the same: "No, you cannot kill chess. Yes, we played the Petroff but we had the position which gave possibilities for both opponents. Today we were equal. If someone had blundered, we could have scored a result."

Today's game, live commentated by GM Dimitri Reinderman, was rather disappointing. In a Catalan Ponomariov chose a Stonewall set-up and right after the opening, at move 20, he offered a draw, which was accepted by Gelfand. Reinderman: "Gelfand accepted the draw offer from Ponomariov after 8 minutes thinking. The timing of the draw-offer was good: this is the moment that white has to start thinking of a plan, and it's not so easy. If White gives Black hanging pawns, his knight on e5 will be hanging. For Black, the next move isn't obvious too though: both dxc4 Nxc4 (attacking the bishop) and cxd4 exd4 (opening the e-file so White can attack e6) has disadvantages. Rybka doesn't really have a clue either: it gives 21.Nfd3, 21.f3, and 21.Nh3 (strange move, but it does have a nasty threat...) as the best moves (0.2 for White). The first suggestion looks most normal; it's useful to defend the other knight. I hoped to learn something today from how Gelfand would play this type of position: alas it was not to be. At least I learned that he seems to think that Black is ok here..."

ChessVibes LiveYou can still replay GM Dimitri Reinderman's annotations on the live page. We're covering the World Cup and the London Chess Classic for free; starting from 2010 our live commentary will be subscription-based. You'll find more info here.

Games 1-2

Game viewer by ChessTempo

FIDE World Cup - Pairings & results rounds 2-7

Round 2
Round 3
Round 4
Round 5
Round 6
Round 7
 
Shabalov (2606)
  Navara (2707)
Navara (2707)  
Karjakin (2723)
Karjakin (2723)    
  Karjakin (2723)    
Timofeev (2651)  
Karjakin (2723)
Sakaev (2626)    
  Sakaev (2626)    
Radjabov (2748)      
Vitiugov (2694)    
Vitiugov (2694)    
  Vitiugov (2694)    
Milos (2603)  
Karjakin (2723)
Cheparinov (2671)    
  Bologan (2692)    
Bologan (2692)      
Laznicka (2637)    
Morozevich (2750)        
  Laznicka (2637)        
Laznicka (2637)      
Mamedyarov (2719)    
Milov (2652)    
  Mamedyarov (2719)    
Mamedyarov (2719)      
Mamedyarov (2719)    
Wang Hao (2708)    
  Wang Hao (2708)    
Ganguly (2654)  
Gelfand (2758)
Meier (2653)  
  Vachier-Lagrave (2718)  
Vachier-Lagrave (2718)    
Vachier-Lagrave (2718)  
Yu Yangyi (2527)      
  Yu Yangyi (2527)      
Bartel (2618)    
Gelfand (2758)  
Amonatov (2631)      
  Gelfand (2758)      
Gelfand (2758)        
Gelfand (2758)      
Polgar (2680)      
  Polgar (2680)      
Nisipeanu (2677)    
Gelfand (2758)  
Iturrizaga (2605)  
  Jobava (2696)  
Jobava (2696)    
Grischuk (2736)  
Grischuk (2736)      
  Grischuk (2736)      
Tkachiev (2642)    
Jakovenko (2736)  
Sandipan (2623)  
  Jakovenko (2736)  
Jakovenko (2736)    
Jakovenko (2736)  
Rublevsky (2697)  
  Areshchenko (2664)  
Areshchenko (2664)
 
Sasikiran (2664)
  Bacrot (2700)
Bacrot (2700)  
Bacrot (2700)
Wang Yue (2734)    
  Wang Yue (2734)    
Savchenko (2644)  
Ponomariov (2739)
Akobian (2624)    
  Ponomariov (2739)    
Ponomariov (2739)      
Ponomariov (2739)    
Motylev (2695)    
  Motylev (2695)    
Najer (2695  
Ponomariov (2739)
Li Chao (2596)    
  Li Chao (2596)    
Pelletier (2589)      
Gashimov (2758)    
Gashimov (2758)        
  Gashimov (2758)        
Zhou Jianchao (2629      
Gashimov (2758)    
Caruana (2652)    
  Caruana (2652)    
Dominguez (2719)      
Caruana (2652)    
Alekseev (2715)    
  Alekseev (2715)    
Fressinet (2653)  
Ponomariov (2739)
Khalifman (2612)  
  Tomashevsky (2708)  
Tomashevsky (2708)    
Shirov (2719)  
Shirov (2719)      
  Shirov (2719)      
Fedorchuk (2619)    
Svidler (2754)  
Nyback (2628)      
  Svidler (2754)      
Svidler (2754)        
Svidler (2754)      
Naiditsch (2689)      
  Naiditsch (2689)      
Onischuk (2672)    
Malakhov (2706)  
Zhou Weiqi (2603)  
  Kamsky (2695)  
Kamsky (2695)    
So (2640)  
Ivanchuk (2739)      
  So (2640)      
So (2640)    
Malakhov (2706)  
Inarkiev (2645)  
  Eljanov (2729)  
Eljanov (2729)    
Malakhov (2706)  
Malakhov (2706)  
  Malakhov (2706)  
Smirin (2662)



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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, 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.

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Comments

Bert de Bruut's picture

Both sides aiming for 0-0 as Reindermann jokingly said in his introduction to the second game. Loath them both!

test's picture

At this level you can't blame black for being satisfied with the draw.
Their lack of fighting spirit did get them into the final though. ;)

ChessGirl's picture

Ok, Bert, first of all, you "loathe" them both. "Loath" is an adjective.

Second of all, if your chess is any better than your grammar, I´m sure any day now you will reach the World Cup final and you will show the world your great fighting spirit after over a month of playing chess almost restlessly (both Gelfand and Ponomariov played in MTal before the WC). I shall wait for that day with great expectation :)

Peter Doggers's picture

Irony ;-)

ChessGirl's picture

oh heck don´t tell me I just tried my own medicine

T. Goto's picture

Well, I think Ponomariov took his share of risks in previous round, and he chose the set-up that frustrates his opponent; he betted that Gelfand would take a draw. Given the question about Petroff in the interview ('killing the chess"), I think this draw offer was of a psychological nature. Pono wanted to show Gelfand that he can go on as long as it takes, and he can force a draw with black as well, with or without Petroff. Since Gelfand heavily relies on Petroff, I think it is very annoying for him to draw like this at the final stage. Gelfand is simply waiting for a blunder, and Pono knows what he is thinking. Very intriguing.

Lennart's picture
Thomas's picture

@T. Goto: "Gelfand heavily relies on Petroff" - this is not, at least not completely true. Gelfand is also an expert in the Najdorf, though recently he played it only in rapid and blitz games (maybe coming Monday in case of need?). His last classical Najdorf games seem to be from Dortmund 2006, his last Najdorf wins from 2005 against Radjabov and Nakamura. [Source, as always: chessgames.com]

T. Goto's picture

@Thomas,
Agreed. Gelfand knows his theories better than most players. That being said, Petroff has been serving him very well.

At this point, it is a matter of who cracks first. I have no idea who that will be. It is getting more psychological and I am intrigued by it. From this stand point, Pono's draw offer and obtaining it was very interesting. It is entirely different story that his gamesmanship today gave him any tangible plus. Yet he at least showed that he can make his experienced opponent to think twice.

Boybawang's picture

The final position is still very playable! Why are they permitting this kind of draw? It's a disrespect to chess fans. FIDE should pass a rule to deduct both players ELO points for quick draws. It's not about having an Equal position. It's about who will prevail from a given Equal Position is the better player. After all, chess is roughly equal at the first move. I know they're tired but this is what competition is all about. Imagine if quick draw is applied in boxing.

jussu's picture

Yeah, why don't you go and teach them some chess. After all, we have payed a heck a lot of money for watching their games, and now they fail us like this.

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