Reports | September 10, 2011 16:55

World Cup R5.2: Svidler and Ponomariov reach semi-finals

World Cup R5.2: Svidler and Ponomariov reach semi-finals

(FULL REPORT) Peter Svidler was the first player to reach the World Cup's semi-finals after Judit Polgar reached a nice position, then avoided a move repetition and then collapsed in timetrouble. Winning yet another fine endgame, Ruslan Ponomariov eliminated Vugar Gashimov in the quarters, just like at the 2009 World Cup. Teimour Radjabov levelled the score against Vassily Ivanchuk to force tie-breaks. David Navara missed a win against Alexander Grischuk and they will also play tie-breaks on Sunday.

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

Round 5.2

Judit Polgar's fairytale tournament is over. After an easy draw with the black pieces she lost her second game against Peter Svidler playing White, and she mostly had herself to blame. After inventive play she had gotten excellent compensation for a sacrificed pawn, but it seemed that the Hungarian lady then overestimated her position a bit. She spent a lot of time on the clock trying to find routes for her pieces towards the black king, which got stuck in the centre. However, at some point Polgar should have repeated moves, and when she didn't, Svidler took over the initiative. The white position then collapsed surprisingly fast.

Khanty-Mansiysk, 2011



At the press conference Polgar said:

It seems to be nothing was working for me. Luck was not with me. The first surprise was yesterday when I came to the board: that I played with Black. I was not aware of the rule that I beat Karjakin and was taking his number. Kind of stupidity, in four minutes I got my preparation and everything was fine.

About game 2: I guess Peter wanted to surprise me but I felt I had a very nice position during the game. At move 36 I offered a draw but Peter took his chances and played 36...e4. Somehow the position changed very quickly, I had just seconds left and everything worked out for Black.

Generally this system is a minefield and I stepped in one of them.

I have very positive feelings about the event. First of all it was very professionally organized. Generally speaking the broadcast and the live commentating is a dream of every chess lover. And generally it's also important for a chess player that they're given respect for what they're doing and I believe here we get lots of respect.

Getting eliminated is also great for me because I can get back to my family.

I want to wish Peter good luck and a lot of good strengths and luck because I think he will need it!


The choice of the Sicilian wasn't as a surprise; I was basically just looking for a fight. I felt I should play for a full-blooded game. Judit is a very interesting player and it's kind of fun to play her!

Yes, my position looked very dangerous at one point. I wasn't very happy with how I played. Then we had this position where White has full compensation for the pawn. But once one pair of rooks is exchanged, Black is fine. Judit should have repeated moves with Qh5, Rf8 etc.

Once Judit didn't do that, I started thinking of ways even to giving up the e-pawn and play against the white king. I declined the draw offer since I wasn't risking anything.


Peter Svidler's opponent in the semi-final is Ruslan Pomonariov, who won yet another excellent ending in this World Cup, against Vugar Gashimov. This time he did it from the black side of a Berlin Wall, where he gradually got a bigger advantage with rook and knight versus rook and bishop. However, when the rooks went off the board the position was still drawn, untll the following moment.

Khanty-Mansiysk, 2011


History repeated itself as Ponomariov also eliminated Gashimov in the 2009 World Cup, and also in the quarter-finals. Back then the Ukrainain needed tie-breaks. Looking forward to a rest day, after the game Ponomariov said:

Now I am full of satisfaction. In the second World Cup in a row I win Vugar at the same stage. I can buy my ticket on 21 September now. The most important now is not to be on the 4th place. It would be the most disappointing.

David Navara came very close to eliminating Candidates finalist Alexander Grischuk, but at the critical moment the Czech grandmaster failed to spot the winning move:

Khanty-Mansiysk, 2011




Teimour Radjabov was the only player who lost the first game, and so he had to beat Vassily Ivanchuk to stay in the competition. He did so in a spectacular manner:

Khanty-Mansiysk, 2011



Games round 5.2


FIDE World Cup 2011 | Round 5 results
Name G1 G2 R1 R2 r3 r4 B1 B2 SD Tot
Round 5 Match 01
Svidler, Peter (RUS) ½ 1               1.5
Polgar, Judit (HUN) ½ 0               0.5
Round 5 Match 02
Ivanchuk, Vassily (UKR) 1 0               1
Radjabov, Teimour (AZE) 0 1               1
Round 5 Match 03
Grischuk, Alexander (RUS) ½ ½               1
Navara, David (CZE) ½ ½               1
Round 5 Match 04
Ponomariov, Ruslan (UKR) ½ 1               1.5
Gashimov, Vugar (AZE) ½ 0               0.5

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.


Pomonado's picture

Brilliant technique by Ponomariov.

TMM's picture

@Title: I guess that should be "R5.2".

On-topic: I'm curious about that Gashimov-Ponomariov endgame of KB vs. KNP. Was it winning? Or would 100. Ke1 have drawn?

Anonymous's picture

No. 100.Ke1 Nc5 101.Ke2 Kb1! 102.Kd1 (102.Kd2 Nb3+) Na4! 103.Kd2 Nb2 and zugzwang (104.Kc3 Kxa1 105.Kc2 Nd3 as in the game).

TMM's picture

Ah, thanks. So 102. Kd2 Nb3+ is basically the reason why white cannot hold.

Merlinovich's picture

@TMM: Gashimov-Ponomariov is a tablebase win. 100.Ke1 is a tougher defense but after 100...Nc5 101.Ke2 Kb1 102.Kd1 (102.Kd2? Nb3+) 102...Nd3! 103.Kd2 Nb2 we get the game position with a couple of moves delay.

AdityaK's picture

Nice analysis on the alternate path. After 103 Kd2 is'nt Kxa1 possible straight away? I dont think he needs to do the extra Nb2

Thomas's picture

No: 103. Kd2 Ka1:?? 104.Kc2 N(anywhere) 105. Kc1 followed by Kc1-c2-c1-c2 etc. until black realizes that it's just a draw. The trick is to reach this mutual zugzwang position (White Kc2, black Ka1, Nd3, pawn on a2) with _white_ to move, as also happened at the end of the actual game. If it's black to move, he cannot make further progress without an illegal move where the knight remains on a light-colored square!

Marcos's picture

How sad to see the the great Chuky in self-destructing mode.

adam's picture

gashim-pono was awesome, sad to see judit out though. navara quite deserved that win, but what the heck happended to ivanchuk, seriously?!

redivivo's picture

Didn't Radjabov just play a great game more than Ivanchuk self-destructed? Ivanchuk could have played a better 16th but with best play it would still have been +0.8 to the conservative Rybka. Very creative game by Radjabov.

Knallo's picture

I wouldn't be surprised if Radjabov's sacrifice was part of his preparation. (This statement should not be interpreted to diminish his achievement!)

Anonymous's picture

Radjabov's sacrifice was of course part of his preparation.(This statement may be interpreted to diminish his achievement)

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