Reports | September 13, 2011 14:46

World Cup R6.2: Peter Svidler reaches final

(FULL REPORT) Peter Svidler is the first player who reached the final of the FIDE World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk. On Tuesday Svidler defeated Ruslan Ponomariov with Black to set the score to a decisive 1.5-0.5. Alexander Grischuk and Vassily Ivanchuk drew both classical games and a tie-break on Wednesday will decide which player will face Svidler in the final, and which player will fight Ponomariov for 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

Round 6.2

After becoming Russian Champion for the 6th time less than a month ago, Peter Svidler clearly managed to keep up his good form in Khanty-Mansiysk. On Tueday he knocked out Ruslan Ponomariov, the 2009 finalist, with the Black pieces. When Svidler wins with Black it's not a surprise that the opening was the Grünfeld, but actually this time he didn't get out of the opening very well at all. At the press conference he explained:

The usual story. An opening I've been playing for 25 years non-stop and yet I'm seriously worse after ten moves. 7...Bd7 is probably a mistake. After 8.Qa3! Black is in quite a bit of trouble. The play I chose is the only way to justify my ridicolous 7..Bd7.

Svidler went for a plan involving ...Nc6, ...e5 and something rare for the Grünfeld: castling queenside, which he thought his opponent should have prevented.

Then the scenery changed quite a bit; Black has all this play against White's centre.

Quickly after that Svidler made another fine judgement: he decided to go for a positional exchange sacrifice.

Ruslan is one of the best players in the world in positions where he has quiet play and a small advantage so the exchange sac was very strong in this respect. Somewhere around 18.Bxd4 Ruslan offered a draw but there already I'm the only one playing for a win.

Especially from a practical point of view the position was just very difficult for White to hold. Still, Svidler was quite critical of his own technique at the press conference, and said that he made some mistakes in the ending. It's not clear whether he actually threw away the win somewhere.

As my good friend Alexander Grischuk once said: 'My play is based on playing quickly and setting one-move traps'. Well, this worked again today, 36...Kb6 threatens to run to a3 or c3 but also sets the trap 37.f4? Bc6+ he can just resign.

Khanty-Mansiysk, 2011


Vassily Ivanchuk and Alexander Grischuk will play a tie-break on Wednesday to decide matters, as their second game also ended in a draw. After about 20 moves of Vienna/Ragozin QGD theory the position was about equal, but as so often Grischuk spent a lot of time on the clock. In timetrouble it almost went seriously wrong for the Russian, who said at the press conference:

I had no problems, but then I did something incredibly stupid and I remained without a queen in a complicated position. Of cours the critical moment was when I blundered 30.Bb7.

In the game it turned out that it was just too difficult to win the position with queen against rook and bishop; Ivanchuk himself wasn't sure if he was winning anywhere.

Khanty-Mansiysk, 2011



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
Ivanchuk, Vassily (UKR) ½ ½               1

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.


ebutaljib's picture

Mission accomplished - Svidler is in the Candidates! He can now relax for two days and calmly go into the final.

I wish it were otherwise but I somehow have the feeling that Ivanchuk will again fail to qualify for the Candidates. His nerves just fail him when it matters the most. His only appearance in the Candidates is way back in 1991. The only other ocassion when he came far in the cycle is the 2002 FIDE World Championship when he lost to Ponomariov in the final. We could see a rematch by this two for the 3rd place.

tomtom's picture

So he is the clear favourite and can only lose due to mental weakness?

ebutaljib's picture

Nobody can be a clear favourite against Grischuk, Ponomariov or Svidler.

grasjeroen's picture

Anand, Carlsen

ebutaljib's picture

If you think that Anand or Carlsen are 100% sure to advance against any of the top 50 players in a 2 or 4 game match, then you are delusional.

Mpho's picture

What a game by Peter Svidler, truly the leading expert on the Grunfeld!!! what to see a Grischuck vs Svidler final.

HK's picture

You obviously didn't listen to his own words in the commentary room. He said he's playing this already for 25 yrs but Bd7 was a bad move and he felt he was truly worse after 10 moves.

Remco G's picture

But then he found a plan, played a positional exchange sacrifice and already turned down a draw offer eight moves later. I think that shows considerable expertise with the Grunfeld, bad position or not...

Bob's picture

Am rooting for Ivanchuck. If Chucky wins this I will do a good deed :-)

Nima's picture

Well said! :-)

kevg's picture

Svidler is obviously in great form at the moment, who would bet against him?

noyb's picture

Svidler-Grischuk Final, Grischuk wins if it goes to rapids/blitz, Svidler wins if finished in normal time controls.

Knallo's picture

My thoughts exactly! Not certain, of course, but I would accept 3.0 odds.

victorhdiaz's picture

Don´t forget Svidler is a very good blitz player! Question is " Is Svidler Raffael"?? Does someone have the answer?

Peter D's picture

Did Ivanchuk have 32. g4?

Harish Srinivasan's picture

Can someone point out the win if Ponomariov had gone 41.Rd1 instead of his Re7

41.Rd1 c4 {possibly here black has to find an improvement} 42.Rxd3 cxd3 43. Kf3 Kb4 44.Bb1 {hitting d3} Kc3 45.h3 and how does black make progress. If he pushes pawn to d2 then white king goes to e2. If black king instead goes to d2 then Ke4 and white wins the d3 pawn. So I cant see the win.

Anonymous's picture

In your position after 45. h3, White has no moves with his king or Bishop. (If the King moves then d2 wins, and if the Bishop moves to a2, Kc2 wins.) Therefore, all Black has to do is to wait for White to run out of pawn moves. For example, 45. ... h6 47. f5 g5 and White has to drop another pawn just to last a few more moves. Or: 45 ... h6 47. h4 h5 48. gh gh 49. f5 Bf6 50. Ke3 d2 51. Ke2 Bxh4 etc.

Harish Srinivasan's picture

Thanks. Originally I thought whites intention is to give up a pawn (after giving back the exchange as in my line above) on the king side to be able to go Kf2. As in your line 45. ... h6 47. f5 g5 48.f6 Bxf6 49.Kf2 But then black wins by Kd2 and Kc1 and even though the Bb1 sacrifices itself for black's pawns, white is unable to exchange the black's g pawn (since with only the h pawn it would be a draw). So in your line above after 47.f5 g5 would deserve a !!

Martin's picture

go Chucky !

Sarunas's picture

41.Rd1 looks an ingenious resource to hold on with reference to 41...c4 42.R:d3! c:d 43.Kf3, but if Black plays 41...Bc2, then it seems White rook must go back to place it has come from.
Has anybody noticed how skillfully Svidler handles bishop pair? Pono is not the first victim, another man in reference is Gata.

Shiva's picture

I would like to see Ivanchuk vs Anand in a match. Fighting old school style!

JhoraVi's picture

But i thought Ivanchucks style is very modern!

anonymous's picture

Ponomariov has to play the loser of Ivanchuk vs. Grischuk so I am betting that he will finish in 4th place. Even though he is a former FIDE champion, he lately has a habit of getting promising positions against very strong players (i.e. in his match with Nakamura) due to his great openings preparation but then spoiling them.

anonymous's picture

Aah, the vindication of coffee-house chess strategy! However I think any player who aspires to dethrone a player like Vishy Anand had better be armed with a more profound approach.

re: "As my good friend Alexander Grischuk once said: 'My play is based on playing quickly and setting one-move traps'."

AdityaK's picture

Ivanchuk and his nerves!!! Why o why!! -2.7 to 20. I thought such SF jumps happened only in my games.

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