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    « World Cup 2011: Round 6 Tiebreaks: Grischuk Beats Ivanchuk | Main | World Cup 2011: Round 6, Day 1: Two Quick Draws »
    Tuesday
    Sep132011

    World Cup 2011: Round 6, Day 2: Svidler Advances to the Final; Ivanchuk-Grischuk to Tiebreaks

    And then there were three...sort of. Only three players remain in the fight for first, but all four are still eligible for advancement to the Candidates. Indeed, while it would have been better for Ruslan Ponomariov to win today, guaranteeing a spot in the next set of Candidates matches, it's better for him that he lost today rather than tomorrow, as it gives him an extra day to rest and prepare for the loser of tomorrow's tiebreaker between Vassily Ivanchuk and Alexander Grischuk.

    Of course, the person in the best situation is Peter Svidler, who defeated Ponomariov, thereby advancing to the final and guaranteeing his spot in the Candidates. As against Judit Polgar in the previous round, he won the second game of the match with the black pieces after an unimpressive draw in his white game. Ponomariov played a sideline against the Grünfeld, which Svidler met with a move generally considered dubious. Ponomariov did enjoy the easier play for a while, but Svidler's play with 8...Nc6 and 9...e5 kept him alive, and once he castled long he was fine. Black's 13...0-0-0 allowed White to win the exchange for a pawn, but maybe White should have declined the offer, at least in part. Black's bishop pair and 3-1 queenside majority (also supported by the king, thanks to its having castled long) became a dreadful force. The last big mistake was 28.Re2, after which Black's pawns were unstoppable.

    As for Ivanchuk-Grischuk, it was an interesting game where first Black and then White stood better, but neither side ever had anything too serious. Ivanchuk came closer to having something, but if it's there I didn't manage to find it - it seems that Grischuk was always able to construct some sort of fortress. So they're off to tiebreaks tomorrow.

    Official site here, the official site's video coverage of today's action can be found here, and the games (with my comments) are here.

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    Reader Comments (7)

    Tomorrow will be an interesting day. Grischuk has proven himself as an excellent tie-breaker but this time his up against one big kahuna.

    September 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDharmabum

    Woohoo! I got part of my prediction right! Plus, I'm happy that Svidler is advancing to the next stage of the WC process. I don't really think he is WC material, but I didn't think so of Gelfand either. Besides, that's why they play the games!

    [DM: Svidler did tie for second (with Anand) in the 2005 FIDE World Championship in Mexico City, and has lots of other impressive achievements on his resume. I'd make him an underdog against Anand, but he's not someone who should be counted out in advance.]

    September 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIcepick

    DM: Svidler did tie for second (with Anand) in the 2005 FIDE World Championship in Mexico City, and has lots of other impressive achievements on his resume. I'd make him an underdog against Anand, but he's not someone who should be counted out in advance.

    Further, I haven't forgotten that he spent a rather long time in the top five, and a good chunk of that lodged in at #3 IIRC. I like the guy, and I wish him success. And I wish I had about a tenth of his ability. (Well, I wish I had it all!) I just don't think he has that special something that we've come to expect of the champions. (I mean the lineage that goes back to Steinitz (with two breaks), not the FIDE knockout stuff. And I only count the tournament that Anand won because the then title-holder (Kramnik) agreed to put his title on the line in such an event. Dang, it get's really complicated after 1993, doesn't it? But should he win, I'll be happy for him and count it a win for another one of the good guys.

    September 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIcepick

    Grr. having mentioned the tournamnet that Anand won, I should also mention that he has clearly established himself since then in the traditional sense. And if I had to pick one person playing now that I really want to see win the title, it's Ivanchuk. But Svidler is definitely number 2.

    September 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIcepick

    Svidler's problem (not sure if he considers it a big problem himself) may be occasional lack of motivation. After all, he has a family and other interests besides chess - which to my knowledge don't include poker. He is also considered a drawish player - according to himself, he hardly offers draws but for some reason finds it difficult to decline draw offers, hence Sofia rules are good for him.

    But at the World Cup (and a few weeks before at the Russian Championship) he was/is fully motivated. He DID decline draw offers by Polgar and Ponomariov ... .

    For much more on "Svidler according to Svidler", see the famous Crestbook conferences: http://www.crestbook.com/en/node/1364 for Part I, http://www.crestbook.com/en/node/1390 for Part II. One of my (many) favorites is his answer to a question by Herb White:

    Herb White: What is more significant, in your opinion, holding the World Championship Title, or currently being rated Number 1 on various rating lists?
    Svidler: This seems Magnus-related, and as such, will be covered elsewhere – but for me the Title would be immeasurably more important.
    [The interview was published in December 2010, not sure if Svidler really expected that he will get a(nother) shot at the WCh title ...]

    September 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThomas

    Svidler is a cricket fan, which gives him added points in my view. I do think he's a more powerful player than some think and the way he won his last two black games is very impressive. I thought he'd win this event and he's almost there...

    September 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarc

    I just find out that the prize money for the first place is $120k. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that at the very high end for a chess tournament? So, how come that there is no stronger players here? Aronian, Kramnik, Carlsen, Anand... ?

    [DM: For Anand, it's because he's the world champion, and this is part of the qualification process for those seeking a title shot. The other three are very likely to qualify directly for the Candidates' as well, by rating. Also, don't forget that all four players mentioned participated in the Botvinnik Memorial event that overlapped this one. They probably didn't make $120k for that event, but they didn't need to do any real prep for it and it was guaranteed money.]

    September 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStork

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