World Cup 2011: Round 6, Day 2: Svidler Advances to the Final; Ivanchuk-Grischuk to Tiebreaks
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 11:30AM
Dennis Monokroussos in Grischuk, Ivanchuk, Ponomariov, Svidler, World Cup 2011, World Cup 2011

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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