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    « World Cup 2011: Round 7 (Finals), Day 1: Svidler Again Wins With Black | Main | World Cup 2011: Round 6, Day 2: Svidler Advances to the Final; Ivanchuk-Grischuk to Tiebreaks »
    Wednesday
    Sep142011

    World Cup 2011: Round 6 Tiebreaks: Grischuk Beats Ivanchuk

    Poor Vassily Ivanchuk, part 325. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time, but Ivanchuk has a way of making spectacular errors at the worst possible time. Alexander Grischuk has proved again and again that he's an extremely resilient player, and for the second straight round his opportunistic play enabled him to win a match he could easily have lost.

    The first rapid game was well-played and well-fought into the ending. Grischuk, with White in an Advance French, didn't get much from the opening but kept plugging away. Eventually he reached a rook and two vs. rook and pawn ending that should have been drawn but required a little accuracy for Ivanchuk. Unfortunately for the latter, he failed to find the right move, after which the draw would have been trivial, and so Grischuk won.

    Ivanchuk showed that he could be resilient too, and he won the second game in good style. Grischuk's 16...e5 seemed to be an overreaction to Ivanchuk's threatened pawn storm, and White parlayed the weakened d5 square into an eventual win.

    Then it was on to the 10-minute games, and if Ivanchuk's error in the rook ending of game 1 was the appetizer, this time we got the main course. To be fair, the whole game was somewhat topsy turvy. Grischuk played very aggressively, and by "normal" means obtained a clear advantage. The position was so complicated, however, and time so short that the evaluation changed several times. By move 33 it was still a little messy but getting close to being clear. Ivanchuk was winning, but here it all went astray. He thought he saw a mating continuation and sacrificed a knight (and allowed his kingside to be decimated), only to discover that his next move, 34...Rc1+, was refuted by 35.Bxc1. He simply missed that the bishop could take the rook.

    After that horrible blackout he needed to win his last game to once again equalize the match, but couldn't do it. In fact, he was lost in the final position, but Grischuk forced a repetition to clinch match victory and advance to the finals.

    So here's the situation: Grischuk and Peter Svidler will meet in the finals to see who will win the World Cup. (It will be a best-of-four-game match, and will start on Friday after the event's one and only rest day.) The match matters for prestige and especially money, but is of no consequence for the Candidates' matches: both players have now qualified. Ironically, the match between semi-finals losers Ivanchuk and Ruslan Ponomariov is the more important one in the bigger picture, as its winner - and only its winner - will also qualify for the Candidates'. Ponomariov beat Ivanchuk in the FIDE World Championship k.o. final in 2002. Will he do it again, or will Ivanchuk get his revenge?

    Meanwhile, you can watch the video coverage of today's round and browse the official site here, and/or have a look at my commentary on the games - here.

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    Reader Comments (6)

    Is it really fair to cite blunders in 10 minute games?

    [DM: Sure. A move is a objectively a blunder whether it's a 10-minute or a 10-hour game. The degree of culpability differs, and of course these guys aren't just playing quick games but are very likely exhausted after all these days without a break. Still, moving a piece en prise is a blunder, and don't forget that they're playing with ten-second increments after every move - this wasn't some sort of crazy time scramble with pieces flying all over the place.]

    September 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJH

    I am quite disappointed that the classical chess champion is currently being decided by rapid and blitz games.

    [DM: This isn't the championship, but it is part of the qualifying procedure. (And it's true that the championship can also be decided by rapid and blitz games, if it gets that far.) It's not ideal, but what's a plausible alternative? Round-robins are subject to collusion and other inequities, not to mention that a round-robin that would include all the players deserving a shot would take forever, and there would still be the problem of playing off ties.]

    September 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjsobo

    Dennis,

    What exactly do you consider "opportunistic play" by Grischuk? Is it not (yet) resigning in an objectively lost position? Is it benefitting from mistakes or inaccuracies of the opponent? Both isn't at all 'wrong' and Grischuk isn't the only one doing so. Grischuk has a reputation for solely relying on and heading straight for tiebreaks - which is based on Kazan, I think evidence at the World Cup is at best limited (to his second-round match against an anonymous French player).

    Also, there were certainly other matches that the winner "could easily have lost"- maybe including Ivanchuk's matches against Sutovsky and Bu Xiangzhi.

    Maybe Navara would have offered a draw after 35.Bc1: - "I do not want to win in such a way, and after all I had to sneeze when I played 10.h5 which must have disturbed Ivanchuk's concentration and cost him precious time on the clock".

    Overall, I am a tiny little bit puzzled that your report (and comments on Chessvibes) emphasize the perspective of the loser and fan favorite. What would it sound if Ivanchuk had won in a similar fashion? On the first semi-blitz game won by Ivanchuk: "Grischuk's coffehouse attack was refuted" rather than "Grischuk's creative play wasn't rewarded, because the opportunistic Ivanchuk simply grabbed and kept the extra material" [I obviously exaggerate for the sake of argument]

    [DM: Who's criticizing Grischuk? I'm pointing out that he won the matches with Navara and Ivanchuk in good part by grabbing the momentary chances (the opportunities) he was given, not by engaging in poor sportsmanship. The contrast is not with what is deserved but with a win that comes as part of a prolonged logical sequence (e.g. cashing in on a successful novelty, a sustained attack or by slowly outplaying one's opponent).]

    September 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThomas

    Grischuk : "My third game was played in a Polgar style. I tried an absolutely incorrect combination and all pieces were hanging. In three moves my opponent resigned. This is the typical Judit’s style." Now that's a quote !!

    Before Ivanchuk played 33...Rxc7? and 34...Rc1?? Grischuk had been thinking for a comparatively long time, more than fifty seconds, and let his clock run down to three seconds (some nerves the guy has), so Ivanchuk had plenty of time to calculate the whole combination. But, well, he missed the first part.

    September 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTom

    Grischuk is magnificent - a true successor to Emanuel Lasker :) Now Chucky please, please just beat Pono tomorrow

    September 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJaideepblue

    Another quote from Grischuk’s press conference:

    “You're not only a successful professional chess player, but also a very lucky person. [erroneously translated by the interpreter as the insulting “you’re not a professional chess player, but a very lucky person”…] Do you agree?"

    “No. I consider my wife Natalia very lucky. She always beats me in card games!”

    September 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEyal

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