Peter Svidler reaches the final of the World Cup for the first time

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Peter Svidler reaches the final of the World Cup for the first time

Post by ciccio on Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:05 pm

Peter Svidler reached the final of the World Cup for the first time after defeating Ruslan Ponomariov with black in game 2 of their match. Svidler played a side-line of the Gruenfeld he didn't think quite sound but presumably thought would set Ponomariov, who is primarily a 1.e4 player, the greatest problems. Although he didn't like his position initially once Svidler castled queen-side and gave up the exchange his position became favourable and he converted just after the first time control. Alexander Grischuk almost got himself into trouble after more time pressure but eventually that game was drawn to take the match into a playoff on Wednesday. Brief notes and lengthy Svidler quotes from the press conference below.

Peter Svidler defeats Ruslan Ponomariov to reach the final
Peter Svidler outplayed Ruslan Ponomariov on the black side of a Gruenfeld to secure a place in the final of the World Cup for the first time. Ponomariov mostly favours 1.e4 but his choice of 1.d4 had to be prepared for. Svidler is well known to play the Gruenfeld and perhaps because Ponomariov doesn't play 1.d4 all the time he felt he could take a certain risk. Svidler seems to be saying in his press conference that he chose a line that he knew to be bad for black because he didn't expect Ponomariov to find the best moves and maybe too he concentrated on meeting 1.e4. Anyhow it isn't clear where Svidler's preparation ended but he didn't like his opening until he was allowed to play 13...0-0-0 (which 13.Rc1 would have prevented), he followed this up with some very nice play sacrificing the exchange for a couple of pawns but most critically getting some running queenside pawns. Ponomariov struggled to find the right ideas, and although Svidler was critical of his own play in the press conference I think his play was at least good enough if not just fine. Svidler obtained a winning position and the conversion of that was accelerated by 37.f4? after which white had no defence.

Svidler Press Conference:

The usual story, an opening I have been playing for 25 years non-stop and yet I'm seriously worse after 10 moves.

I think Bd7 is, at least, I would term it, an inaccuracy, maybe just a mistake, but I had some ideas written down after 7...Bd7 8.Qb3 and even though I realised that no man in his right mind would ever play 8.Qb3 after 7...Bd7 I still thought, lets see if maybe he plays Qb3 for some reason.

Which is a ridiculous thing to do in a semi-final of a World Cup but that's how I operate apparently.

After Qa3 black is in quite a bit of trouble because his whole position immediately becomes very disharmonious and the play I chose with knight on c6 and d5 is I thought the only way to justify my ridiculous Bd7.

But white has plenty of very nice choices there: 9...e5 10.d5 is good and what Ruslan did is also fine I think. But instead of 13.Rb1 it was much stronger to play 13.Rc1 to sort of prevent my long castling but it's not very often black castles long in the Gruenfeld so I suspect he just completely forgot about this idea.

And then the scenery changes quite a bit because suddenly black has all this play against the white centre and white has to do something concrete not to get into some serious trouble. I was sure that I must play this because Ruslan is one of the best players in the world in positions where he has quiet play and some advantage, pressure without risk and this is exactly what I thought I should not allow today if I have any choice at all. This exchange sacrifice was excellent in this respect.

Soon we end up in a position where I have, originally two pawns for the exchange, but the e4 pawn probably falls in most lines, but I have this huge queenside, I'm sure I have the full compensation for the exchange at the very least. So I think thought Ruslan because he offered me a draw somewhere around 18...Bxd4 which I declined because I already felt that I'm the only one playing for a win there. Although maybe at this point my position is not that great yet.

It's very hard for white to choose a plan, the slow moves he chose 22.g3, 23. Kg2. As soon as I get far on the queenside I think I should be objectively better, maybe even winning but as usual my technique was not entirely perfect, to say the least.

First of all after 26...a4 27.f3 Rb8, 28. g4, stopping 28...Bf5 was very, very critical and my position looks wonderful but it isn't very clear how I should proceed and how to improve it. And also even in the game, well first of all 34...Bb5 is a ridiculous move, I should never have played 34...Bb5, I think 34...Be6 might still be winning, 34...Bb5 is just a mistake [This criticism of Bb5 seems kind of harsh in retrospect: MC].

In the game it's very hard for me to break through because I have this problem, I can't really get the pawn from c5 to c3 without destabilising my position, so I chose this plan of going 35...Kc6, 36...Kb6 with some ideas of running the king up to a3 or c3 and also setting a...

As Grischuk once famously wrote that my play is based pretty much on playing quickly and setting one move traps and waiting for mistakes.

so this kind of worked again today because 36...Kb6 is, I had this plan of running up with the king but also I am setting a simple enough trap after 37.f4? Bc6+ he can just resign because the bishop gets to e4 which of course he should never allow and he missed that and after that the game is just over.

It was a very interesting game and I'm happy with the ideas I found in the opening but I think my conversion was slightly dubious in places.

Ponomariov,Ruslan (2764) - Svidler,Peter (2739) [D85]
FIDE World Cup 2011 Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (6.2), 13.09.2011
[Mark Crowther based loosely on Peter Svidler']

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Qa4+ Bd7?!

It seems that in spite of believing this move to be dubious Peter Svidler chose to try and take Ponomariov out of his preparation.

[8.Qb3 has been played a few times before and Svidler appears to have been hoping for it in this game.]


I'm guessing Svidler must have also have prepared this move although he didn't say so in his press conference. Three other moves have been played here before.

[8...b6; 8...0-0; 8...h6]

9.Nf3 e5 10.Be3

"also fine" - Svidler.

[10.d5 is good according to Svidler.]

10...exd4 11.cxd4 Qe7 12.Qxe7+ Nxe7

Svidler thinks this is quite a serious inaccuracy.

[13.Rc1 preventing queen-side castling is much better according to Svidler.]

13...0-0-0 14.Bc4 f5 15.Ng5 fxe4 16.Nf7 Nf5 17.0-0 Nxd4 18.Bxd4 Bxd4 19.Nxh8 Rxh8

With two pawns for the exchange Svidler has more than enough compensation and he avoids more normal positions where Ponomariov has a slight advantage with no risk. Svidler had decided that those positions were to be avoided if at all possible.

20.Bd5 b5 21.Bxe4 c5 22.g3 a5 23.Kg2 b4

White is already in a fight to save the game.

24.Bd5 Kc7 25.Bc4 Kd6 26.Rfe1 a4 27.f3 Rb8

[28.g4 stopping Bf5 is critical.]

28...Bf5 29.Rd1 b3 30.axb3 axb3 31.g4 Bd7 32.Re3 b2 33.Rb3 Rxb3 34.Bxb3 Bb5

Called ridiculous by Svidler but there is nothing wrong with this at all.

[34...Be6 "might still be winning" - Svidler.]

35.Ba2 Kc6 36.Rd2 Kb6
The best move here. Svidler says he played it in order to set a trap. He was really hoping for white's next move.


Allowing a redeployment of the bishop that makes everything really easy for Svidler.

37...Bc6+! 38.Kg3 Be4

White can resign now.

39.Rd1 Kb5 40.Re1 Bd3 41.Re7 c4 42.Rd7 c3!

A small combination that finishes the game off very quickly.

43.Rd5+ Bc5 0-1

Vassily Ivanchuk drew against Alexander Grischuk
Vassily Ivanchuk and Alexander Grischuk head off to Wednesday's play-off after a draw in a Queen's Gambit Ragozin Variation. They played a very long variation that led to a position that is well understood. Again Grischuk used acres of time and at some point he missed something that allowed Ivanchuk to have Queen for Rook and Bishop. I think the players suggested 32.g4 was a winning try for Ivanchuk but he too started to use up time and at the end they simplified to a draw and a playoff just after first time control.

Ivanchuk,Vassily (2768) - Grischuk,Alexander (2746) [D39]
FIDE World Cup 2011 Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (6.2), 13.09.2011

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Bg5 Bb4+ 5.Nc3 dxc4 6.e4 c5 7.e5 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Qa5 9.exf6 Bxc3+ 10.bxc3 Qxg5 11.fxg7 Qxg7 12.Qd2 0-0 13.Bxc4 Rd8 14.Qe3 Bd7 15.0-0 Nc6 16.Nf3 Ne7 17.Ne5 Ng6 18.f4 Rac8 19.Be2 Bc6 20.Bf3 Bd5 21.Kh1

[21.Bxd5 Rxd5 22.Qxa7 Nxf4 23.Rxf4 Qxe5 24.Raf1 Rd7 25.Qf2 f5 26.Rd4 Rxd4 1/2-1/2 Kempinski,R (2619)-Georgiev,K (2645)/Moscow RUS 2006/The Week in Chess 588]

21...b6 22.a4 h6 23.Rae1 Nxe5 24.fxe5 Qg5 25.Qf2 Bc4 26.h4 Qg7 27.Re4 Bxf1 28.Rg4 Bd3 29.Rxg7+ Kxg7 30.Bb7

Grischuk has been in time trouble for a while and he completely missed this in his earlier calculations. Now he's in some trouble.

30...Bf5 31.Bxc8 Rxc8

[32.g4 They talked about g4 in the press conference being white's only try, I presume it is here they mean. Neither Ivanchuk nor Grischuk knew the evaluation. 32...Bxg4 33.Qf6+ Kg8 34.Qxh6]

32...h5 33.Kh2 Rc5 34.c4 Ra5 35.Qd7 Rc5 36.Qd4 Ra5 37.Qd8 Bg4 38.Kg3 Rxa4

With care black holds this position without particular problems.

39.Qc7 a5 40.Qxb6 Rxc4 41.Qxa5 Bf5 42.Qd8 Rg4+ 43.Kf2 1/2-1/2

games in pgn:

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