Svidler exploits Grischuk clock handling to win first game of World Cup Final

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Svidler exploits Grischuk clock handling to win first game of World Cup Final

Post by ciccio on Fri Sep 16, 2011 9:22 pm

Peter Svidler was at a loss to explain his fourth win in a row with the black pieces after defeating Alexander Grischuk in just 30 moves in the first game of the World Cup final in Khanty Mansiysk. He was certainly not admitting to planning anything so devious as giving Grischuk an interesting Sicilian side-line to look at and allowing his opponent to self-destruct on the clock, but that was what happened. Whilst worse out of the opening Svidler maintained disciplined clock handling and a dynamic position which was too hard for white to work out to a win at this time control (if indeed such a level of advantage existed). Once Grischuk started living on his 30 second increment Svidler used his time advantage well to obtain a winning position in only three or four moves. 4 games in the final. Ivanchuk-Ponomariov drawn in 3rd-4th playoff for Candidates place.

Peter Svidler beat Alexander Grischuk

Svidler worked as a second for Grischuk in the Candidates and is a good friend of his and so knows his game well. He chose an unsual Sicilian Kann and soon had a significant edge on the clock. Afterwards Svidler described his position as "seriously bad" but less we forget, this time control of 90 mins + 30 seconds per move is at least 10 minutes less than normal classical time controls and black's pragmatic clock handling plus some excellent practical play set up the win.

Reasons for success today?

Svidler: I don't really know why. I think the reason for that is that playing against your close friend is very hard.

It isn't clear to me how white gets a big advantage against 16...0-0 sacrificing a pawn. White used about 17 minutes on 17.Rxd7 and 18.Nd6? so that Grischuk had 7 minutes and black 34 minutes + 30 seconds per move to reach move 40. White probably had to sacrifice the exchange after 17.Rxd7 anyhow but Grischuk was upset to be forced into it when he missed 18...Nb6. The position was probably dynamically equal after that but once Grischuk started living on his 30 second increment his position disintegrated in just three or four moves.

Alexander Grischuk on his blunder with 18.Nd6

I think that after the blunder of a rook this is the logical result.

It is actually a classical blunder as described in many chess books.

Nb6 is not a threat at the moment but there are other threats like Qc8 and Nd6 defends again Qc8 or Qe8 and other threats but in turn it lets black to play Nb6 trapping the rook.

After this I didn't get a very bad position, it was slightly better, but still I lost.

Neither player seemed interested in talking about Grischuk's clock handling as being the major factor in the game's result. Puzzlingly none of the journalists pressed either player on it. Although today's position was terribly complicated it was completely unnecessary for Grischuk to be down to just his increment by move 24, by far and away his worst time trouble so far in an event where he has had many such episodes.

In the game the more than 20 minutes on 10.e5 and the 17 minutes on 17.Rxd7 and 18.Nd6 together cost him the game. A pragmatic and simpler decision of say 17.Rxd7 and 18.Nc3 in 5 minutes may have even won him the game.

Tiredness or a developing addiction to time-trouble? That's the real question about Grischuk's play today. Grischuk had play-offs in rounds 2, 4, 5 and a very difficult one in round 6 against Ivanchuk. Svidler just rounds 2 and 3. So one must at least consider that Grischuk is almost out of gas in such a long event, especially compared to Svidler.

Svidler on his success with black in this event

Generally speaking with white I get absolutely nothing here and most of white games end in a draw in about 20 moves. I do have a strangely good result with black here so far.

Mainly because my matches consist of one non-interesting white game and then the black game in which things happen. I get a dubious position, ranging from dubious to seriously bad like today, and then so far I've been doing OK regardless. I really don't know why.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 b5 6.Bd3 Qb6 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.0-0 Qb8 9.Re1 Bd6 10.e5N
This seems to be new. Plenty of alternatives here. Grischuk had about 43 minutes left for the remaining 30 moves (+ 30 seconds per move).

[10.Qe2 seems to be the main line.; 10.Bg5; 10.a4 also very common.; 10.Qd2; 10.h3]


[10...Nxe5 11.Nxe5 Bxe5 12.Rxe5 Qxe5 13.Qf3 d5 14.Bf4 Qf6 is just one of the very dangerous possibilities for white if he grabs on e5.]

11.Bf4 Nge7 12.Qe2 Ng6 13.Bg3 Bb7 14.Rad1

[14.h4 b4 15.Na4]

14...Nce7 15.Be4 Bxe4 16.Nxe4

White has 24 mins left, Black 45 mins.

Sacrificing d7 to get some activity.


White is better but black has counter-play.

17.Nc5 was an alternative but probably neither simpler nor better.

17...Nd5 18.Nd6?

In trying to meet ideas like Qc8. Grischuk overlooked Nb6 and his Rook has no retreat square. Most probably white has to give up the exchange anyhow. White's position was so good that he gets full compensation. But to go from 24 mins to 7m 21 seconds in the last two moves, one of which was lousy, effectively cost Grischuk the game. 34 mins left for black.

18.Qd2 Qc8 19.Rxd5 exd5 20.Nd6 Bxd6 21.exd6 Qf5 22.Re3 Rac8 23.Rd3

18.Rd1 is probably best with 18... Qe8 19.Rxc7 Nxc7 20.Nd6 Qe7 21.h4

18.Nc3 is probably the simplest to calculate for Grischuk 18... Nxc3 (18...Qc8 19.Rxd5 exd5 20.Nxd5 Rd8; 18...Qe8 19.Rxd5 exd5 20.Nxd5 Ba5) 19.bxc3 Qb7 20.h4 with something of an edge for white.

18...Nb6 19.Rxf7 Rxf7 20.Nxf7 Kxf7 21.Ng5+ Kg8 22.Nxe6
White has a piece for three pawns but his lack of time, and the fact that his opponent had plenty decides things.


White: 2 mins 44 secs. Black: 24 minutes.


Down to 27 seconds after consuming over two minutes here.


Black down to 16 minutes 17 seconds here having used 7 or 8 minutes on this move. Of course Svidler has this luxury.


Played with just 3 seconds to spare. Now the tide quickly turns in Svidler's favour. Now he has much more time and a better position which is easier to play. Grischuk has to live off his 30 second increment and this proves impossible.

[24.b3 keeping the knight out of his queenside is best.]

Svidler didn't get caught up in Grischuk's time problems and spent a 2 minutes playing this excellent move.


Protecting the white queen but simply grabbing material safely is now winning for black.

[25.b3 is objectively much better. 25...Nc3 26.Rd3 Ba5 (26...Bb6) ]

25...Nxb2 26.Rd5

Probably white should remove the dark squared bishop but he is still substantially worse.

[26.Nxc7 Rxc7 27.Rd6]

26...Bb6 27.Rd6

again two seconds to spare.


The game is over.


Again played with two seconds to spare.

28...Rf7 29.Qe4 Nxd6 30.exd6 Nf8!

A final accurate move extinguishing all hope.


Vassily Ivanchuk draw Ruslan Ponomariov
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.g3 Bb4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 Bxc3 7.bxc3 Re8 8.Rb1 e4 9.Nd4 d5 10.cxd5 Qxd5 11.Nb5 Qd7 12.d3 a6 13.Nd4 Nd5 14.Bb2 Nxd4 15.cxd4 e3 16.Qc1 c6 17.Be4 Qg4 18.f3 Qe6 19.Qc5 b6 20.Bxd5 cxd5 21.Qc7 Re7 22.Qd8+ Re8 23.Qc7 Re7 24.Qf4 f6 25.Ba3 g5 26.Qd6 Qxd6 27.Bxd6 Rb7 28.Rfc1 Bd7 29.g4 Kf7 30.Kg2 h5 31.h3 Rh8 32.Rb2 Ba4 33.Bh2 hxg4 34.hxg4 Kg6 35.a3 a5 36.Bd6 b5 37.Rc6 Ra8 38.Be5 Rf7 39.Rb6 Rc8 40.f4 gxf4
Ivanchuk has an advantage as both players make first time control. But now, as he immediately identified at the press conference after the game, Ivanchuk throws away his winning chances.


[41.Bxf4 and white is risking nothing in playing for a win.]


Equalising straight away.

42.Bxf4 Rf1+ 43.Kg3 Rg1+ 44.Kf3 Rf1+ 45.Kg3 Rg1+

Black thought about taking this draw offer for a while but he isn't better.


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