Vassily Ivanchuk’s recent interview with the Ukrainian daily newspaper “Den” isn’t your standard chess interview. In fact, Ivanchuk doesn’t talk about current chess events at all, instead displaying a deep interest in literature while also explaining, for instance, why Julius Caesar would have considered chess players happy.
Shortly after the World Cup was over runner-up Alexander Grischuk gave an interview to Maria Fominykh. He talked about his route to the final, the “fair play” incident between Navara and Moiseenko, and how chess players approach chess – noting that usually it’s as if they’re going to a factory.
After two final draws the FIDE World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk is over. Peter Svidler ran out a more-than-convincing winner after not losing a single game at the event. Ivanchuk, meanwhile, banished the spectre of his 2002 loss to Ponomariov by winning their rematch and has qualified for a Candidates for the first time since 1991.
The third games of the final matches at the World Cup could have been the last if Peter Svidler and Vassily Ivanchuk had won, but instead there were two hard-fought draws. That means we’re all set for one last battle in classical chess – Alexander Grischuk and Ruslan Ponomariov have to win to force tiebreaks.
The second day of the Khanty-Mansisyk final matches couldn’t live up to the first. It had great sporting significance, as Ivanchuk took the lead, but neither game will live long in the memory. Ponomariov stumbled into a bad opening line before blundering in a difficult ending. Svidler and Grischuk agreed a draw on move 16.
Any fears of dull chess in the final 4-game matches in Khanty-Mansiysk soon vanished as they got off to an exciting start. Peter Svidler won his fourth classical game in a row with the black pieces to take an early lead against Alexander Grischuk, while Ruslan Ponomariov’s bold opening play nearly backfired against Vassily Ivanchuk.
On a day of high emotion Alexander Grischuk beat Vassily Ivanchuk to qualify both for the World Cup final and the next Candidates Tournament. Grischuk will now play his friend Peter Svidler, while Ivanchuk takes on Ruslan Ponomariov in a repeat of their World Championship match from a decade ago.
Russian Champion Peter Svidler has reached the World Cup final after beating Ruslan Ponomariov with the black pieces. Although Svidler was scathing about his opening play his handling of the rest of the game was bold and almost flawless.
One of the stories of the recent World Team Championship in China was the return of Peter Leko after a long absence from competitive chess. He played as though he’d never been away, posting an unbeaten 2800+ performance. In an interview he revealed what was behind his decision.
Boris Gelfand’s view, in an interview with Chess-News after winning the Candidates Matches in Kazan, was that an in-form Ivanchuk is still the best player in the world. As well as the topic of age in chess, he also talked about preparation, computers, Sofia Rules and the World Championship format.