2009 World Cup: Quarterfinals
Dmitri Jakovenko vs. Boris Gelfand… will the veteran hold off the young lion?
The 2009 FIDE World Cup gets serious. Eight 2700-rated players will vie for a chance at qualifying for the World Championship cycle. The balance of power lies in the former Soviet-bloc players with Boris Gelfand, originally of Belarus, playing for Israel. These match-ups will be competitive, but in such a short match anything is liable to happen. One thing is for sure… the upsets seen will give way to evenly-paired matches.
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE, 2719) – Sergei Karjakin (UKR, 2723)
Vugar Gashimov (AZE, 2758) – Ruslan Ponomariov (UKR, 2739)
Peter Svidler (RUS, 2754) – Vladimir Malakhov (RUS, 2706)
Gelfand has been playing solidly, but Dmitri Jakovenko has been played with a lot of energy and may have enough momentum to get him to the semi-finals. Sergey Karjakin is in form and could be the darkhouse to win the entire tournament. Ruslan Ponomariov is another player who may be sneaking under the radar. He faces a motivated, but shaky Vugar Gashimov. The Azeri player has dodged several bullets this tournament. Svidler-Malakhov is and interesting battle, but Vladimir Malakhov (left) seems in some of the best form of his life.
Good matches in store!
Photos by Galina Popova courtesy of FIDE. Gallery link, ugra-chess.ru.
Games (PGN): (all)
Two of the favorites to win the 2009 FIDE World Cup have been eliminated. Peter Svidler is perhaps the biggest surprise, but he lost to a very determined and “in-form” Vladimir Malakhov. Malakhov thoroughly crushed Svidler in the first game of their match making a statement that his relatively low 2700 rating is not to be overlooked. Given his play, he may be somewhat of a favorite… at least a favorite in the eyes of fans who had been fawning over fan favorite Wesley So. The adoration of the underdog prevails and Malakhov will advance to play the winner of the Ponomariov-Gashimov match. Here is his decisive (and impressive win over Svidler) with a bonus… an underpromotion ending the game!
Azerbaijan’s Shakhriyar Mamedyarov had been on a blistering pace and at one point had scored 6.5/7. He met a determined Sergey Karjakin who has steadily beat one opponent after another without much fanfare. Mamedyarov played an exciting battle but ended up on a bad side of a rook ending where all of his pawns were weak and king was passive. The Ukrainian still holds the age record for earning the GM title at 12 years 7 months and showed incredible poised and technique in his win in game #1.
Thus, Karjakin will play the winner of the Gelfand-Jakovenko match and perhaps we will get a an all-Ukrainian Ponomariov-Karjakin final. There is also a chance of an all-Russian Jakovenko-Malakhov final.
Gelfand and Ponomariov are through! Still on pace for an all-Ukrainian final (my prediction). The semi-finals are set:
Ukraine has been the most successful federation in the tournament starting with only nine players with two remaining. Russia had the largest number of players with 27, but have only one remaining… the unheralded part-time player, Vladimir Malakhov who is an engineer for a large firm.
I am betting on Malakhov.
I agree with mehul. I am putting my bet on the Engineer to do the job! of winning!?