2009 World Cup: Finals

The final match of the 2009 World Cup will begin tomorrow. The tournament has had its plots and subplots, but it all boils down to who has the will in a short four-game match where there is a low thresh hold for mistakes.

Boris Gelfand in form.

Boris Gelfand is a phenomenon. Not in the same vein as talking about Magnus Carlsen or another rising player, but as one who is still proving that veterans still have the benefit of experience on their side. That isn’t to say that players of his ilk (Gelfand, Viswanathan Anand, and Vassily Ivanchuk) will rule forever, but the new generation still has a few things to learn.

Ruslan Ponomariov won the 2002 FIDE World Cup when it was held as a World Championship and beat Vassily Ivanchuk in the final. He was 18 at the time and was clearly one of the hottest young stars in chess.

Ponomariov seems to be in top form to take on the wily veteran.

Ponomariov seems to be in top form to take on the wily veteran.

He stagnated a bit after many failures to stage a championship match after Yasser Seirwan’s “Fresh Start” agreement was signed. However, Ponomariov has been rejuventated and is playing strong again. He seems more mature and self-assured and will have every reason to believe that he can topple the gentle giant.

The first game will take place on a stage that accommodated 128 players two weeks ago. Only Gelfand and Ponomariov are left. Who will take the crown?

Photos by Galina Popova courtesy of FIDE. Gallery link, ugra-chess.ru.

Match Score

Game 1: Ponomariov – Gelfand, ½-½ (37)
Game 2: Gelfand – Ponomariov, ½-½ (20)
Game 3: Ponomariov – Gelfand, ½-½ (37)
Game 4: Gelfand – Ponomariov, ½-½ (35)

Results: https://cup2009.fide.com/results.php
Games (PGN): (all)

7 Comments

  1. FINAL (Game #1)

    Gelfand was able to neutralize with his solid Petroff Defense. Here were interesting comments made on several sites including this one from “Thomas” at The Daily Dirt below. He actually cited Chessvibes as the source. They have an annotated version of the game. The snippet is featured below:

    17.Qc1 is relatively rare (the main move is 17.Nd2) but was played twice before by Akopian 19.Be5: deviated from these games (against Gashimov and Kasimdzhanov). BTW, after 20.Ne5: c5 times left were 91 and 81 minutes, respectively (time control is 90/40 with 30 second increment from move 1).

    Score: Gelfand ½ – Ponomariov ½

  2. FINAL (Game #2)

    Ponomariov and Gelfand going to the press conference after their 20-move draw. Both have exhibited a very friendly demeanor toward each other during the match.

    World Cup finalists Ponomariov and Gelfand going to the press conference after their 20-move draw. Both have exhibited a very friendly demeanor toward each other during the match. Photo by Galina Popova courtesy of FIDE. Gallery link, ugra-chess.ru.

    Another draw on today. This time a short draw when the game was building its tension.

    Score: Gelfand 1 – Ponomariov 1

  3. FINAL (Game #3)

    Ruslan Ponomariov stalking like a predator…

    …but Boris Gelfand is a crafty veteran.

    A tense game with lots of twists and turns. It appears as if Ponomariov was pushing for a win and pressed hard for the initiative, but was unable to break through Gelfand defenses. In the end, Galfand had adequate counter play.

    Score: Gelfand 1½ – Ponomariov

    Photos by Galina Popova courtesy of FIDE. Gallery link, ugra-chess.ru.

  4. FINAL (Game #4)

    Tiebreaks it is! Both players are content with going to tiebreaks a perhaps taking their chances in the quicker time control. I would believe that Ponomariov will have an advantage, but Gelfand has shown great stamina. Despite the four drawn games, they have had moments of tension.

    Score: Gelfand 2 – Ponomariov 2

  5. Boris Gelfand wins the 2009 FIDE World Cup!

    Boris Gelfand, 2009 FIDE World Cup champion

    More discussion of “40 is the new 20” adage. Gelfand joins Viswanathan Anand, Vassily Ivanchuk and … Brett Favre 😐 as productive sportsmen who are 40ish. Gelfand conveniently dispatched of a younger opponent in Ruslan Ponomariov and was able to match his energy.

    The thrilling tiebreak went eight games with four rapid and four blitz. Ponomariov got a clutch win in game #4 of rapid to send the match to blitz. Gelfand won the battle of the blitz 3/4 and compiled an incredible tiebreak record of +11!

    Gelfand will now be slotted in the World Championship cycle after the Anand-Topalov match. The opportunity to play for the title may be in 2012 for Gelfand and there is no telling what form he will be in at that time. One thing is clear… he was in fantastic form in this tournament!

    Final Score: Gelfand 7 – Ponomariov 5

  6. I am very impressed by Boris Gelfand’s accomplishment: The stamina that guy must have to outlast so many younger opponents in this grueling series – and come out on top! Wow! It would have been impressive just to make the finals. A big high-five to Boris! May he be in ever-ready shape for 2012!

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