Saturday, 05 December 2009 16:36
The stakes are high as the 2009 World Cup is closing to its end and the players are becoming more cautious. Vugar Gashimov and Ruslan Ponomariov, and on the another table, Dmitry Jakovenko and Boris Gelfand, did not want to take risks after drawing the first game of the fifth round. Both matches proceed to rapid tiebreaks after draws were simultaneously agreed on the 15th move in the return games.
On the other two boards, Peter Svidler and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov were fighting to equalise the scores and earn tiebreaks. Svidler refrained from his favourite Gruenfeld Indian and tried to surprise Vladimir Malakhov with the King's Indian defence. But Malakhov set an early course for controlled exchanges and black offered a draw in the equal position on move 28. "I had a tremendously difficult task - to win with black against one of the strongest and toughest opponents" - Svidler said after the match - "I did my best, but alas. Am I upset? Of course! I was very much hoping that I could go further than quarterfinals".
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was also trailing after losing the first game to Sergey Karjakin. Today he tried one of his favourite aggressive setups - trade dark-squared Bishop, switch pawns in the center, place the Queen on b3 and combine the play in center and on the queenside. But Karjakin defended well and patiently cleared the board by exchanging the pieces whenever possible to reach an endgame with excellent chances to make a draw. Mamedyarov tried for about twenty moves, but it was not possible to break the black fortress on the kingside.
Malakhov and Karjakin progress to the semifinal, while the other two matches will be decided after tiebreaks on Saturday.
Round 5 game 1 / Official site