On Sunday, 12 September the first games of the semifinals started in Khanty Mansiysk. As we have informed you earlier two Russian and two Ukrainian Grandmasters were qualified.
So-called "Russia-Ukraine" match is now on the way in the Chess Academy.
The Russian Grandmasters played their first game of the semifinals with White. Realizing that the stakes are very high, there are only three tickets to the World Championship, not to speak of the substantial money prize — the Grandmasters played very accurately. The ex-World Chess Champion Ruslan Ponomariov chose the Spanish Defense to reply the first move of the king's pawn. On move 3 he offered to change to the Berlin endgame which earlier secured a victory to him in the quarterfinal match against Gashimov. The Russian Champion Peter Svidler evaded the queen exchange but Ponomariov was well prepared to this game development. After two symmetrical centre blows in a row 14…d5 15.d4 the position was inevitably becoming easy. The floor is given to Ruslan Ponomariov: "After Svidler exchanged on f4 by move 20, he did not have even the two Bishops advantage and the position became almost symmetrical and absolutely equal. There was no interest to play further; that is why White offered a draw."
The game Alexander Grischuk (Russia) vs Vassily Ivanchuk (the Ukraine) continued a bit longer. Here White also played 1. e4 and Black chose the French Defense. Alexander Grischuk: "The position of our game today reminded me my game against Morozevich which we played in one of the Russian Team Championships in Dagomys. I also had an advantage during that game. The same way I missed it unskillfully after some moves and offered a draw. I would also like to say that the situation in the Hall is like in one childish funny story about two flies who were in the gym: "It seems to be cold!", — says one fly. The second replies: "Don’t worry, we both breathe and warm it up". There are only four participants left and it is a bit cold in the Hall.
As we all know the chess lovers prefer to watch the chess battles via Internet. Moreover the online transmission is conducted in two languages during the World Cup: Russian and English. Today about 56 000 online spectators were watching the semifinal games. The number of visitors and online spectators during the whole Cup is almost a million of unique visitors from 183 countries.
On Tuesday 13 September there will the return games of the semifinals. The Ukrainian Grandmasters Vassily Ivanchuk and Ruslan Ponomariov will play White.
You can watch all the games online with the Grandmasters’ comments in English and Russian on the official site of the World Cup http://chess.ugrasport.com