Khanty Mansiysk (Russia): It`s likely to be a keen contest when Alexander Grischuk and Peter Svidler take their seats against each other in the final of the World Chess Cup starting on Friday.
The four-game match will see an all-Russian final after two remaining Ukrainians Vassily Ivanchuk and Ruslan Ponomariov were eliminated in the semifinals.
This will be a different match as both Svidler and Grischuk are good friends. In fact, in the last candidate matches, Svidler was Grischuk`s second assisting him till the finals which the Russian lost narrowly against Boris Gelfand of Israel.
While the loss at the candidates put him out of contention for the 2012 World championship match against V Anand, this event has now again bolstered the chances of Grischuk to lay his claim for the world championship of 2013.
The top three from this event qualify to the `candidates` tournament of 2012.
Svidler has been a cool customer throughout the world cup, doing just the needful and demoralising opposition with his excellent use of the black pieces.
His last two victories over Judit Polgar of Hungary and Ponomariov came in normal games itself so he has had more time to rest than Grischuk who has had to play tiebreaker in the last two rounds.
With two-games mini-matches till the final, this will also be a change of strategy for both the players as they now play four-games before going towards the tiebreaker. Many pundits, however, believe that this one too will be decided in the tiebreaker given Grischuk`s penchant for the faster version of the game.
The USD 1.6 million event will also have a match for the third place to determine the remaining qualifying seat for the next candidates.
This will be a match between Ivanchuk and Ponomariov and the former will be looking forward to avenge his defeat that cost him the world championship title way back in 2001.
In the knockout world championship of 2001, Ivanchuk had done a lot of hard work including victory over defending champion Anand in the semifinals but had then run into 18-year old Ponomariov who won the final to become the youngest ever world champion.