Khanty Mansiysk (Russia): Six-time Russian champion Peter Svidler added another feather to his cap by winning his maiden World Cup title after eking out a draw in the fourth and final game against friend and compatriot Alexander Grischuk.
Svidler won the final with a 2.5-1.5 margin and the sole decisive game in the mini-match was the first one of the encounter that Svidler won with black pieces. The remaining three ended in a draw giving the Russian a pay-check of USD 96,000.
Ukraine`s Vassily Ivanchuk, meanwhile, upstaged country-mate and former world champion Ruslan Ponomariov to win the right to be a part of next world championship cycle.
After Grischuk won the silver following the draw, Ivanchuk got the bronze medal after signing peace with Ponomariov and winning the match 2.5-1.5.
While the top three will be in the next world championship cycle, it remains to be seen what format FIDE will resort to after the match between India`s Viswanathan Anand and Israeli Boris Gelfand in Russia in 2012.
It all came easy for Svidler as he had the advantage of playing white in the final game. Starting off with the King pawn, Svidler faced the Sicilian yet again and went for the Rossolimo instead of more popular modern main lines.
This variation is notoriously known for its drawing tendencies and Grischuk rightly went ceding space in order to avoid early exchanges. As the game progressed, Svidler showed little ambition and gave black an easy game although the complications remained.
The game was evenly poised when Svidler sacrificed a knight for just a couple of pawns and showed his precise calculation backed by his deep understanding.
Black was up against two menacing passed pawns and Grischuk never quite managed to get anything worthwhile.
Svidler recovered the piece to get a perfect equality and after 38 moves the game was agreed drawn.
"As regards my openings, I sort of crawled over the finish ribbon, my courage was over and my hands started shaking," said Svidler about the final game.
"I was quite happy with today`s opening as my pieces were alive till I made this ridiculous 18th move," Grischuk said.
Praising Svidler, he added that Peter played the best and deserved the victory.
In the bronze medal tie-off, Ruslan Ponomariov again got a promising position but could not make amends against Ivanchuk who played the black side of a Queen`s Indian.
After regulation exchanges, the players arrived at a minor piece endgame which had Ponomariov on top but Ivanchuk`s defensive resources came to the fore. After the last white pawn went off the board on move 66, the draw was a just result.