The third game of the match for the 3rd place between the Ukrainian GMs Vassily Ivanchuk and Ruslan Ponomariov was drawn. The way Vassily managed to save the position with one pawn down was shared with us by the opponents at the press-conference.
— Today’s game turned out to be very long and eventful. Tell us about it in a more detailed way please.
Ivanchuk: Yes, indeed! I mixed something up after the opening and remained one pawn down, then I was suffering the whole game and, luckily I managed to make a draw.
Ponomariov: At one moment I did not like the variation that I developed, because I wanted to get another type of position in case if Vassily instead of the move 14.Bf4 would have chosen the same line as Karpov in the match against Kasparov — 14.h3 Bxf3 15.Bxf3 Bxe5 16.Bxc6 bxc6 17.Bd4. According to the theory, it is considered that in this case Black get a good position and White are not risking anything and all their pieces are arranged well. Frankly speaking, temporarily they have one pawn down, but the compensation is more than obvious and Black would not have managed to develop any serious fight. And I had an extra pawn, but I was not precise in the realization, got nothing and let my opponent exchange too much material.
— How obvious were your chances to win in the endgame?
Ponomariov: At what moment? Queens have been exchanged rather quickly.
— Closer to the end of the game.
Ponomariov: There was not much material left. All the pawns on the same side and the opposite color bishops … I did not see any precise plan. I wanted to somehow activate my king, move it to c4, but, unfortunately, White started having their own play. A bit earlier I should have played more accurately and should have thought. For example, I played 23…bxc5 and with the move 24…Bd4 I have answered rather confidently to the move 24.Nxc5, however, having blundered the move 25.Rd1, and then we got a pin. There were many pieces on the board left at that moment, I had an extra pawn and I had only to settle the pieces coordination. It seems to me that Black were supposed to have something. Maybe instead of 23…bxc5 I should have simply played 23…e6 with the idea to move my knight on e7. Certainly, it was not that simple, because White can play 24.Rc7 and the rook becomes very active. Thus, there is what to think over.
— Do you feel that tomorrow’s game will be the decisive one?
Ivanchuk: I think that first of all I have to recover from today’s game and then I will think about tomorrow’s one.
Ponomariov: Tomorrow is tomorrow! We shall see.
— Do you follow the games of your neighbors Svidler and Grischuk?
Ivanchuk: I paid attention at the opening only and after I did not follow, because I had my own problems to solve!
— Do you support any of the finalists?
Ivanchuk: I would abstain from answering! (laughing)
Ponomariov: We are playing our match and we have our own goals and objectives. There are chess amateurs who come to support someone and as for me it is more interesting to watch the line in the opening too. So far I did not see anything outstanding.
Anna Sharevich: Vassily, I would like to transfer the request of our spectators addressed to you. You are the only one from all the World Cup finalists who has not yet been to our commentators’ studio. Would you agree to comment the games with us?
Ponomariov: In this case whom will I play with?!
Ivanchuk: I did not really get where you are inviting me. Okey, we shall see.
— The question from photographer: do you have any culinary preferences?
Ivanchuk: Lately I prefer to cook baked meet with vegetables in the oven.
Ponomariov: I have already tasted all dishes in the hotel restaurant, I am sort of fed up with them — still it is relatively the same every day... I would say that from the local cuisine I prefer deer meet and fish — white fish and Siberian white salmon.