In football, the team that scores first usually wins. In short chess matches this happens even more often. More experienced participants of the World Cup final matches scored first, and then accurately defended to protect their lead. And they succeeded.
Grandmaster Sergey Shipov reviews the World Cup games
I'll show you both goals.
A. Grischuk — P. Svidler
Grischuk's incredible self-control in his horrible time troubles deserves huge respect, but in this case he failed to survive on the edge — the position was too complicated...
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 b5 6.Bd3 Qb6
A new branch on the old Paulsen tree. I studied this line by replaying the games of Kveinys and Kengis. The World Cup finalists also made some serious contribution to the variation. Black's idea is to push the White's knight away from the center, which should give Black more active opportunities.
A fashionable move — White prepares e4-e5.
After 7.Nb3 the game usually develops along the Scheveningen lines. However, there are some nuances: 7...Qc7 8.f4 d6 9.Qf3 Nd7 10.0−0 Ngf6 11.Bd2 b4 12.Nd1 Bb7 13.Nf2 a5 14.c3 bxc3 15.Bxc3 Be7 16.Rac1 Qb6 17.g4 a4 18.Bd4 Qd8 19.Nd2 0−0 20.g5 Ne8 21.h4 e5!, and Black's counterplay in the center earned him success, Shirov-Svidler, Tilburg 1997.
Supporting the d4-knight just simplifies the position: 7.Be3 Bc5 8.Be2 (weaker is 8.Nce2 Nf6 9.h3 Bb7 10.e5 Nd5 with an advantage to Black, Hoiberg-Kveinys, Aarhus 1997) 8...Nc6 9.Nxc6 Bxe3 10.fxe3 dxc6 11.Qd4 Qxd4 12.exd4 e5! 13.d5 Ne7 14.0−0−0 Bd7 15.dxc6 Nxc6 16.Nd5 Ra7 17.c3 Be6 18.Rd2 0−0 19.Rhd1 h6 with complete equality, Blehm-Kengis, Cappelle la Grande 1999.
7...Nc6 8.0−0 Qb8
Another paradoxical move — Black keeps moving the queen and does not develop other pieces. However, it is important to fight for the e5-square in this position and avoid any threats coming from the с3-knight.
Another possible move is 9...Nge7. Grischuk-Smirin, New Delhi 2000 continued 10.Be3 d6 11.Qd2 Ng6 12.Nd4 Nxd4 13.Bxd4 Ne5 14.f4 Nc6 15.Bf2 Be7 16.Nd5! exd5 17.exd5 Ne5 18.fxe5 dxe5 19.Qe2 0−0 20.Bd4 exd4 21.Qxe7 g6 22.Qf6 Bb7 23.d6 Bd5 24.Qxd4, and the game was drawn.
However, after 9...Nge7 the most challenging move is 10.e5. It occurred many times, and Grischuk probably analyzed it a lot.
An excellent novelty, which might seriously change the theory of the variation. White finds the most principled move. Other continuations give Black a comfortable game.
For instance, 10.Qe2 leads nowhere due to 10...Ne5! 11.Nxe5 Bxe5 12.a4 b4 13.Nd5 Bxh2+ 14.Kh1 Be5 15.Bd2 Nf6 16.f4 Nxd5 17.exd5 Bxf4, and White has no compensation for the lost pawns, Reeve-Yermolinsky, Edmonton 2005.
More interesting is 10.Bg5 Ne5 (10...Nge7 followed by 11...Ng6 is also fine) 11.Nxe5 Bxe5 12.Qh5, but Black has counterarguments — 12...h6 13.Bd2 Ne7 14.a4 b4 15.Ne2 Nc6 16.Rab1 d6 17.f4 g6 18.Qh4 Bg7 19.f5 Ne5 20.f6 Qb6+ 21.Kh1 Bf8 22.Rf1 Bd7 23.Qe1 a5 24.b3 h5 with mutual chances, Dovliatov-Kekelidze, Baku 2006.
No wonder that Peter didn't take the pawn — White's direct attack looks very dangerous. However, my analysis shows that Black holds: 10...Nxe5!? 11.Be4 Nc6 (the exchange sacrifice 11...Ra7 12.Be3 Nxf3+ 13.Bxf3 Bxh2+ 14.Kh1 Bf4 is also interesting) 12.Bxc6 dxc6 13.Ne4 Be7! (weaker is 13...Bc7 14.Be3 and 15.Bc5) 14.a4 Nf6 15.Bg5 Qc7 16.Bxf6 gxf6 17.Qd2 — White has compensation for a pawn, but all three results are quite possible. Here is a draw example: 17...h5! 18.Qc3 b4 19.Nxf6+ Kf8 20.Nd7+ Kg8 21.Nf6+ Kf8 22.Nd7+ with perpetual.
11.Bf4 Nge7 12.Qe2
White strengthens the e5-pawn, solidifying his spatial gains. The e4 becomes a vital transition square for White pieces.
12...Ng6 13.Bg3 Bb7
Black doesn't seem to suffer as his pieces are well-placed.
However, he has a problem with the d7-pawn, and the king is unsafe — if he castles short, then White attacks by h2-h4-h5. So Black has to be tricky.
At this point I thought White has a clear edge, but Svidler managed to complicate things.
During the online relay I liked 15...Ba5, but this move lost its appeal after I found 16.Bxb7 Qxb7 17.Ne4! Nf5 (17...Bxe1? 18.Nd6+) 18.c3, and Black stands worse.
An excellent practical chance.
No pawn — no problem.
The rook is surrounded.
This is the critical moment of the game. White must play very precisely and calculate many variations. However, proper calculation requires time, which Grischuk didn't have because he thought too much in the opening. The time factor turned out to be decisive.
A blunder, albeit not a fatal one.
The idea to get a second pawn for an exchange after 18.Qd2 in not dangerous for Black after either 18...Qc8 19.Rxd5 exd5 20.Qxd5 Rd8 etc. or 20…Nb6!? 19.Rd4 Nc4 20.Qc3 Ncxe5 — Black regains a pawn and has no weaknesses.
During the game I thought White wins by 18.Nfg5!, but in home analysis I found the best reply — 18…h6! (18...Qe8? is bad — 19.Rxc7! Nxc7 20.Nxh7!) 19.Nxe6 fxe6 20.Qg4 Qe8 21.Rxc7 Nxc7 22.Nd6 Nxe5 23.Bxe5 — White has an excellent compensation for an exchange but the victory is by no means guaranteed.
With the White knight on e4 this attack was harmless, but now the knight cuts the retreat path for the rook. I couldn't believe that a supergrandmaster can blunder such an obvious thing, but Grischuk confirmed his mistake after the game. Life is a strange thing...
You would not believe, but this is one of the best moves of Svidler in this game. 19...Bxd6 looked very natural, but it turned out that White has a Tal style reaction: 20.Rxg7+! Kxg7 21.exd6, and despite having an extra rook, it is difficult for Black to defend, while White has a clear-cut plan: h2-h4-h5 and Nf3-g5. Playing such position under time pressure is a nightmare. Computer analysis helps to find all the right moves (Black should start with 21...Qb7!), but it doesn't matter at all.
20.Nxf7 Kxf7 21.Ng5+ Kg8 22.Nxe6
Three pawns for a piece is a decent compensation.
In addition, Black's king is still at risk.
This is probably the last critical moment. Sasha had almost no time to evaluate the position properly. His impatient moves quickly led White to a disaster, while objectively the chances were about even.
Black's last move aims against the h2-pawn march. On 24.h4 Black can play 24...Bb8!, and the rook protects on g7, so after 25.h5 there is 25...Nf8.
The rook also comes into action after 24.f4 Bxe5! 25.fxe5 Re7, and White is in trouble.
White does not let the bishop come to b8, but Black vacates another square.
Therefore 24.h3!, defending the queen, is a better try. Now the march of the f2-pawn is a real threat. The game may continue 24...Na4! 25.Nxc7! (not good is 25.f4?! Bb6+! 26.Kh2 Nf8) 25...Qxg4! (after 25...Qxc7? 26.b3 Nc5 27.f4 Black cannot hold) 26.hxg4 Rxc7 27.e6 Rc8 28.b3 Nc3 29.Bd6 Re8 (or 29...Rd8 30.Bb4! Nxa2 31.Ba5) 30.f4 Rd8 31.Bc7 Rc8 32.Bd6 Rd8 33.Bc7 — this move repetition would be a logical outcome of the game.
Weaker is 24...Nc4, as after 25.b3 the e5-pawn is taboo.
The final mistake. White could resist by 25.b3 Nc5 26.Qd4 Qxe6 27.Qxc5 Bb6 28.Qc3, although Black's advantage is quite obvious.
25...Nxb2 26.Rd5 Bb6!
It's all over baby.
27.Rd6 Nc4 28.Qf5 Rf7 29.Qe4 Nxd6 30.exd6 Nf8
And White resigns due to 31.Ng5 Qf5!
R. Ponomariov — V. Ivanchuk
Ruslan failed to foresee the opening, started to make poor moves in a well-known position, and ended up in a tough ending. He had some practical chances to survive, but failed to find the right moves in a time trouble.
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.e4 Bb4 6.Bg5
The Vienna Variation is not for people who fear dangers or hate homework.
6...c5 7.Bxc4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 Qa5 10.Bb5+ Nbd7 11.Bxf6 Qxc3+ 12.Kf1 gxf6
Ruslan probably prepared another sideline (Black has many options on each move), so he ended up confused by a completely unfamiliar position. Being tired didn't help handling it right either.
Maybe my assessment is too harsh, but it is well-known that this move is abandoned by the book.
The main lines are 13.h4 and 13.Rc1, and they often lead to similar positions. For example, 13...a6 14.Rh3 Qb4 15.Be2 Ne5 16.Rc1 Qd6 leads to a popular critical position.
Piket-van Wely, Wijk aan Zee 2002 continued 17.Rb3 b5 18.a4 bxa4 19.Rbc3 Bd7 20.h5 Rb8 21.f4 Ng6 22.hxg6 hxg6 23.Qd2 Rh4 24.Kg1 Rxf4, and Black got decent compensation for a piece.
Recently in Grischuk-Kramnik, Moscow 2011 the players decided to avoid the battle and do not reveal their secrets: 17.Rc2 Bd7 18.Rd2 Qc7 19.Rc2 Qd6 20.Rd2 Qc7 21.Rc2, and the game was drawn.
Of course not 13...fxe6? 14.Rc1 Qe5 15.Rxc8+!
In case of 14.Ng7+ Kf8 the weakness of the rook on a1 prevents from taking on d7.
Here White began to realize that something went wrong. He regained a pawn, but Black completed his development, and is going to bring the knight to c5 and the rook to d8, attacking White's loose pieces. More importantly, White's rook gets stuck on h1, because the plan h2-h4 and Rh1-h3 does not work as the e6-pawn has left the board, and the c8-bishop is now free.
This novelty does not solve any problems. Here is another try: 15.Qg4+ Kh8 16.Rd1 Nc5 17.Qh4 Ne6 18.Bc4 Nxd4 19.f4 Qd6 20.e5 fxe5 21.fxe5 Qxe5 22.Rxd4 Bf5, and Black got a healthy extra pawn in Schmidt-Slobodjan, Saarbruecken 2002.
During the game I considered 15.Bxd7 Bxd7 16.Nf3 Bb5+ 17.Kg1 Qxe4 the lesser of evils, and here White should play 18.Qd6, attacking the pawn on f6 and intending to play h2-h4, finally developing the rook. I think White would get some compensation for a pawn.
15...Nc5 16.Qg3+ Kh8 17.Qxe5 fxe5 18.Nf3 a6
18...Nxe4 is even stronger: 19.Nxe5 f6 20.Nf3 Nc3, planning to play a7-a5 at once, while the bishop will retreat anyway.
Sitting with a microphone, I could not understand why Black rejected 18...f6 19.Nd2 Be6, and White has serious problems with the e4-pawn. The players probably considered 20.Ke2 a6 21.Bc4 Bxc4+ 22.Nxc4 Nxe4, and decided that White has compensation for a pawn after, say, 23.Rac1.
Well, they know better.
Here 19...f6 is ruled out due to 20.Bd5!
20.Nxe5 f6 21.Nf3 Bf5
Black simply improves his pieces and exerts pressure on the queenside, where he is a pawn up. And White keeps playing without a rook.
The idea to play g2-g4 and Kf1-g2 is tempting but impossible to carry out.
22...b5 23.Bb3 Nc3
Getting ready to place the bishop to e4 when there is a chance.
24.Nd4 Bd3+ 25.Kg1
The daring 25.Ke1 works after 25...Rfd8 26.Kd2!, but after 25...Rac8! the king is in trouble.
The rook comes into play, but it cost White three tempi — the price is too high!
26...a4 27.Bd1 Bc4
The immediate pawn break 27...b4 is difficult to evaluate even in the analysis: 28.Nc6! b3 (28...Nxd1 gives Black nothing — 29.Rhxd1 Bc2 30.Rd4 b3 31.Rb4!) 29.axb3 Be4! 30.Nd4 Rfd8 31.Rc1! Nxd1 32.Rhxd1 a3, etc. Such variations have one major drawback: sometimes you win material, but cannot win the game.
The Black's pawns are temporarily stopped.
28...Rad8 29.Nc6 Rd2 30.Bf3
White finds a nice way to rearrange his pieces.
He can even afford to give away a pawn.
The rook comes to life.
Frankly speaking, here I felt that White's activity will allow him to make an easy draw. However, I did not consider two important factors: time trouble and energy preservation law. Ponomariov was completely exhausted after the nervous first part of the game, while Ivanchuk spared a lot of energy, and the difference began to tell...
On 33.Ne7!? Black probably plays 33...Rc5, not allowing the knight to f5. Although it is not clear how to win after 34.Rad1 Nc3 35.Rd7 Re5 36.Rc1!, for example, 36...Ne4 37.Rd8+ Kg7 38.Nc6 Re6 39.Nd4 with move repetition.
33...Rxf3 34.Na7 Rxa3 35.Nxc8 leads to a very sharp and unclear game. Obviously Vassily didn't like to risk his king.
One can understand Ruslan's worries about the b5-b4-break, but removing the knight from the center has its own disadvantages. 34.Rd7 looked good, leaving more options for the knight, which can jump to e7 or even d8. Ideally White can create some threats against the enemy king.
An important resource — the e4-square has to be secured.
I think White could afford the daring 35.Kg3!? Rb2 36.Kf4 — at least his king is out of danger, and the pawn on f5 is attacked.
Black's pressure on the g2-pawn with the bishop on f3 looks puzzling, but the point is that the bishop can eventually be driven away...
The more active-looking 36.R1e5 is no good due to 36...Be2! I examined this line to the end: 37.Rxe2 Nxe2 38.Nd3 Rxf3 39.gxf3 Nd4 40.Ne5 Nc2 41.h4 Ra8! (weaker is 41...Nxa3 42.h5 Nc4 43.Nd7 Rg7 44.Re8+ Rg8 45.Re7 with a draw) 42.h5 h6 43.Nd7 Ra6 — White runs out of threats and Black wins.
The most tenacious is 36.Rd7!, and if 36...Be2?, then 37.Rd2!
Although Ivanchuk would likely reply to 36.Rd7 by 36...Ne4!, keeping the initiative.
After this move White's position is critical.
The final mistake. I was very surprised with the speed of Ruslan's losing move. He still had about three minutes and could calculate a few lines, but he responded instantly — playing by hand and without thought.
Black's main idea is shown in 37.R1xe2 Nxe2 38.Rxe2 Rgxg2+ 39.Bxg2 Rxe2, and White pieces cannot hold the passing pawns, for example, 40.Kg1 Re3 41.Nc2 (41.Bf1 also loses — 41...Rxa3 42.Bxb5 Rb3) 41...Rc3 42.Nd4 Rxa3 43.Nxb5 Rd3 44.Bf1 a3!
Of course, after 37.R1xe2 Nxe2 White has 38.Nd3!, but then 38...Rxf3 39.gxf3 Nd4 40.Ne1, and… Black must work hard to convert his advantage, and it is easy to make a mistake. For example, 40...f4 41.Rd5 Re8 42.Rxd4 Rxe1 43.Rxf4 Re3 44.Rf5 Rxa3 45.Rxb5 Rxf3 46.Ra5 a3 47.Ra7, and White should hold.
37...Bxf3 38.Rxf3 Rgxg2+ 39.Kh1 Rh2+ 40.Kg1 Ne2+
White loses an exchange in a hopeless position, so he decided to resign.
Grischuk and Ponomariov did not manage to equalize the score despite having a few good opportunities.
Look at the last games of both matches.
P. Svidler — A. Grischuk
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Nd7 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 a6 6.Be2 Ngf6 7.0−0 Qc7 8.c4 e6 9.b3 b6 10.Nc3 Bb7 11.Rd1 Be7 12.h3 Rd8 13.Qe3 0−0 14.Ba3 Rfe8 15.Rac1
Black got an excellent version of a Hedgehog. There cannot be a better scenario for a must-win game.
At the press-conference Grischuk explained why he rejected the natural 15...Nc5. He saw that after 16.e5 dxe5 17.Nxe5 Black has 17...Nxb3, but calculated it to the sad end: 18.Rxd8 (18.Bxe7 is inaccurate: 18...Nxc1 19.Rxd8 Nxe2+ 20.Nxe2 due to 20...Qxe7! 21.Rxe8+ Nxe8 22.Qxb6 f6 with equality) 18...Rxd8 (I can add my own line 18...Nxc1 19.Rxe8+ Nxe8 20.Bxc1 Bc5 21.Qf4 Bd6 22.Qxf7+ Qxf7 23.Nxf7 Kxf7 24.Be3, and Black loses the b6-pawn and faces serious problems in the ending) 19.Bxe7 Nxc1 20.Bxf6 Nxe2+ 21.Nxe2 gxf6, and now White wins a queen with a nice combination: 22.Qg3+ Kh8 (22...Kf8 23.Ng6+) 23.Ng6+!
As you can see, grandmasters do not waste their time at the board, although sometimes they find deep and complicated lines, and miss the simple ones.
This move shows that White was really worried about the Black's knight arriving to c5.
White's position looks active, but in fact he must defend accurately, because he has many weaknesses.
I think this was the last moment when the Muscovite could get some chances to play for a win.
This move stunned the commentators. The idea of transferring the knight somewhere (to g5, or maybe to g6 via f8) might be quite good. However, we studied a much more interesting possibility.
The position demanded a central break — 18...d5!
We didn't see a clear way to equality during the game, and didn't find it in the analysis either. It turned out that Grischuk didn't see that 19.e5 is met by 19...d4!, which gives Black a very strong attack: 20.Qxd4 (20.Nxd4 Nxe5 is not better) 20...Bxf3 21.exf6 Bxf6 22.Qxd7 Bc6! (an important resource — White must return a piece to save his queen) 23.Bh7+ Kxh7 24.Qxf7 Qe5 — Black's advantage is obvious.
Svidler said that he intended to meet 18...d5 by 19.cxd5, and after 19...Bxb4 20.dxe6 Rxe6 21.Nd4 he hoped to bring the knight to f5 with some counterplay. However, let's look further: 21...Ree8 22.Nf5, and now instead of the machine move 22...Rc5!? one can make a human move 22...Bf8, and White didn't achieve much. The knight on f5 is useless, and the e4-pawn is weak. All exchanges favor Black, who will eventually created a remote passed pawn. Maybe the computer can hold White's position, but it would be very difficult for a human player.
19.Ne2 Ba8 20.e5!
White begins active operations.
Psychologically it is very hard to play 20...Bxf3! 21.Qxf3 Nxe5 22.Bxh7+ Kxh7 23.Bxe5 dxe5 24.Qxf7 Rc7! 25.Qh5 Bxb4 26.Qxe5 Rf7 with a small advantage for Black, because it requires making several refined moves while worrying about the damaged structure. This was probably too difficult for a human.
21.Nxg5 Bxg5 22.f4 Be7 23.Be4!
Peter conducts the attack splendidly.
23...Bxe4 24.Qxe4 Red8 25.Nd4
Weaknesses of c6 and e6 makes Black's situation critical. Sasha defends brilliantly, but he cannot play for a win any longer.
Wrong is 26.Nc6 Qa8 27.b5 axb5 (during the online broadcasting I mumbled about 27...Nb8?, blundering a queen — 28.Ne7+!) 28.cxb5 d5 29.Qb1 Re8. Now Black ignores the с6-knight, and meet 30.f5 by 30...Qa4!
26...fxe6 27.exd6 Re8
White has two pawns and powerful pressure for a piece. Right now he threatens to bring a rook to g3 with mating threats.
28...Qa8 29.Qxa8 Rxa8 30.c5 bxc5 31.bxc5
Stopping the passed pawns is a difficult task, but Grischuk demonstrates another time trouble brilliancy.
After 32.Ba1 Black survives by 32...Nxc5! 33.Rxc5 Bxd6 34.Rxd6 Rb1+ 35.Kh2 Rxa1 36.Rd7 Kh7 37.Rcc7 Rg8.
More accurate is 32...Nf6 33.c6 Nd5, for instance, 34.Rxd5 exd5 35.c7 Rc8 36.d7 Bxa3 37.dxc8Q+ Rxc8 38.Rxa3 Rxc7 39.Rxa6 with a symbolic advantage to White.
Under different circumstances Peter would be more aggressive. After 34.Rb1!? Nf6 35.c7 Re8 36.Rc6! White eventually captures the a6-pawn, and then slowly improve his position all over the board. I cannot say he would win for sure, but there were some winning chances.
34...Nb8 35.c7 Rxd6 36.Rxd6 Bxd6 37.cxb8Q Rxb8 38.Bc1
The resulting ending is completely equal. Grischuk did not object.
R. Ponomariov — V. Ivanchuk
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.Qb3 d5 6.cxd5 Qxd5 7.Nc3 Qxb3 8.axb3 Bb7 9.Bg2 a6 10.0−0 Nbd7 11.Bg5 Bd6 12.Rfc1 0−0 13.Nd2 Bxg2 14.Kxg2 Rfc8 15.Nce4 Bf8 16.Bxf6 gxf6 17.g4 c5 18.dxc5 Bxc5 19.Nf3 Kf8 20.b4 Bxb4 21.Rxa6 Bc5 22.Rca1 Rxa6 23.Rxa6 b5 24.Ra5 b4 25.Rb5 Be7 26.b3 Rc7 27.Nd4 Kg7 28.f4 Bf8 29.e3 Kg6 30.h4 Kg7 31.Kf3 Be7
At the press-conference Vassily Mikhailovich confessed that Ruslan outplayed him and got a big advantage. However, he failed to convert it, just like in the third game of the match.
White misses a chance to launch a direct attack by 32.f5!
The express-analysis revealed serious problems for Black: 32...Ne5+ (after 32...e5 33.Ne2 White gets a decisive advantage thanks to controlling the critical square e4) 33.Kg3 Nc6 (the only way to avoid an immediate loss) 34.Nxc6 Rxc6 35.Kf3! — and White brings the knight to f4 via g3 and h5. Black is unlikely to hold the e6-pawn, therefore White will control the key squares in the center and almost certainly win the b4-pawn.
32...Nc5 33.Nd2 Nb7 34.Nc4
It is easy to recommend 34.h5!?, knowing the actual game continuation.
34...Nc5 35.Nd2 Nb7 36.Ne4 Nd6 37.Rc5
After 37.Nxd6 Bxd6 38.f5 Black equalizes by 38...e5 39.Nf3 Rc3!
37...Rxc5 38.Nxc5 h5!
This key move gives Black real drawing chances.
Now Ivanchuk has counterplay.
40.Nc6 Bf8 41.Nxb4 Kxh5 42.Nc6 Kxh4 43.Kf3
The remote passed pawn is a serious trump for White, but the material is generally very limited, and two knights cannot give mate on an empty board. These factors determine a peaceful outcome.
43...Kh5 44.b4 Kg6 45.Nd7 Bh6
46.Nd4!, helping the b4-pawn, looked very natural.
The exchange combination 46...e5 47.fxe5 fxe5 48.Nxe5+ Kg5 49.b5 Nxb5 50.Nxb5 Kf5 51.Nd3 Bxe3 52.Kxe3 didn't work, because the f7-pawn kills Black. According to Nalimov base, White gives mate in 41.
46...Bg7 is more tenacious, but then White has a nice blocking sacrifice 47.f5+!, which cannot be accepted. After the correct 47...Kh7! 48.fxe6 fxe6 49.Nxe6 Kg6 Black can still hope to survive.
A well-timed break — it is important to free the king and the bishop.
47.Ne7+ Kg7 48.Kf3 exf4 49.e4
White tries his last chance — blocking the f5-pawn.
The last and very strange mistake. It is strange because it was played quickly, while Black's reply is very obvious.
Ruslan should have at least tested the opponent in the knight ending after 50.Nf5+ Kg6 51.Nxh6 Kxh6 52.Kxf4, although objectively it is drawn: 52...Kg6 53.Nb6 Nd6 54.Nd5 Nb5 55.Ne7+ Kg7 56.Ke3 Kf8 57.Nf5 Ke8 58.Nd4 Nd6, etc.
The bishop comes out and kills the passer on b4, and White cannot do anything about it. The rest of the game could well be omitted.
51.Nf5+ Kh8 52.Kxf3
Of course not 52.Nxh6? f2.
52...Bd2 53.Nxf6 Bxb4 54.e5 Bc3 55.Ke4 Nc7 56.Nd7 Kh7 57.Kf4 Nd5+ 58.Ke4 Nc7 59.Ne7 Kg7 60.Kf5 Bb4 61.Nc6 Ba3 62.Nd4 Ne6 63.Nxe6+ fxe6+ 64.Kxe6 Bb2 65.Ke7 Bxe5 66.Nxe5. Game drawn.
Peter Svidler won the World Cup. Alexander Grischuk and Vassily Ivanchuk also advanced to the Candidates Tournament. Bravo!
And Ruslan — don't lose courage!...