The final beckons

Gelfand dominates both games to earn his ticket for the final showdown. He will have to wait for the result of the play-off between Ponomariov and Malakhov to know his opponent.

Boris Gelfand had no problem in seeing off Sergey Karjakin and won again. The Israeli continued to demonstrate his stamina and good form by showing no mercy to his young opponent. Karjakin has in the past represented the Ukraine, but will apparently be switching to Russia in the future.

Whatever his allegience, he will know that he didn't play at anything like his best in these two games.

NameCountryRatingAgeOriginal seedClassical game 1Classical game 2
Boris GelfandISR275841111
Sergey KarjakinUKR2723191200

Coming back from a loss with White in the first leg doesn't happen very often, so Karjakin's chances were slim, but again one feels that he should have been tougher. The only example I can think of from this World Cup (of such an unlikely bounce-back) was a second round match where Li Chao won the second leg, and then next day the play-off, against Yannick Pelletier.

Karjakin before it all went pear-shaped yesterday.
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In the other match two, somewhat cautious, draws maintain the suspense, so tomorrow rapid games will be required to determine the winner.

NameCountryRatingAgeOriginal seedClassical game 1Classical game 2
Vladimir MalakhovRUS270629220.50.5
Ruslan PonomariovUKR27392670.50.5

Their only other meeting, according to my databases, was another solid draw in the Spanish league three months ago.

Malakhov: No rest day tomorrow!
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What can Ponomariov do to break down his ultra-solid opponent in rapid chess?
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More details are available on the official site

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