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Running of the Ponomariov

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Tired, schmired. Rublevsky and Bareev sprinted from the World Cup to the Russian Superfinal, where Rublevsky won the title with +4 and Bareev played spotty but rich chess for a +1 score. Ruslan Ponomariov, fresh from losing the final match against Aronian, had a few more days to rest but a longer distance to travel and more adjustments to make regarding climate when he traveled to Pamplona, Spain for a strong round robin.

The 2001 FIDE champion turned in a professional win with three victories over the tail-enders. (There were no decisive games among the top four finishers, so this wasn't really a gripping affair.) Harikrishna could have caught Pono by beating him with black in the final round but instead offended his fans by offering a short draw. So the Indian #2 was caught by Cheparinov, who played to win with black and pulled it off.

Ponomariov was the top seed in an unbalanced field, but it suffices as another indicator that he has returned to 2001 form. He is back in the top ten on the rating list and played great chess in Khanty-Mansiysk. He's young, motivated, and has played regularly, so his dip off the charts makes you ponder the matter and meaning of the overused word "form." We can't blame two years of middling results on the disruption surrounding his aborted match with Kasparov. His youth he's still only 22 was no doubt a factor and he'll have a better chance of sticking around this time. A short interview with Ponomariov from the World Cup site.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 3, 2006 12:42 PM.

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