Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Malakhov’s best in rapid chess

Photo: Official website
WESLEY So’s exit from the 2009 World Cup via a lopsided score of 1-4 against Russia’s Vladimir Malakhov could be attributed to his ‘inexperience’ and ‘internal weakness’ spotted by Russian GM Sergey Shipov.

The Filipino, who was once quoted by foreign journalists in Khanty-Mansiysk that he prefers to play in rapid tiebreaks, could “not oversee that Malakhov feels completely at home in rapid.” But Wesley overlooked that Malakhov has the best record in rapid tiebreak games.

A little bit of retrospection would confirm that Malakhov was likely to beat, and he did beat, So (3-0!) in the rapid tiebreak games.

Consider the fact: Malakhov has a stupendous record in the rapid tiebreak.

After a draw in the first game of Round 2, he won the next two against Israel's Ilia Smirin (2662, seed 43rd) and advanced to the third round.

In Round 3, he won three straight games against Ukraine's Pavel Eljanov (2729, seed 11th) and advanced to the fourth round.

In Round 4, as it is now history, he won three straight games against the 2009 World Cup rising star Wesley So.

That’s 8.5 points out of 9 games in rapid format! This is the one phenomenal and outstanding performance in the 2009 World Cup.

In the meantime, Malakhov needed no tiebreak against Peter Svidler as he won the mini-match, 1.5-0.5. (Svidler probably thought Malakhov is unbeatable in rapid and went just one game down in the classical format that saw him off from playing rapid games with his in-form rival.)

As of this posting, Malakhov is contesting one of the finals berth against former FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine.

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