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Wang Hao vs Ruslan Ponomariov
World Chess Cup (2007), Khanty-Mansiysk RUS, rd 2, Nov-28
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen. Classical Variation (B84)  ·  0-1
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-28-07  OneArmedScissor: Nice game by Pono! Very direct!
Nov-28-07  apple pi: Once again Pono scores with a Sicilian in a must-win situation. The tie-breaks will be interesting. Is Wang Hao a good rapid player?
Nov-29-07  notyetagm: Damn it, a pawn structure disaster for Wang Hao.
Nov-29-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Troller: <Is Wang Hao a good rapid player?> Better than me probably. But Pono has excellent technique, so if he can steer the games in a positional direction he is a strong favourite.

5 years ago Ponomariov seemed a very likely future world champion, but since then, he's plummeted in the rankings and only relatively recently regained a top position. He has often played rather unambitiously, but I got to hand it to him, he's really showing fighting spirit in this tournament. However, if he keeps losing the first game, things will sooner or later get difficult for him, should he advance further in the tournament.

Nov-29-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: After 29.Rxd1, I think the game is lost for Hao:

1) Black has 4 targets: e5, g3, first, and next b2 and a5. Defend all this weaknesses is impossible most of the time (in fact, defend more than 2 weaknesses is usually an impossible task).

2) Another point is that the Bishop is clearly stronger than the Knight in this particuliar position.

3) Ponomariov is one of the best ending players today.

Nov-29-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: 21.exf6?! led to simplifications to Black's advantage. But maybe, Hao could not resist to the temptation to simplify to reach a draw. If this is the case, it's a wrong policy, as Karpov and many others explained.
Apr-24-08  positionalgenius: Nice game here. Ponomariov in a must-win situation
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