Khanty Mansiysk (Russia): Former World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine made it to the last-four after defeating Azerbaijan's Vugar Gashimov in the second game of the quarterfinals in the World Chess Cup here on Saturday.

After a rather tentative start, Ponomariov was a class act in the return game and did not give many chances to Gashimov after attaining the upper hand in the endgame.

However, the other Ukrainian Vassily Ivanchuk was not so lucky against Azerbaijani Teimour Radjabov, who scored the equaliser in exemplary fashion to force the match into the tiebreak stage.

Russian Champion Peter Svidler got the better of top woman player Judit Polgar of Hungary and earlier became the first player to make it to semis without the tiebreaker slated for Sunday.

The other game between David Navara of Czech Republic and Alexander Grischuk of Russia ended as a draw but only after Navara came close to winning.

So, while Ponomariov and Svidler get a rest day before the semifinals, the other two matches still hold the interest in this USD 1.6 million event that started with 128 players on a knockout basis.

It may be recalled that there were three Indians in the fray and Grandmaster and former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta had a decently successful campaign reaching the last 32 before he was sent home by Chinese GM Xiangzhi Bu.

P Harikrishna lost the record round against Dmitry Jakovenko while Radjabov had beaten Parimarjan Negi in the same round.

Judit Polgar stretched a bit too far with her white pieces against Svidler who had to pay heavy dividends. Up against a Najdorf Sicilian, Judit went for uncommon lines and gave a pawn to create a central bind.

The correct result should have been a draw with the presence of Bishops of opposite colour but Judit over-estimated her chances. Svidler on the other hand waited patiently till the Hungarian erred and then quickly wrapped it up. It was all over in 45 moves.

Ponomariov showcase his technical skills to beat Gashimov. Playing the black side of a Berlin defense, Ponomariov equalised comfortably and got a slight advantage in the ensuing endgame.

What ensued was a long grind and though it took long, Ponomariov remained in control throughout. The marathon lasted 103 moves.

Radjabov did everything right on the day he needed a desperate victory. Down a point in a must win game, the Azerbaijani showed the way in an English opening. Ivanchuk was hit by a wave of attacking white pieces once Radjabov sacrificed a piece in the early middle game. Radjabov won in just 28 moves.

Alexander Grischuk was a pawn less in endgame and his position worsened after a few inaccuracies. However, Navara returned the favour to go for the second draw in the match.

Results quarterfinals game 2: Vugar Gashimov (Aze) lost to Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukr) 0.5-1.5; Teimour Radjabov (Aze) beat Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr) 1-1 goes to tiebreak; Judit Polgar (Hun) lost to Peter Svidler (Rus) 0.5-1.5; David Navara (Cze) drew with Alexander Grischuk (Rus) 1-1 goes to tiebreak.

(Agencies)