World Chess Championship 2001-2002 and Women's World Chess Championship 2001 25 Nov-14 Dec and 16-26 Jan 2002

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Ponomariov draws 7th game to clinch match and become 16th World Champion!

In the 7th game of the World Chess Championship 2001-2002 the opponents agreed to draw. This means Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukrain becomes the new World Chess Champion.


Game 1


Ruslan Ponomariov 1-0 Vassily Ivanchuk
Game 2 17/1/2002 Vassily Ivanchuk 1/2 Ruslan Ponomariov
Game 3 18/1/2002 Ruslan Ponomariov 1/2 Vassily Ivanchuk
Game 4 19/1/2002 Vassily Ivanchuk 1/2 Ruslan Ponomariov
Game 5 21/1/2002 Ruslan Ponomariov 1-0 Vassily Ivanchuk
Game 6 22/1/2002 Vassily Ivanchuk 1/2 Ruslan Ponomariov
Game 7 23/1/2002 Ruslan Ponomariov 1/2 Vassily Ivanchuk



Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine became, at 18, the youngest world champion ever as he drew game 7 to win his match 4.5:2.5 against compatriot Vassily Ivanchuk.

FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov congratulated the 16th World Champion at the post-game press conference. “The next World Championship shall be in London under the same system,” he pronounced.

“I played for a draw,” Ponomariov admitted. “On the 29th, I shall call on Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma,” he announced. “Then my next tournament shall be in Linares,” Ponomariov said.

Asked how he would feel playing against the strongest players like Kasparov, Kramnik and Anand, Ponomariov said “I feel a responsibility as world champion. In my childhood, Kasparov and Karpov were my favorites, but now I have no favorites. I prefer a universal style.”

Ivanchuk joined the press conference and emphatically said “I studied the games of different players like Botvinnik. I never had any favorite players, I do not have now and I never will have.”

Joining the youngest world champion at the press conference was the oldest living champion, Vassily Smyslov, who said “I am glad that the two finalists are products of the Soviet chess school.”

Ponomariov came early but Ivanchuk refused to emerge from backstage for three minutes after Deputy Arbiter Jorge Vega of Mexico started the chess clock. After shaking hands with Ponomariov, Ivanchuk refused to make a move until time had elapsed and Chief Arbiter Yuri Averbach ordered photographers to leave.

Surprisingly, according to commentator GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili, Ivanchuk used the Alekhine defense. “It is a strange opening by Ivanchuk. The Alekhine is not the type of opening to use when Black must win and if White does not want to complicate, he has many variations to choose,” Azmaiparashvili said. “Ruslan Ponomariov chose 4.Nf3 and Ivanchuk replied with Nc6 which is worse than any other line,” Azmaiparashvili added.

“Yes, 4.Nf3 is the weakest continuation. It would have been better to develop the Bishop,” World Championship Cycle Committee Chairman Willy Iclicki agreed.

Azmaiparashvili continued “White definitely stood better when Ivanchuk offered the draw. I predicted the game would end in less than two hours. I was wrong. It ended in one and a half hours.”

At the press conference, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov replied to questions from journalists. He said “On the matter of having six or 12 games, I prefer more games, but the FIDE General Assembly decided on 8 and the players agreed to these rules before the start. We consulted many players on the matter of time control. These questions shall be discussed at the FIDE Congress during this year’s Olympiad in Slovenia.”

And on the matter of sponsorship, the FIDE President said “When I assumed the presidency, FIDE was near bankruptcy. Now we have the situation in hand and we have many foreign and Russian companies who help finance FIDE. For example, this year we are starting the FIDE Grand Prix with sponsors from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.”

Awards ceremonies are scheduled 7pm on Friday, 25 January here at the historic Metropol Hotel, host of the first Moscow International Chess Tournament in 1925 among Capablanca, Lasker and other notables.

World Championship 2000 >>>
World Championship 1999 >>>

See related links:

Ponomariov draws 7th game to clinch match and become 16th World Champion

Draw in Game 6 Puts Ponomariov a half point away from title

Ponomariov Widens Lead 3.5:1.5

Stress taking its toll as Ivanchuk and Ponomariov draw lackluster game 4

Another Fighting Draw in Game 3

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