JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s top-ranked player won the 2009 Chess World Cup.
Boris Gelfand, a grand master from Rishon LeZion, defeated former world champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine in a playoff Monday in the Russian town of Khanty-Mansiysk to take the $120,000 top prize. Gelfand, 41, was the No. 1 seed among 128 players in the event, which had a prize pool of $1.6 million.
Ranked sixth in the world, Gelfand is now eligible to compete in the 2010 World Championships as one of the eight best players in the world.
He immigrated to Israel from Belarus in 1998.