David Navara, Arkadij Naiditsch, Ruslan Ponomariov and Radek Wojtaszek are the biggest names that have to leave the FIDE World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk after just two days of play. Thursday will see tiebreaks in 23 of the 64 matches.
You can follow the games here as part of our live portal Chess.com/events. There is daily coverage by our Twitch partner, the Chessbrahs.
GMs Yasser Seirawan, Eric Hansen and Aman Hambleton are covering the tournament each day on their channel Twitch.tv/Chessbrah. Play starts at 3 p.m. local time, which is 12:00 (noon) CEST, 6 a.m. Eastern and 3 a.m. Pacific.
None of the rating favorites that started with a loss managed to win on demand. Radek Wojtasek was the highest rated player that didn’t even make it to the tiebreaks of the first round, as he faced a young Norwegian grandmaster who happened to be in great shape.
It didn’t help that Wojtaszek got caught in a sharp line of the Sicilian Najdorf where White sacrifices an exchange and the most Black can hope for is a draw.
It’s unclear whether it was part of the “Magnus effect” mentioned yesterday, but Johan-Sebastian Christiansen wasn’t even happy with that draw and decided to just beat his world-class opponent another time.
It’s hard not to be a fan of a player who comes up with a quote like this: “I needed a draw but still I played some crazy variation because to play boring is not my style really.”
FIDE’s interview with Christiansen.
Two other players who had beaten higher rated opponents on the first day, Nihal Sarin and Niclas Huschenbeth, scored impressive wins yet again versus Jorge Cori and Arkadij Naiditsch. After winning the first game, Andrey Esipenko held the draw against a “World Cup gangster,” Svidler’s nickname for Ruslan Ponomariov. The latter didn’t have a very pleasant experience after his first game.
2/2 But after 1st game I spent literally 2 hours from 19:57 till 21:56 for the doping test with Rusada hired by FIDE instead of resting and prepare for the 2nd game. Why so long? Why it was not WADA? Was I randomly selected?! I hope to play better soon.
— Ruslan Ponomariov (@Ponomariov) September 11, 2019
Czech number one David Navara had started with a draw, but an unexpected loss in the second game sent him home early as well. 22-year-old Russian GM Daniil Yuffa came up with a strong pawn push in the center, and Navara might have missed the main point behind it.
After that he was looking at a positional disaster. Without a g-pawn, White couldn’t fight the beast on f5.
Of the top nine seeds, eight won their matches 2-0: Ding Liren, Anish Giri, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Wesley So, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Leinier Dominguez and Alexander Grischuk. Sixth seed Levon Aronian, who escaped with a draw yesterday, won convincingly as Black on day two.
The top seed won very quickly this time:
A very disappointing game to finish my World Cup. The lesson is not to rely on tricks when playing someone rated 2800
— shaunpress (@shaunpress) September 11, 2019
Colombian GM Alder Escobar had Dominguez on the ropes in his white game and almost forced a tiebreak:
The upset of the day was 37-year-old Iranian GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami winning on demand against 25-year-old top grandmaster Yu Yangyi in a marathon game. A truly great performance by Ghaem Maghami that lasted 132 moves.
Four other players managed to win on demand to take their match to tiebreaks: Naranyan S.L. vs. David Anton, Sethuraman S.P. vs. Tamir Nabaty, Shekhar Ganguly vs. Vladimir Fedoseev and Constantin Lupulescu vs. Igor Kovalenko.
Below Yu, the highest rated player that went to playoffs was Hikaru Nakamura. Following his draw in the first game, he split the point even quicker in the next (after just 16 moves), probably happy to show his quickplay skills against 21-year-old Bilel Bellahcene of Algeria.
It was a good day for Iranian chess. Besides Ghaem Maghami’s win, there was Alireza Firouzja who got his desired draw to advance, and Parham Maghsoodloo who won one of the most exciting games of the day against Russia’s Maksim Chigaev to make 2-0.
From the longest we go to one of the shortest games of the day. Much earlier, after starting with a draw, Peter Svidler of Russia had won an attractive miniature against 19-year-old Cuban GM Carlos Daniel Albornoz.
It was not without any hiccups, because after the game people told him that 11.Nc3 is preferred these days over what he played. “It probably is advisable to know some openings,” Svidler said. He called Black’s 13…f5 a “very large present” after which he proved himself to be the strongest calculator of the two.
Svidler with GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko going through his game.
In another example of a strong GM outcalculating his opponent, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov used different knight forks to beat 20-year-old IM Fy Antenaina Rakotomaharo of Madagascar.
FIDE World Cup | Round 1 results
|12||GM||Yu Yangyi||–||117||GM||Ghaem Maghami||1-0||0-1||.|
|24||GM||Bu Xiangzhi||–||105||GM||Xu Xiangyu||½-½||½-½||.|
The FIDE World Cup takes place Sept. 9-Oct 4 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. Each round consists of two classical games and a tiebreak on the third day. The final consists of four classical games. Both finalists will qualify for the 2020 Candidates’ Tournament. The total prize fund is $1.6 million (1.45 million euros). Sept. 19 and 29 are rest days. You can find more background info in our preview article.