The opening round of the 2009 World Cup had few surprises, but it is clear that the balance of power is shifting. Certainly the Russians still have the most numbers, but there are some rising powers such as Azerbaijan (European Champion) and China that will send players deep into the tournament. China Yu Yangyi upset Slovakia’s Sergei Movesesian and is maintaining the momentum from the World Junior in which he placed 7th.
Most of the higher-seeded players won their matches with top-seed Boris Gelfand dispatched off Russia’s Andrei Obodchuk 1½-½. Other notable players were sent packing includes Bu Xiangzhi (by Pelletier) and Alexandra Kosteniuk (by Mamedyarov). All six Egyptians had early exits as well. The U.S. only pushed three players to the second round out of 10.