2015 World Chess Cup: Round #2

2015 World Chess Cup
September 10th-October 4th, 2015 (Baku, Azerbaijan)
Match Scores (Round #2)
Bracket 1
1 Topalov, V
BUL
1½-½
Zhigalko, S
BLR
2 Wang Hao
CHN
½-1½
Lu Shanglei
CHN
3 Radjabov, T
AZE
3-1
Smirin, I
ISR
4 Nisipeanu, L
ROM
1½-2½
Svidler, P
RUS
Bracket 2
5 Aronian, L
ARM
1-3
Areshchenko, A
UKR
6 Vovk, Y
UKR
3½-4½
Wei Yi
CHN
7 Navara, D
CZE
½-1½
Guseinov, G
AZE
8 Inarkiev, E
RUS
½-1½
Ding Liren
CHN
Bracket 3
9 So, W
USA
2-0
Balogh, C
HUN
10 Le Quang Liem
VIE
2½-1½
Vitiugov, N
RUS
11 Vachier-Lagrave, M
FRA
1½-½
Sarigissian, G
ARM
12 Nguyen Ngoc Truongson
VIE
2½-3½
Tomashevsky, E
RUS
Bracket 4
13 Villagra, C
CHI
0-2
Granda, J
PER
14 Armentiev, V
RUS
½-1½
Wojaszek, R
POL
15 Leko, P
HUN
1½-½
Wen Yang
CHN
16 Motylev, A
RUS 1-3 Giri, A
NED
Bracket 5
17 Caruana, F
USA
1½-½
Mamedov, R
AZE
18 Kovalyov, A
CAN
1½-½
Mareco, S
ARG
19 Mamedyarov, S
AZE
2½-1½
Hou Yifan
CHN
20 Sethuraman, SP
IND 1½-½ Harikrishna, P
IND
Bracket 6
21 Karjakin, S
RUS
4-2
Onischuk, A
USA
22 Lysyj, I
RUS
2½-3½
Yu Yangyi
CHN
23 Andreikin, D
RUS
1½-½
Korobov, A
UKR
24 Bruzon, L
CUB
½-1½
Kramnik, V
RUS
Bracket 7
25 Grischuk, A
RUS
3½-2½
Fedoseev, V
RUS
26 Ipatov, A
TUR
0-2
Eljanov, P
UKR
27 Ivanchuk, Vassily
UKR
1½-½
Rodshtein, M
ISR
28 Amin, B
EGY
1½-2½
Jakovenko, D
RUS
Bracket 8
29 Adams, M
ENG
5-4
Laznicka, V
CZE
30 Melkumyan, H
ARM
½-1½
Dominguez, L
CUB
31 Fressinet, L
FRA
3½-4½
Nepomniachtchi, I
RUS
32 Shankland, S
USA
1½-2½
Nakamura, H
USA
Drum Coverage
| Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 | Round 5 |
| Semifinals | Finals |

Official Website: https://www.bakuworldcup2015.com/
All PGN Games (TWIC): https://www.theweekinchess.com/
Rules and Regulations: https://www.fide.com/FIDE/handbook/WorldCup2015Regulations.pdf

8 Comments

  1. Round #2 – Game #1
    Monday, 14 September 2015

    Great Wall of China continues!

    Ding Liren is leading a strong Chinese effort.

    If it was not clear that the Chinese are coming after Olympiad gold, then nothing else will prove it. I wrote several articles about this pending stampede starting back in 2001. The Chinese national team won their first Olympiad gold without three 2700 players and Wei Yi playing alternate! After the Chinese women had dominated the Olympiad for more than a decade. Now Chinese boast seven players over 2700, the strongest woman, several talented juniors including the last two junior champions and the youngest Grandmaster. Can you spell “dynasty”?

    In this position after 29…Ne7, Ding uncorked 30.Bc2! Qxc2 31.Nd3 closing the line and forcing black to donate his queen after 31…Kg8 32. Qxh7+ Kf7 33. Ne5+ Ke6 34. Qxc2.

    Today was a good day for the Chinese as Ding Liren, Wei Yi and Lu Shanglei won. Only Wang Hao lost… to Lu Shanglei! Ding Liren uncorked a combination that will make all the instructional books on tactics. In this position on the right, Ding got a novel combination with a deflection sacrifice and then a “line closer”. Instructive and unusual finish!

    Lu Shanglei beat his compatriot Wang Hao in a slashing attack after closing the kingside and pouncing with 22.b5! It was too late for black to close off the queenside after 22…c5 23. a5 Qd6 24. a6 b6 25. Bg2! exploiting the h1-a8 diagonal. After 25…Bxe3 26.Qf3! black would be forced to trade queens with a position in total shambles.

    The third Chinese to win was junior sensation Wei Yi who dismantled Yuri Vovk’s French. The game went along the lines of the Vovk-Robson game, but Wei found improvements. White’s attack appeared a bit crude with Nh5, Qg3 battery, but 19.Bb5! revealed the true strength of white’s plan. Wei Yi eventually pried open the kingside and launched with the beautiful retreat and attack move of 37.Nd4-f3! clearing the line for 38.Be3-d4. These Chinese are good!

    Two decisive games…
    Caruana beat Mamedov and Onischuk took down Karjakin.

    The Cubans has also improved on the strength of their dynamic duo. Leinier Dominguez rebounded nicely for his abysmal match against Federick Ponsa. The Cuban ace powered to an impressive victory against the Berlin Defense. Unfortunately, his compatriot Lazaro Bruzon had a heart-breaking loss against Vladimir Kramnik.

    In this position, after 115.Ra7+, black can still draw. What should he play, 115…Kb8 or 115…Kc8?

    Battling with his lone rook against the Russian’s bishop and rook, Bruzon had seemingly found the defense. However, the defending side has to remain alert not to fall into a mating net. Bruzon accomplished that until a moment of inattention allowed Kramnik to snatch the full point. After 115.Ra7+ (diagram left), the Cuban maestro erred with 115…Kb8?? allowed a mating net after 116.Kc6 Rh3 117.Ra1! Now black faces mortality with the devastating 118.Bd6+. Bruzon resigned and stared into space after the game. He was only 10 moves away from claiming the 50-move draw rule.

    There were some short, anti-competitive draws including Zhigalko-Topalov 1. e4 c5 2. c3 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. d4 Nf6 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. dxc5 Qxc5 7. h3 Bh5 8. Na3 a6 9. Be3 Qc7 10. Qa4+ Nbd7 11. Bf4 1/2-1/2 and Radjabov-Smirin 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e6 3. e4 d5 4. e5 d4 5. exf6 dxc3 6. bxc3 Qxf6 7. Nf3 Nc6 8. Bd3 Ne5 9. Be4 Nxf3+ 10. Qxf3 Qxf3 11. Bxf3 Rb8 12. a4 1/2-1/2. Not very edifying. Perhaps many are conserving energy to go for the faster time controls.

    Wesley So, Fabiano Caruana and Alexander Onischuk won their games for the North American contingent while Julio Granda won for the South American region. Good day for the Americans!

    SELECTED PHOTOS

    What’s Hikaru Nakamura thinking? His opponent Sam Shankland lurks in the background.

    GM Veselin Topalov took the day off.
    Photos by Eteri Kublashvili (for FIDE).

    Replay of Round #2, Game #1

  2. Round #2 – Game #2
    Tuesday, 15 September 2015

    Topalov, Caruana, Kramnik, MVL through…
    several big guns go to tiebreaks.

    Wesley So has won all of his games thus far. Perhaps he has returned to his excellent form.

    Apart from a couple of big names like Boris Gelfand and Rustam Kasimdzhanov, the brackets have gone as expected. Veselin Topalov punched his ticket to the third round with a clean win ending in a textbook rook ending. The Bulgarian had to arrive at the Lucena position and “build the bridge” but it was always completely winning. Wesley So, Pavel Eljanov and Julio Granda win both of their games handily to advance. Other players such as Vladimir Kramnik, Fabiano Caruana, Vassily Ivanchuk and Leinier Dominguez drew out their matches to advance.

    Chinese Ding Liren and Lu Shanglei also drew to advance to the third round with the latter result being considered an “upset”. However, Lu seems to have a lot of confidence at this point and shows how deep the talent pool is in China. In fact Wang Hao, a former #1 player, may be fighting to make the Olympiad team next year. Along with Li Chao and Bu Xiangzhi, he was one of the three 2700s missing from last year’s gold medal team. The young talent keeps coming!

    There will be a total of 15 tiebreak matches tomorrow with some heavyweights trying to advance in the rapid segment. There are certainly upsets bound to happen as players battle in the quickened format. There are some key matches and those who finish their matches already are rewarded with some exciting chess and a rest day. Wesley So of the USA is the only player to have won all four games that he played.

    SELECTED PHOTOS

    Vladimir Kramnik had a vision to defend his title! So far, so good.

    Does this look like confidence to you? Lu Shanglei closed the deal.

    The Grand Chess Tour participants Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Anish Giri,
    Fabiano Caruana and Veselin Topalov talking before the round.
    Photos by Eteri Kublashvili (for FIDE).

    Replay of Round #2, Game #2

  3. Round #2 – Tiebreaks
    Wednesday, 16 September 2015

    32 players, 16 nations remaining! Aronian out.

    A sad ending for the normally cherubic Levon Aronian. After having held the #2 position for many years, he seems to have lost his way. Photos by Eteri Kublashvili (for FIDE).

    The second round is complete. After tense tiebreaks with blunders, swindles and missed opportunities, most of the favorites went through. Levon Aronian, who is not only a rating favorite, but also a favorite of many fans, exited the tournament after losing to Alexander Areshchenko. This would be the only major upset of a top player.

    The tiebreak games were all hotly-contested and Wilder-Laznicka match went to the Armageddon game. However, the most thrilling match award would have to go to Wei Yi versus Yuri Vovk encounter. The rapid games were relatively equal, but the 10’+10″ heated up. They repeated the a sharp line in the French, but in this case Wei Yi sacrificed an exchange for what seemed like adequate compensation. Perhaps there were better continuations missed, but as time pressure became a factor the Chinese prodigy began to falter and fell on the sword to a vicious counterattack. There were a couple of occasions when Wei Yi made a move with one second left on the clock.

    Video by Jan Gustafsson.

    In the second 10-minute encounter, Vovk played a very unambitious London System with the idea of securing a draw to advance, but quickly allowed black to equalize. Perhaps Vovk missed his chance after 23…Qg5?! 24.Rxf8? (24.h4!) Rxf8 when black’s attack is too strong. In time pressure, white collapsed after 25.Nb6?? Nxb6?? (25…Bxd4+) 26. cxb6 (26.h4! again) Nxc1 27. Rxc1 Bxd4 28.Bxa6? f4 29.exd4 f3 threatening mate and the rook. In the final chance for Vovk, he stayed with the French Defense, but Wei Yi played the Exchange Variation and held, but not before some scary moments. Wei Yi will face Areshschenko next!

    GM Emil Sutovsky seemed confused at various points in the tiebreak fast-moving games. In the Vitiugov-Le Quang Liem second rapid game, Sutovsky kept stating that Vitiugov was winning and that he was poised to advance when in fact black was fine.

    Nikita Vitiugov played 39.Qxg7+ in a wild position. Le Quang Liem held the position together and in the end, snared the point and the match.

    In the complicated position on the left, there are serious complications with the heavy pieces. Sutovsky became excited at 39.Qxg7+ when after Qxg7 40. Rxb7+ Ke6 (40…Kf8 loses) 41. Rxg7 Rh2+ 42. Kg3 Rxf3+ 43. Kxf3 Rxb2 when black is better. The Vietnamese player ultimately picked off all of white’s weak pawns and took the match.

    Nguyen-Tomashevsky was also a thrilling encounter as the knight ending was filled with thrills and spills as the Vietnamese player held on despite the Russian misses several winning opportunities.

    Hikaru Nakamura defeated his compatriot Samuel Shankland.
    Photo by Paul Truong.

    In Nakamura-Shankland, there was a bit of inspiration after the world’s #3 player won a technical rook ending in the rapid tiebreak match. It’s always very tough to face a friend or teammate in a knockout competition. Nakamura’s reflective Facebook post.

    Michael Adams, at age 43, continues to plod on after a tense victory over Laznicka in the Armageddon match. He is the elder statesman in the tournament and showed his blitz experience in the final game. Onto round three!

    Replay of Round #2, Tiebreaks

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