2015 World Chess Cup: Round #3

2015 World Chess Cup
September 10th-October 4th, 2015 (Baku, Azerbaijan)
Match Scores (Round #3)
Bracket 1
1 Topalov, V
Lu Shanglei
2 Radjabov, T
Svidler, P
Bracket 2
3 Areshchenko, A
Wei Yi
4 Guseinov, G
Ding Liren
Bracket 3
5 So, W
Le Quang Liem
6 Vachier-Lagrave, M
Tomashevsky, E
Bracket 4
7 Granda, J
Wojaszek, R
8 Leko, P
Giri, A
Bracket 5
9 Caruana, F
Kovalyov, A
10 Mamedyarov, S
Sethuraman, SP
Bracket 6
11 Karjakin, S
Yu Yangyi
12 Andreikin, D
Kramnik, V
Bracket 7
13 Grischuk, A
Eljanov, P
14 Ivanchuk, Vassily
Jakovenko, D
Bracket 8
15 Adams, M
Dominguez, L
16 Nepomniachtchi, I
Nakamura, H
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


  1. Round #3 – Game #1
    Thursday, 17 September 2015

    75% of games drawn… Grischuk on the brink of elimination!

    Sasha Grischuk had a rough day today.

    Alexander Grischuk has been inconsistent in the last year. Less than a year ago, he had reached a career-high Elo of 2810 and #3 in the world. However, after lackluster results followed in the FIDE Grand Prix series, a winless World Team Championship and poor results in both Grand Chess Tour events, he is sitting on a “live” rating of 2757. Losing to Pavel Eljanov is nothing to be ashamed of, but the Russian actually missed a clear win after his perpetual zeitnot problems haunted him again.

    It is easy to point out where someone missed a win and 100% of the time if you gave this position to Grischuk as a puzzle, he would see the winning move in half a second. However, when the clock is ticking loudly, nerves make the mind miss easy wins and even a mate-in-one (see Santosh-Bruzon game). In the position on the right, Grischuk was in severe time pressure in a tense struggle. The a-pawn commands black’s attention, so he must deliver a checkmate if he decides to remove the blockade. After Eljanov’s 37…Rg6, Grischuk played 38.Kh4? (38.a7!+-) Qb4? 39.Kh3? (39.Qf5!+-) and Eljanov played 39…Rg5 but still had no more than a draw. After 52.Ra5 white has a fortress draw, but moves later executed a self-mate problem with 55.Kd4?? Qd5+ 56.Ke3 Ke5… mate next move.

    With three players remaining for USA, Fabiano Caruana was the first to get on the board with a smooth with over an overmatched Anton Kovalyov. While this game lasted 61 moves, Caruana held a positional grip for most of the game until he decided the time was right to seize the initiative with the f4 idea. However, Kovalyov decided to go first, but 42…f5 immediately exploded in his face. Caruana temporarily sacked the exchange for a pawn, won it back and pocketed the pawn. Black’s position in total shambles and it turned into a rout.

    Sergey Karjkin has been in good form,
    but formidable figures lurk in his shadows.

    Sergey Karjakin seems to be on form. In yet another Sicilian, the Russian faced a Tamainov in a very unorthodox way with 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Nf6 6. Nxc6 bxc6 7. e5 Nd5 8. Ne4 Qc7 9. f4 Qb6 10. c4 Bb4+ 11. Ke2. What??? Is this Wilhelm Steinitz? Nevertheless, Karjakin was all over Yu Yangyi and ended up with a growing positional advantage. He kept slowly squeezing his prey like a boa constrictor, then hit with the killer blow 38.Rxd7! It ended the matter.

    While 75% of the games were drawn, there were few short ones, but there were several interesting encounters. Check on So-Le, Radjabov-Svidler and Topalov-Lu. In the latter game, Topalov had arrived at a completely winning position, but the Chinese player slipped away. After Lu played 30…Nf3, he peered at Topalov as he thought. He must’ve had a feeling the Bulgarian was losing his way. If you want a nice laugh, got over the Granda-Wojtaszek game!


    Who ordered these? 🙂

    Wei Yi lost to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in 2013 World Chess Cup.
    He’s the favorite to advance this time.

    Lu Shanglei trying to be the coolest player amongst the 32.
    Photos by Eteri Kublashvili (for FIDE).

    Replay of Round #3, Game #1

  2. Round #3 – Game #2
    Friday, 18 September 2015

    Eljanov crushes Grischuk… seven exciting tiebreaks on tap!

    The Ukraine’s Pavel Eljanov is on 6/6 in three matches!

    Pavel Eljanov showed why you have to be in top condition in these knockout tournaments. Apparently, Alexander Grischuk is still suffering from bouts of time pressure and is having problems with consistent results. In today’s game, Grischuk had to win in order to stay alive and chose a very solid and flexible hedgehog setup. This defense allows black to adapt to white’s intentions and rely on a powerful counterattack with a timely pawn thrust.

    Grischuk is totally paralyzed after 40.c6. Dreadful showing by the Russian.

    It appeared that 24…e5 was a mistake as it rendered black’s a8-bishop impotent after 25.d5 and later 40.c6 (diagram right). That bishop never moved again after 18…Ba8. Ultimately ALL of black’s pieces got pushed back and there was no possible counterplay. Meanwhile white froze the queenside and quickly opened up an attack on the kingside and black was defenseless to stop it. Grischuk went out with a whimper (see game here).

    Two Chinese on a collision course won their games and are poised to face each other in round four. Unfortunately, both are close friends and in the latest New in Chess, Ding Liren talked about his relationship with Wei Yi and says he is the best hope to bring the World Championship to China. Wei Yi showed excellent form today in a clinching victory over Alexander Areschchenko.

    Hopefully, Areschchenko likes Chinese food because he got some home cooking from Wei Yi. His 19.Nxe6! was a powerful blow.

    The Ukrainian ventured into a main line Sicilian Poisoned Pawn variation wherein the Chinese prodigy had ideas of his own. First, on 15…Nd7, white eschewed 16.Kh1 ignoring the danger on the a7-g1 diagonal and played 16.Rbd1!? instead. After 16…h3 17.g3 Bb4 18.Qe3!?, black decided to allow 18…Bxc3 19. Nxe6! After the way Wei Yi brilliantly defeated Lazaro Bruzon a couple of months ago it is unfathomable why Areschchenko allowed this. Actually, the scary 19…fxe6 was actually the best try, but after 19…Qe5 20.Nc7+ white won the exchange and played forcefully to convert a nice win. Wei Yi will advance to play his compatriot Ding Liren in a Chinese derby.

    In Ding-Guseinov, it is not certain whether black’s queenside play was a new idea, but he got absolutely nothing for the sacrificed pawn. Ding simply collected the pawn and said, “xie-xie”. The rest of the game was a brutal dissection where black was flailing away at white targets, but had to keep an eye on the d-pawn sprinting up the board. White ended nicely with 41.Nc7! deflection since 41…Nd8 loses to 42.Ne8+ winning a piece. Of course, 41…Nxd7 there is the intermezzo of 42.Nxe6+ and then 43.Nxd7 also netting a piece.

    In Jakovenko-Ivanchuk, the Ukrainian veteran sacrificed his queen for what turned out to be dubious compensation. Black did have two rooks for the queen, but pieces were a bit stifled and the white queen was running amok causing all kinds of devastation. There was some surprise that Ivanchuk resigned so abruptly.

    Poland’s Radoslaw Wojtazek ended the run of Julio Granda Zuniga of Peru. Black had a very solid position and perhaps could have held a draw even after white launched a vicious attack. The move 14…g6 certainly did not help secure the kingside and the weakness would soon be felt.

    After 18. h4 h5 19. Ne5 Be8 20. Qf3 Bf8 21. g4 hxg4 22. Nxg4 Bg7 23.h5. This was the key position. Unfortunately, Granda ran low on time trying to figure out the complications. After 23. h5 gxh5 24. Ne5 Nf6 white kept coming with 25. f5 but black was holding. Jon Ludwig Hammer pointed out that after 25…Rxd4, Wojtazek played 26. Rxd4?! and missed 26.fxe6!

    The point is that 26…Rg4+ is met by 27.Qxg4! hxg4 28.exf7+ with a minor piece mate after 28…Bxf7 29.Bxf7+ Kh8 (or 29…Kf8) 30.Ng6 MATE! Instead of defense, Granda tried to complicate matters with 31…Qe2? Finally, 33…Qb1+? instead of 33…Qc1+ ended resistance after 34. Kg2 c5 35. Rxf5. No mas!

    Julio Granda, whose fascinating story is well-known,
    will always be hailed as a hero.

    Sergey Karjakin advanced after beating Yu Yangyi in a dominant performance. In the final position, he was indeed much better, but offered the draw and took the match. It is good to save energy for the tough matches ahead. TWIC’s Mark Crowther made an observation that Karjakin is becoming adept at beating Chinese players. At quick look would show that this is correct. In the China-Russia match, Karjakin had a huge score beating Wei Yi, Ding Liren, Ni Hua and beating Yu Yangyi in the final.

    Shakhriyar Mamedyarov has already advanced. He is hoping Teimour Radjabov will join him.

    There were some short draws, but there were some interesting encounter such as Kramnik-Andreikin and Tomashevsky-MVL… both ending in minor piece endings. Lu-Topalov was another strange game starting out with 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. c3!? d5 4. Bb5 dxe4 5. Nxe5 Qd5 6. Qa4. Lu sacrificed a pawn and then an exchange, but it yielded nothing but equality as Topalov returned the material and they shook hands.

    Seven tiebreaks tomorrow with some big games. Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So both hope to join Caruana to potentially have three USA players in the final 16. Chinese could potentially have three. Russia has two players advancing with another five trying to advance. It will be a tough road however. Lu Shanglei could be a tricky opponent for Veselin Topalov. Be careful!


    Two legendary national heroes…
    Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) and Julio Granda Zuniga (Peru).

    Two former Webster University roommates battling…
    Wesley So and Le Quang Liem.
    Photos by Eteri Kublashvili (for FIDE).

    Replay of Round #3, Game #2

  3. LOL, Drummas check out nakas game he just played hes a funny dude! lol gotta lotta tricks! hehe, oh UM at the BUFFALO PUBLIC LIBRARY checkin out the top traditional guys, they something! lol

  4. Round #3 – Tiebreaks
    Saturday, 19 September 2015

    Favorites through….
    Nakamura wins Armageddon thriller…
    Nepomniachtchi files a complaint over two-handed castle!

    Hikaru Nakamura won a thrilling match, but was embroiled in a controversy concerning a FIDE rule.

    What was perhaps the most thrilling match of the entire tournament went down to an Armageddon game. Hikaru Nakamura had won the first 10-minute encounter against Ian Nepomniachtchi and was poised to win the second when he blundered horribly and lost. He then lost the first blitz 5-minute game, his second in a row and putting him at the brink of elimination.

    Nakamura could be seen after the game pacing the floor trying to collect his composure. Nepomniachtchi seemed posed to advance and join the other four Russians. In the second blitz game, Nakamura won a Sicilian Rossolimo in nice style and gave a fist-pump in celebration. This forced a final Armageddon game. Tension was already high. What ensued was an unlikely controversy.

    Nepomniachtchi would be playing white with 5:4 time advantage on the clock and needing a win to advance. The game started with 1.c4 and Nakamura trotted out the a King’s Indian. The game appeared to be level throughout until white gained a bit of space. Needing a win, Nakamura lashed out with 21…f5 and got his kingside rolling. Nepomniachtchi seemed to be defending, but then panicked and his position soon collapsed. Thus, Nepomniachtchi had just lost the Armageddon game with Nakamura thereby losing the match 5-4 and being eliminated.

    Ian Nepomniachtchi with arbiters after his heart-breaking loss. After being told of a rule infraction, he filed a protest that was later denied.

    Less than an hour after the match, there were tweets about a comment made by GM Sergey Shipov during the broadcast that Nakamura had violated rules by castling two-handed. After news circulated about this, Nepomniachtchi posted some angry tweets on his Twitter account. In these two tweets, he leveled blame on both Nakamura and the arbiters who failed to intervene.

    Then after this, he decided to file an appeal on the infraction.

    The apparent infraction of FIDE Article 4.1 occurred seconds into the game on Nakamura’s 5…0-0 where the American player used a two-handed method commonly seen in off-hand blitz games. There were a team of arbiters observing the game and there was no objection made. Nepomniachtchi also made no objection and continued the game normally despite seeing the move clearly. The game was highly intense and the infraction did not tragically decide the game when the result hung in the balance. After Nakamura’s 56…f2+, Nepomniachtchi extended his hand in resignation.

    While this story has unfolding, The Chess Drum was chatting with Nakamura who looked in the FIDE handbook and invoked Article 4.8 “The act of moving the pieces” which states,

    Article 4.8 – A player forfeits his right to claim against his opponent’s violation of Articles 4.1 – 4.7 once the player touches a piece with the intention of moving or capturing it. (See Article 4)

    Nakamura has not denied committing the infraction and most certainly would have agreed to any penalty during the game. However, once Nepomniachtchi took to Twitter, the situation became a bit more contentious. It may be Nakamura’s view that if Article 4.8 is in effect, then you forfeit a claim on Article 4.1. Certainly this has not been the first time this has occurred, but one wonders if the appeal will be granted since Nepomniachtchi signed the scoresheets before filing the appeal.

    It is hard to know what could be done after the result was completed. There is certainly no grounds for replaying the game. At most, there may have been a time addition for Nepomniachtchi which could have been crucial, but such a claim was not made. What will perhaps occur is that Nakamura will receive a warning from the arbiters before he plays Michael Adams tomorrow. (Update: Official Ruling was that Nepomniachtchi’s appeal was denied… https://www.bakuworldcup2015.com/news/8/141.)

    Vladimir Kramnik did not successfully defend his 2013 title.

    Peter Svidler eliminated local Azeri favorite, Teimour Radjabov. Only Shakhriyar Mamedyarov remains as the flag bearer for Azerbaijan. Four Russians are through.

    Vladimir Kramnik was the next pre-tournament favorite to be eliminated after he was impressively outplayed by his compatriot Dmitri Andreikin in the second rapid encounter. His compatriot Evgeny Tomshevsky was also eliminated after losing both 10-minute games by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Mixed day for the Russians. However, Peter Svidler upended Teimour Radjabov leaving only one Azeri player in the competition.

    Meanwhile Lu Shanglei was trying to join Ding Liren and Wei Yi, but he had to get past Veselin Topalov. Shanglei had a decent position, but then got hit by some tactics after 21…Rab8 22.c4 Nf6 23.Qe5! Black ended up losing the exchange by force and resigned on the spot. The second game was WILD!

    Shanglei played 1.Nc3!? which many found amusing, but he threw his pieces forward. In reality, there was no attack and black seized the initiative. After the queens came off, white complicated matters and as they went into a fierce time scramble, Shanglei’s R+N could not work magic over Topalov B+N and the Bulgarian would move on.

    Leinier Dominguez missed a chance in the first five-minute game.

    In Dominguez-Adams, the match will not win an award for the most exciting ever played, but Adams came from the dead after being in a totally lost position in the first five-minute blitz game. The Cuban had won the exchange and appeared poised to go up +1, but then his time was ticking dangerous low, reaching 0:01 a couple of times!! Adams came back won the exchange and the game. In the second game, Dominguez was never able to get anything going, played risky and dropped the second game.

    Round #4 Pairings


    Replay of Round #3, Tiebreaks

  5. Video Replay of Nepomniachtchi-Nakamura

    Video by chess.com

    If Ian Nepomniachtchi understood there was an infraction, WHY sign the scoresheet?? He probably did not realize the violation or he (1) would have said something after each infraction… when the arbiters did not act (2) he would have discussed it after the game with the arbiters (3) he would not have signed the scoresheet.

    After the game, Nepomniachtchi could be seen walking around just like anyone else who just lost a touch game, but he apparently said nothing to the arbiters about the violation. If he would have discussed it with the arbiters maybe he has the option of not signing the scoresheet if he wanted to wage a protest and appeal. Signing the scoresheet means you agree with the result. He signed it almost immediately after the game was over. It is an unfortunate incident. Here is the complaint that was posted on chess.com…

    To Appeals Committee

    During the tiebreaks blitz and “Armageddon,” my opponent has broken the basic chess rules. Several times he castled using both his hands (see art. 4.1 of the FIDE chess rules: Each move must be made with one hand only). He also touched his pieces many times, and made a move with different ones afterwards (also breaking a basic rule — if you touch, you move).

    I ask you to review the result of the tiebreak, e.g. my opponent gets a technical loss, and also a lesson of chess and human culture.


    Some of Nepomniachtchi’s comments in his appeal were frivolous and plain wrong. Even if Nakamura castled with both hands “several times,” at no point did he ever make this an issue. Each time that Nakamura allegedly committed a violation, he said nothing. He made accusations that Nakamura took back moves and committed touch violations on several occasions. The ones I saw were obvious adjustments of the same piece after it was moved to a square. If he saw all of these violations, why sit there and allow it? The player has to take some responsibility!

    He suggested for Nakamura, “technical loss, and lesson of chess and human culture.” Perhaps he is the one that needs a lesson… and he got it.

    Hearing with Appeals Committee
    (in Russian with some English)

    Video from chess-news.ru.

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