2015 World Chess Cup: Semifinals

2015 World Chess Cup
September 10th-October 4th, 2015 (Baku, Azerbaijan)
Match Scores (SEMIFINALS)
1 Svidler, P
Giri, A
2 Karjakin, S
Eljanov, P
Drum Coverage
| Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 | Round 5 |
| Semifinals | Finals |

Who will advance and compete for the World Cup title?

After the rest day, we move on to the semifinals of the 2015 World Cup with four familiar players. These two mini-matches are important especially for the winners because they will then qualify for the Candidates tournament in March. Pavel Eljanov has played solidly thus far and has not suffered a single loss in his matches. On the other hand, he has the ever-solid Sergey Karjakin to overcome. In the Svidler-Giri match, it will be the old guard vs. the new guard. Will Svidler earn his second trip to the finals? Will Giri break through? Giri could qualify on rating, but there is no sense in taking chances. Should be exciting!

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


  1. Semifinals – Game #1
    Sunday, 27 September 2015

    Svidler breaks out on top!

    With only two matches remaining,
    the World Cup has calmed considerably from its frenetic pace.
    Photo by FIDE.

    Peter Svidler broke out on top when Anish Giri mis-evaluated a complicated Ruy Lopez. After Giri’s 32.g5? hxg5 33.Ne3 Rxa2 it is unclear what the follow-up plan was. White was simply two pawns down with no semblance of an attack. The game ended at time control when Giri tried for 37. Nh6+ Kg7 38. Nf5+ Kg8 39. Nh6+ Kg7 40. Nf5+. After Giri made time control, the Russian responded 40…gxf5, but after 41. Qh5 Ng6, white had nothing on the h-file and conceded. It was a disappointing loss for Giri who is forced to win tomorrow to force a tiebreak.

    Pavel Eljanov has clearly been the best player in Baku and his form continued against Sergey Karjakin. In this first game, he may have missed an opportunity to break out ahead 1-0 in the match after winning a pawn and pressing for the win. On 62. a6 Ne5 63. Rxf6+ (63.a7 Nxc6 64.a8(Q) Rxb6=) 63…Kxf6 64. Nd5+ Ke6 65. Nxb4 Nd7 66. Nd3 Kd6 67. a7. White rushed to attack the pawns, but black was in time to liquidate and force a draw.

    Peter Svidler analyzing his game versus Anish Giri

    Video by chess24.com.

  2. Semifinals – Game #2
    Monday, 28 September 2015

    Svidler qualifies for Candidates… Karjakin-Eljanov fizzles…
    Karjakin seems shaky.

    Karjakin needs to get his at together fast!
    Photo by FIDE.

    Peter Svidler advanced when Anish Giri could not break his fortress. Giri decided on a main line Caro Kann where Svidler tried 6.Nh3!? Nf6 7. Nf4 e5 8. dxe5 Qa5+ 9. c3 Qxe5+ This didn’t yield any advantage after 10. Qe2, but in the post-game press conference, Svidler had doubts during the game. He was concerned about shuffling his pieces in a passive manner, but his position was extremely solid. Instead of Giri playing another 100 moves, he acquiesced to a draw.

    Pavel Eljanov and Sergey Karjakin had a 14-move draw. What an you say about such a game?

    Let’s hope things pick up.

    Replay of Semifinals

    Video by chess24.com.

  3. Semifinals – Tiebreaks
    Tuesday, 29 September 2015

    Karjakin joins Svidler for Russian derby final!

    Karjakin checking his three-fold repetition claim.

    Sergey Karjakin upended Pavel Eljanov after coming back from a 1-0 deficit in the rapid. Eljanov had broken ahead after some missteps by Karjakin. After the greedy 25…Qxa4 the black queen became overloaded and eventually had to cede material. After that it was a smooth win. In the second rapid, perhaps Eljanov took a risk in playing sharply. His strategy almost worked, but he got a cramped position.

    It didn’t appear that the Ukrainian was playing to draw out his old compatriot, but instead tried to seize a queenside initiative. However, white was able to maintain composure and had more activity with an open file and a nice bishop. Meanwhile black was pinned down to the defense of a weak pawn. Unfortunately, black had weaknesses on both flanks. At this point, white’s rook dominated, mopped up the kingside and the score was level.

    In the first blitz, white was in control of the game, but overlooked a bishop shot after 42.h4 Bf6! This attacked a pawn, but also created a deadly threat… which Eljanov missed. After 43.h5? Bh4! white was suddenly in trouble and black began picking off pawns with the fleet-footed queen. Eventually white had no blockade and no perpetual check. Four pawns down, Eljanov resigned. The second blitz game was a type of Dzindzi-Indian (named for GM Roman Dzindzihashvili) where black gives up the strong bishop to cripple white’s pawn structure. It worked like a charm!

    Eljanov unfurled the Dzindzi-Indian (diagram #1) and got the type of position he wanted. After black applied pressure, white’s position crumbled and pawns started dropping. After 52…Kxg6 (diagram #2) there are many ways to win. Eljanov could not find a way.

    Black dominated the middlegame with a tremendous grip and an x-ray on white’s weaknesses. Soon white’s position was crumbling and black started picking off pawn after pawn until he was three pawns up!! Amazingly, it would not be enough. How does black NOT win this game?? Somehow black botched it as his time began to whittle away. Three pawns ups turned into three pawns up with opposite colored bishops.

    Then black dropped a pawn, shuffled his king around and allowed white to establish a blockade. In the interim, the position repeated three times and Karjakin claimed a three-fold repetition!

    Arbiters conferring with the players.

    After the arbiter intervened, they replayed the entire game, checked the position in question and confirmed the claim. Disappointing end for Eljanov who worked hard to get a chance to extend the match. It was not to be! Karjakin will face Peter Svidler who was commenting on the games and was still analyzing the position when the claim was upheld. The all-Russian final assures two spots in the candidates tournament for the Russians.

    Replay of Semifinals (Tiebreaks)

    Video by chess24.com.

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