2017 World Chess Cup (Tblisi, Georgia)

Let the Games Begin!


Tbilisi Mayor Davit Narmania, First Deputy Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Akaki Lodia, Director of Organizing Committee of the 2018 World Chess Olympiad and President of European Chess Union Zurab Azmaiparashvili, President of Georgian Chess Federation Giorgi Giorgadze and Director of “Socar Georgia Petrolium” Levan Giorgadze spoke at press conference about the importance of the World Cup, the preparation and the participants of the tournament. Photo by Anastasia Kharlovich (fide.com)

All roads lead to Tbilisi in the Republic of Georgia for the 2017 World Cup, a qualifying event involving 128 players from around the world. The world’s top 16 will headline a field which include one notable inclusion. One shocking detail is that World Champion Magnus Carlsen is participating in the tournament for the right to challenge himself! What if Carlsen or challenger Sergey Karjakin (who has automatic qualification) make the final? There would be another match to clinch the second qualification spot. So why is Carlsen playing? He gives his answer to chess.com.


Video by chess.com/Peter Doggers

Those seeking to challenge Carlsen must win this spot if they haven’t already qualified through the Grand Prix series or by rating. Levon Aronian, who has had a sensational year needs one of the top two spots to qualify as does Hikaru Nakamura and Viswanathan Anand since they probably will not qualify via rating or via Grand Prix. Aronian told The Chess Drum after winning the recent St. Louis Rapid and Blitz that he did not feel any pressure to win, but “likes his chances.”


Former women’s world champion Hou Yifan is one of two women in the field. Photo by Anastasia Kharlovich (fide.com).

Out of the eight finalists to challenge Carlsen in the Candidates tournament, Fabiano Caruana and Vladimir Kramnik will most likely qualify through rating while Shahkriyar Mamedyarov and Alexander Grischuk will most likely qualify via Grand Prix. If any of these players make the finals, the spot will go to the next player. There is one wildcard nomination that could go to a deserving player.

As far as the rest of the field, there are many interesting figures from around the world. There are two women including three-time women’s world champion, Hou Yifan. Reigning women’s champion Tan Zhongyi declined her invitation. Each region of the world is represented, but there are some notable omissions such as Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria), Leinier Dominguez (Cuba), and Dmitri Jakovenko (Russia). The youngest player is 16-year old International Master from Australia, Anton Smirnov.

There was of course a drawing of lots resulting in Carlsen starting with the white pieces against Nigeria’s Oluwafemi Balogun (2255). Balogun called the pairing an “honor” and a “once in a lifetime chance” to play the World Champion in a tournament. There are brackets with all of the pairings here and there are also sites with “bracketology” contests. The tournament is now in full swing and at this writing round one has been completed.

Other Details

The total prize fund is $1,600,000 (about €1,400,000) and the winner and runner up will qualify to the 2018 Candidates tournament to determine who will compete in the World Cup. Each of the matches will comprise of two game matches, plus tiebreaks, if necessary. The last standing after the previous rounds will enter a seventh round of four games, plus tiebreaks if necessary. Players receive 90 minutes for the first 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game plus 30 seconds per move starting from move one.

Opening Ceremony


Video by Sagar Shah (ChessBase India)


Photos by Anastasia Kharlovich (fide.org).

Official Website: https://tbilisi2017.fide.com/
All PGN Games (TWIC): https://www.theweekinchess.com/
Rules and Regulations: https://tbilisi2017.fide.com/regulations/

39 Comments

  1. PARTICIPANTS of the WORLD CUP 2017

    1. GM Magnus Carlsen (NOR), 2822 (World Champion)
    2. GM Wesley So (USA), 2810 (R)
    3. GM Fabiano Caruana (USA), 2807 (R)
    4. GM Vladimir Kramnik (RUS), 2803 (R)
    5. GM Levon Aronian (ARM), 2799 (R)
    6. GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE), 2797 (R)
    7. GM Hikaru Nakamura (USA), 2792 (R)
    8. GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA), 2789 (R)
    9. GM Alexander Grischuk (RUS), 2783 (R)
    10. GM Viswanathan Anand (IND), 2783 (R)
    11. GM Ding Liren (CHN), 2777 (R)
    12. GM Sergey Karjakin (RUS), 2773 (WC)
    13. GM Anish Giri (NED), 2772 (WC)
    14. GM Wei Yi (CHN), 2753 (AS16)
    15. GM Ian Nepomniachtchi (RUS), 2751 (R)
    16. GM Peter Svidler (RUS), 2751 (WC)
    17. GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek, (POL), 2745 (E16)
    18. GM Yu Yangyi, (CHN), 2744 (R)
    19. GM Li Chao, (CHN), 2744 (R)
    20. GM Pentala Harikrishna, (IND), 2743 (R)
    21. GM Teimour Radjabov, (AZE), 2742 (ON)
    22. GM Le Quang Liem, (VIE), 2739 (AS16)
    23. GM Michael Adams, (ENG), 2738 (R)
    24. GM David Navara, (CZE), 2737 (E16)
    25. GM Pavel Eljanov, (UKR), 2734 (WC)
    26. GM Vladimir Fedoseev, (RUS), 2731 (E17)
    27. GM Boris Gelfand, (ISR), 2729 (R)
    28. GM Vassily Ivanchuk, (UKR), 2728 (ACP)
    29. GM Maxim Matlakov,(RUS), 2728 (E17)
    30. GM Nikita Vitiugov, (RUS), 2724 (E16)
    31. GM Francisco Vallejo Pons, GM (ESP), 2717 (E16)
    32. GM Etienne Bacrot, (FRA), 2715 (E17)
    33. GM Bu Xiangzhi, (CHN), 2710 (AS17)
    34. GM Evgeny Tomashevsky, (RUS), 2710 (R)
    35. GM Evgeniy Najer, (RUS), 2707 (E16)
    36. GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda, (POL), 2707 (E17)
    37. GM Dmitry Andreikin, (RUS), 2706 (R)
    38. GM Wang Hao, (CHN), 2702 (AS17)
    39. GM Ernesto Inarkiev, (RUS), 2702 (E16)
    40. GM David Howell, (ENG), 2702 (E17)
    41. GM Ivan Cheparinov, (BUL), 2696 (E16)
    42. GM Maxim Rodshtein, (ISR), 2695 (E17)
    43. GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi, (IND), 2693 (AS17)
    44. GM Vladislav Artemiev, (RUS), 2692 (E17)
    45. GM Ruslan Ponomariov, (UKR), 2692 (PN)
    46. GM Liviu Dieter Nisipeanu, (GER), 2687 (E16)
    47. GM Baadur Jobava, (GEO), 2687 (E16)
    48. GM Alexander Onischuk, (USA), 2682 (Z2.1)
    49. GM Bassem Amin, (EGY), 2680 (AF)
    50. GM Baskaran Adhiban, (IND), 2677 (PN)
    51. GM Alexander Motylev, (RUS), 2675 (E17)
    52. GM Richárd Rapport, (HUN), 2675 (R)
    53. GM Daniil Dubov, (RUS), 2666 (E16)
    54. GM Martyn Kravtsiv, (UKR), 2665 (E17)
    55. GM Varuzhan Akobian, (USA), 2662 (Z2.1)
    56. GM Gawain Jones, (ENG), 2660 (E17)
    57. GM Boris Grachev, (RUS), 2654 (E17)
    58. GM David Anton Guijarro, (ESP), 2654 (E16)
    59. GM Yuriy Kuzubov, (UKR), 2652 (E17)
    60. GM Hou Yifan, (CHN), 2652 (PN)
    61. GM Alexander Areshchenko, (UKR), 2652 (E17)
    62. GM Laurent Fressinet, (FRA), 2650 (E16)
    63. GM Sandro Mareco, (ARG), 2650 (Z2.5)
    64. GM Aleksey Dreev, (RUS), 2648 (E16)
    65. GM Axel Bachmann, (PAR), 2648 (AM17)
    66. GM Luka Leni?, (SLO), 2646 (E17)
    67. GM Matthias Blübaum, (GER), 2646 (E17)
    68. GM Anton Demchenko, (RUS), 2645 (E16)
    69. GM Kacper Piorun, (POL), 2644 (E16)
    70. GM Sergei Zhigalko, (BLR), 2644 (E16)
    71. GM Lázaro Bruzón, (CUB), 2643 (AM17)
    72. GM Hrant Melkumyan, (ARM), 2642 (E17)
    73. GM Jorge Cori, (PER), 2641 (Z2.4)
    74. GM Anton Kovalyov, (CAN), 2641 (AM16)
    75. GM Igor Kovalenko, (LAT), 2640 (E16)
    76. GM Daniel Fridman, (GER), 2640 (E17)
    77. GM Jeffery Xiong, (USA), 2633 (J16)
    78. GM Emilio Córdova, (PER), 2629 (AM16)
    79. GM Nguy?n Ng?c Tr??ng S?n, (VIE), 2629 (Z3.3)
    80. GM Viktor Erd?s, (HUN), 2628 (E17)
    81. GM Yaroslav Zherebukh, (USA), 2627 (Z2.1)
    82. GM Ivan Salgado Lopez, (ESP), 2627 (E16)
    83. GM Samuel Sevian, (USA), 2620 (AM17)
    84. GM S.P. Sethuraman, (IND), 2618 (AS16)
    85. GM Benjamin Bok, (NED), 2615 (E17)
    86. GM Neuris Delgado Ramirez, (PAR), 2614 (AM17)
    87. GM Robert Hovhannisyan, (ARM), 2606 (E16)
    88. GM Dimitrios Mastrovasilis, (GRE), 2596 (E17)
    89. GM Aryan Tari (NOR), 2591 (E16)
    90. GM Mikheil Mchedlishvili, (GEO), 2590 (ON)
    91. GM Deep Sengupta, (IND), 2589 (AS16)
    92. GM Aleksey Goganov, (RUS), 2586 (E16)
    93. GM Levan Pantsulaia, (GEO), 2585 (ON)
    94. GM Aleksej Aleksandrov, (BLR), 2580 (E17)
    95. GM Mikhail Antipov, (RUS), 2580 (J15)
    96. GM Diego Flores, GM (ARG), 2580 (AM16)
    97. GM Alexandr Fier, (BRA), 2579 (AM17)
    98. GM Murali Karthikeyan, GM (IND), 2579 (Z3.7)
    99. GM Kaido Kulaots, (EST), 2577 (PN)
    100. GM Murtas Kazhgaleyev, GM (KAZ), 2576 (AS16)
    101. GM Julio Sadorra (PHI), 2575 (AS17)
    102. GM Kirill Stupak (BLR), 2573 (E16)
    103. GM Yusnel Bacallao Alonso (CUB), 2573 (AM17)
    104. GM Aleksandr Lenderman (USA), 2565 (AM16)
    105. GM Jóhann Hjartarson (ISL), 2556 (N)
    106. GM Tsegmed Batchuluun (MGL), 2555 (AS17)
    107. GM Vitaly Kunin (GER), 2551 (E17)
    108. GM Helgi Dam Ziska (FRO), 2545 (PN)
    109. GM Yuri Gonzalez Vidal (CUB), 2543 (Z2.3)
    110. GM Leandro Krysa (ARG), 2537 (Z2.5)
    111. GM Amirreza Pourramezanali (IRI), 2533 (Z3.1)
    112. GM Felipe El Debs (BRA), 2531 (Z2.4)
    113. GM Jahongir Vakhidov (UZB), 2529 (Z3.4)
    114. GM Mladen Palac (CRO), 2525 (E16)
    115. GM Bator Sambuev (CAN), 2522 (Z2.2)
    116. GM Nana Dzagnidze, GM (GEO), 2519 (ON)
    117. IM Anton Smirnov (AUS), 2508 (Z3.6)
    118. GM Mohamed Haddouche (ALG), 2487 (Z4.1)
    119. IM Yeoh Li Tian (MAS), 2478 (Z3.3)
    120. GM Essam El-Gindy (EGY), 2455 (Z4.2)
    121. IM Muhammad Khusenkhojaev (TJK), 2455 (Z3.4)
    122. GM Abdullah Al-Rakib (BAN), 2454 (Z3.2)
    123. IM Liu Guanchu (CHN), 2451 (Z3.5)
    124. IM Daniel Cawdery (RSA), 2449 (AF)
    125. Dai Changren (CHN), 2427 (Z3.5)
    126. GM Kenny Solomon (RSA), 2398 (Z4.3)
    127. IM Joshua Daniel Ruiz Castillo (COL), 2377 (Z2.3)
    128. FM Oluwafemi Balogun (NGR), 2255 (Z4.4)

  2. 2017 World Chess Cup
    September 2nd-27th, 2017 (Tbilisi, Georgia)
    Match Scores (Round #1)
    Bracket 1
    1 Magnus Carlsen
    NOR
    2-0
    Oluwafemi Balogun
    NGR
    2 Aleksey Dreev
    RUS
    2-0
    Axel Bachmann
    PAR
    3 Étienne Bacrot
    FRA
    2½-1½
    Alexandr Fier
    BRA
    4 Bu Xiangzhi
    CHN
    2-0
    Diego Flores
    ARG
    5 Peter Svidler
    RUS
    2-0
    Jahongir Vakhidov
    UZB
    6 Bassem Amin
    EGY
    2½-3½
    Viktor Erdos
    HUN
    7 Radoslaw Wojtaszek
    POL
    1½-½
    Felipe El Debs
    BRA
    8 Alexander Onischuk
    USA
    2F-0F
    Yaroslav Zherebukh
    USA
    Bracket 2
    9 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
    FRA
    1½-½
    Muhammad Khusenkhojaev
    TJK
    10 Boris Grachev
    RUS
    2½-1½
    Hrant Melkumyan
    ARM
    11 Pavel Eljanov
    UKR
    0-2
    A. Lenderman
    USA
    12 David Howell
    ENG
    2½-3½
    Aryan Tari
    NOR
    13 Alexander Grischuk
    RUS
    2-0
    Essam El-Gindy
    EGY
    14 Gawain Jones
    ENG
    ½-1½
    Jorge Cori
    PER
    15 David Navara
    CZE
    2-0
    Jóhann Hjartarson
    ISL
    16 Ivan Cheparinov
    BUL
    1½-½
    Dimitrios Mastrovasilis
    GRE
    Bracket 3
    17 Vladimir Kramnik
    RUS
    1½-½
    Dai Changren
    CHN
    18 Alexander Areshchenko
    UKR
    2-4
    Anton Demchenko
    RUS
    19 Vassily Ivanchuk
    UKR
    3-1
    Murtas Kazhgaleyev
    KAZ
    20 Jan-Krzysztof Duda
    POL
    2-0
    Levan Pantsulaia
    GEO
    21 Anish Giri
    NED
    1½-½
    Nana Dzagnidze
    GEO
    22 Alexander Motylev
    RUS
    1½-½
    Jeffery Xiong
    USA
    23 Pentala Harikrishna
    IND
    3½-2½
    Yuri González Vidal
    CUB
    24 Ruslan Ponomariov
    UKR
    ½-1½
    S.P. Sethuraman
    IND
    Bracket 4
    25 Levon Aronian
    ARM
    2-0
    Daniel Cawdery
    RSA
    26 Hou Yifan
    CHN
    1½-½
    Kacper Piorun
    POL
    27 Maxim Matlakov
    RUS
    1½-½
    Julio Sadorra
    PHI
    28 Dmitry Andreikin
    RUS
    3-1
    Aleksey Goganov
    RUS
    29 Sergey Karjakin
    RUS
    3-1
    Anton Smirnov
    AUS
    30 Daniil Dubov
    RUS
    3½-2½
    Daniel Fridman
    RUS
    31 Teimour Radjabov
    AZE
    1½-½
    Helgi Dam Ziska
    FIN
    32 Vladislav Artemiev
    RUS
    2-0
    Benjamin Bok
    NED
    Bracket 5
    33 Wesley So
    USA
    1½-½
    Joshua Ruiz Castillo
    COL
    34 Sandro Mareco
    ARG
    3½-4½
    Matthias Blübaum
    GER
    35 Francisco Vallejo
    ESP
    2½-1½
    Murali Karthikeyan
    IND
    36 E. Tomashevsky
    RUS
    1½-½
    Mikhail Antipov
    IRI
    37 Ian Nepomniachtchi
    RUS
    3½-2½
    Mladen Palac
    CRO
    38 Baskaran Adhiban
    IND
    3½-2½
    Nguyen Ngoc Truongson
    VIE
    39 Yu Yangyi
    CHN
    1½-½
    A. Pourramezanali
    IRI
    40 Baadur Jobava
    GEO
    0-2
    Ivan Salgado López
    ESP
    Bracket 6
    41 Hikaru Nakamura
    USA
    2-0
    Abdullah Al-Rakib
    BAN
    42 David Guijarro
    ESP
    ½-1½
    Lázaro Bruzón
    CUB
    43 Vladimir Fedoseev
    RUS
    3-1
    Yusnel Bacallao Alonso
    CUB
    44 Ernesto Inarkiev
    RUS
    1½-½
    Mikheil Mchedlishvili
    GEO
    45 Viswanathan Anand
    IND
    1½-½
    Yeoh Li Tian
    MAS
    46 Varuzhan Akobian
    USA
    ½-1½
    Anton Kovalyov
    CAN
    47 Michael Adams
    ENG
    2½-1½
    Tsegmed Batchuluun
    MGL
    48 Maxim Rodshtein
    ISR
    0-2
    R. Hovhannisyan
    ARM
    Bracket 7
    49 Fabiano Caruana
    USA
    2-0
    Kenny Solomon
    RSA
    50 Laurent Fressinet
    FRA
    2-4
    Luka Lenic
    SLO
    51 Nikita Vitiugov
    RUS
    1½-½
    Kaido Kulaots
    EST
    52 Evgeniy Najer
    RUS
    1½-½
    Aleksej Aleksandrov
    BLR
    53 Wei Yi
    CHN
    1½-½
    Bator Sambuev
    CAN
    54 Richárd Rapport
    HUN
    2-0
    Emilio Córdova
    PER
    55 Li Chao
    CHN
    1½-½
    Leandro Krysa
    ARG
    56 Liviu Dieter Nisipeanu
    GER
    3-5
    Samuel Sevian
    USA
    Bracket 8
    57 S. Mamedyarov
    AZE
    1½-½
    Liu Guanchu
    CHN
    58 Yuriy Kuzubov
    UKR
    1½-½
    Sergei Zhigalko
    BLR
    59 Boris Gelfand
    ISR
    1½-½
    Kirill Stupak
    BLR
    60 Wang Hao
    CHN
    1½-½
    Deep Sengupta
    IND
    61 Ding Liren
    CHN
    1½-½
    Mohamed Haddouche
    ALG
    62 Martyn Kravtsiv
    UKR
    1½-½
    Igor Kovalenko
    LAT
    63 Lê Quang Liêm
    VIE
    1½-½
    Vitaly Kunin
    GER
    64 Vidit Gujrathi
    IND
    1½-½
    Neuris Delgado Ramírez
    PAR
    Drum Coverage
    | Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 | Round 5 |
    | Semifinals | Finals |

  3. Round #1 Recap

    September 3-5, 2017

    Most favorites through… Egypt’s Amin misses 2700 barrier


    GM Bassem Amin (Egypt)
    Photo by Anastasia Kharlovich (fide.com)

    For decades there has been the question of when the African continent would see a breakthrough. Bassem Amin has been the closest thing. After a couple of sterling wins in the African Championships and Lake Sevan, he headed to Tbilisi with the idea of becoming the first player from the African continent to break 2700. He dreams were dashed in a most crushing way. The fateful moment came after he was coasting to a win in the second game of the classical games.

    Rook endings are the most common type of ending as perhaps the most difficult to win in technical positions. For the weaker side there are all types of methods to save the game despite a material deficit. The game against Hungarian Viktor Erdos.

    Meanwhile on the top board sat the World Champion. Magnus Carlsen decided to play in the knock-out and drew white against his Nigerian opponent Oluwafemi Balogun. Before the match, Balogun spoke about the opportunity to play Carlsen.


    Video by Sagar Shah (ChessBase India)

    After Balogun’s beneficent comments, he put up a valiant fight and the games were competitive. While Carlsen was never in trouble, his play was uninspiring and there were rumblings about the 2255-rated player dragging the game into the fourth hour. Indeed, it seemed like the Nigerian was holding the first game until a positional error allowed Carlsen to crash through. GM Daniel King gives commentary on the first game.

    Video by Daniel King

    While Carlsen advanced other top names made an early exit such as Ukrainians Pavel Eljanov, Alexander Areschenko and Ruslan Ponomariov. Wei Yi had to come back from an opening loss to win in tiebreaks. American phenom Samuel Sevian upset Romanian Liviu Dieter Nisipeanu who is now representing Germany. Viswanathan Anand got a scare from Malaysian national champion IM Li Tian Yeoh and almost allowed the equalizer, but the champion held on for the draw and advanced.

    Official Website: https://tbilisi2017.fide.com/
    All PGN Games (TWIC): https://www.theweekinchess.com/
    Rules and Regulations: https://tbilisi2017.fide.com/regulations/

  4. 2017 World Chess Cup
    September 2nd-27th, 2017 (Tbilisi, Georgia)
    Match Scores (Round #2)
    Bracket 1
    1 Magnus Carlsen
    NOR
    2-0
    Aleksey Dreev
    RUS
    2 Étienne Bacrot
    FRA
    1½-2½
    Bu Xiangzhi
    CHN
    3 Peter Svidler
    RUS
    2½-1½
    Viktor Erdos
    HUN
    4 Radoslaw Wojtaszek
    POL
    1½-2½
    A. Onischuk
    USA
    Bracket 2
    5 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
    FRA
    1½-½
    Boris Grachev
    RUS
    6 A. Lenderman
    USA
    1½-½
    Aryan Tari
    NOR
    7 Alexander Grischuk
    RUS
    2½-1½
    Jorge Cori
    PER
    8 David Navara
    CZE
    3-1
    Ivan Cheparinov
    BUL
    Bracket 3
    9 Vladimir Kramnik
    RUS
    1½-½
    Anton Demchenko
    RUS
    10 Vassily Ivanchuk
    UKR
    3½-2½
    Jan-Krzysztof Duda
    POL
    11 Anish Giri
    NED
    4-2
    Alexander Motylev
    RUS
    12 Pentala Harikrishna
    IND
    1½-2½
    S.P. Sethuraman
    IND
    Bracket 4
    13 Levon Aronian
    ARM
    4-2
    Hou Yifan
    CHN
    14 Maxim Matlakov
    RUS
    1½-½
    Dmitry Andreikin
    RUS
    15 Sergey Karjakin
    RUS
    ½-1½
    Daniil Dubov
    RUS
    16 Teimour Radjabov
    AZE
    3½-4½
    Vladislav Artemiev
    RUS
    Bracket 5
    17 Wesley So
    USA
    4-2
    Matthias Blübaum
    GER
    18 Francisco Vallejo
    ESP
    1½-½
    E. Tomashevsky
    RUS
    19 Ian Nepomniachtchi
    RUS
    2½-1½
    Baskaran Adhiban
    IND
    20 Yu Yangyi
    CHN
    2-4
    Baadur Jobava
    GEO
    Bracket 6
    21 Hikaru Nakamura
    USA
    2-0
    Lázaro Bruzón
    CUB
    22 Vladimir Fedoseev
    RUS
    3-1
    Ernesto Inarkiev
    RUS
    23 Viswanathan Anand
    IND
    ½-1½
    Anton Kovalyov
    CAN
    24 Michael Adams
    ENG
    ½-1½
    Maxim Rodshtein
    ISR
    Bracket 7
    25 Fabiano Caruana
    USA
    2-0
    Luka Lenic
    SLO
    26 Nikita Vitiugov
    RUS
    1½-½
    Evgeniy Najer
    RUS
    27 Wei Yi
    CHN
    1½-2½
    Richárd Rapport
    HUN
    28 Li Chao
    CHN
    2½-1½
    Samuel Sevian
    USA
    Bracket 8
    29 S. Mamedyarov
    AZE
    1-3
    Yuriy Kuzubov
    UKR
    30 Boris Gelfand
    ISR
    1½-2½
    Wang Hao
    CHN
    31 Ding Liren
    CHN
    1½-½
    Martyn Kravtsiv
    UKR
    32 Lê Quang Liêm
    VIE
    ½-1½
    Vidit Gujrathi
    IND
    Drum Coverage
    | Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 | Round 5 |
    | Semifinals | Finals |

  5. Round #2 Recap
    September 6-8, 2017

    Five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand was bounced from the World Cup after losing to Ukrainian-Canadian player Anton Kovalyov. World Cup’s defending champion Sergey Karjakin also exited the competition by losing to compatriot Daniil Dubov. These were arguably the biggest upsets of the round after 22 of the matches went into tiebreaks.


    “It was totally uncalled for in a knockout format when there are perfectly good alternatives. What can I say? Sometimes your head isn’t just screwed on straight.”

    ~Viswanathan Anand after being eliminated by Anton Kovalyov


    Perhaps the exit of Viswanathan Anand was painful to his fans. Is this his last championship run? It remains to be seen. but of course he was critical of his play in the first game where he attempted a sacrifice for initiative. However, he was very gracious in the interview and gave his reflections on Indian chess and discusses his most immediate plans.

    Video by Sagar Shah (ChessBase India)

    While Karjakin still has a seat in the Candidates as Carlsen’s challenger. There were a couple of very fascinating games in the round including Dubov’s win over Karjakin. We pick up the analysis conducted by the winner with IM Sagar Shah (ChessBase India). Fascinating complications!!

    Video by Sagar Shah (ChessBase India)

    One of the other fascinating games occurred in Hou Yifan battle against Levon Aronian in an Italian game. GM Ivan Sokolov tried to wade through the complications in an extremely delicate position. Tactics flying throughout the board and one step could turn the tide. Check it out!

    Video by Georgia Chess

    In a scintillating sequence, the balance was held for the draw. Hou held Aronian in both classical games, both rapid games, but then drop both 10’+10″ games. Her next tournament is the Isle of Man. Shahkriyar Mamedyarov bowed out of the tournament, but it is possible that he may qualify for the Candidates match anyway through the Grand Prix standings. It was a rather ignoble ending for the Azeri player who dropped both of the rapid games to Yuriy Kuzubov. Apart from that, the favorites advanced and the field is whittled down to 32.

    Official Website: https://tbilisi2017.fide.com/
    All PGN Games (TWIC): https://www.theweekinchess.com/
    Rules and Regulations: https://tbilisi2017.fide.com/regulations/

  6. 2017 World Chess Cup
    September 2nd-27th, 2017 (Tbilisi, Georgia)
    Match Scores (Round #3)
    Bracket 1
    1 Magnus Carlsen
    NOR
    ½-1½
    Bu Xiangzhi
    CHN
    2 Peter Svidler
    RUS
    1½-½
    A. Onischuk
    USA
    Bracket 2
    3 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
    FRA
    2½-1½
    A. Lenderman
    USA
    4 Alexander Grischuk
    RUS
    3½-2½
    David Navara
    CZE
    Bracket 3
    5 Vladimir Kramnik
    RUS
    ½-1½
    Vassily Ivanchuk
    UKR
    6 Anish Giri
    NED
    4-2
    S.P. Sethuraman
    IND
    Bracket 4
    7 Levon Aronian
    ARM
    4½-3½
    Maxim Matlakov
    RUS
    8 Daniil Dubov
    RUS
    1½-½
    Vladislav Artemiev
    RUS
    Bracket 5
    9 Wesley So
    USA
    4-2
    Francisco Vallejo
    ESP
    10 Ian Nepomniachtchi
    RUS
    2½-1½
    Baadur Jobava
    GEO
    Bracket 6
    11 Hikaru Nakamura
    USA
    ½-1½
    Vladimir Fedoseev
    RUS
    12 Anton Kovalyov
    CAN
    0F-2F
    Maxim Rodshtein
    ISR
    Bracket 7
    13 Fabiano Caruana
    USA
    1½-2½
    Evgeniy Najer
    RUS
    14 Richárd Rapport
    HUN
    2½-1½
    Li Chao
    CHN
    Bracket 8
    15 Yuriy Kuzubov
    UKR
    ½-½
    Wang Hao
    CHN
    16 Ding Liren
    CHN
    2½-1½
    Vidit Gujrathi
    IND
    Drum Coverage
    | Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 | Round 5 |
    | Semifinals | Finals |

  7. Round #3 Recap
    September 9-11, 2017

    Carlsen crushed by Bu… ousted from World Cup!
    Four Americans also sent packing.
    “Shorts-gate” Controversy!

    The headlines of the World Cup tournament read that the World Champion Magnus Carlsen had been eliminated, but apart from the many other top players being eliminated from contention, there was also a controversy surrounding the dress code.

    Anton Kovalyov (left) amidst the controversy.
    Photo by Amruta Mokal (ChessBase India)

    Canadian Grandmaster Anton Kovalyov wore plaid knee-length shorts to the third round, but was approached 10 minutes before by the arbiter Tomasz Delega and told that his attire was inappropriate and he had to change. They cited the player’s contracts signed before the tournaments.

    According to the player’s contract (3.13.4.), “Players are requested to note the requirements of FIDE Regulations C.01 (Article 8.1) in respect of their dignified appearance at all times during the World Cup.”

    C.01 (Article 8.1) of the FIDE handbook mentions the following:The Commission on Chess Publication, Information and Statistics (CHIPS) stresses the need for all chess players to take more care in their personal appearance. The image of the chess player should be a dignified one, and dressing properly would not only show respect for the game, but also to sponsors, potential or otherwise, to make it worth their while to spend their money.

    For example, some federations have barred slippers, sleeveless T-shirts and vests in their tournaments. Those with unkempt and greasy hair should be admonished, as well as those wearing old or torn jeans and battered attire generally.

    In the process of discussing the dress code, Kovalyov also contested the color allocation. The arbiters checked and he was informed that the pairings were correct. Kovalyov contended that while he was fine with the basis of the rulings, there was another issue. When organizer Zurab Azmaiparashvili approached him, things became a bit contentious.

    Zurab Azmaiparashvili berating Kovalyov about his attire.

    Kovalyov walks away never to return to the venue.
    Photos by chess.com/Maria Emelianova

    Kovalyov stated that there were some choice words used in the exchange with Azmaiparashvili. Following is an excerpt from his Facebook page.

    The issue were not the shorts but how I was treated. I came to the game and was approached by the arbiter asking me to change (first time). I told him that I don’t have pants with me, and then I noticed that I was playing black instead of white, which came as a surprise for me and asked him to check that. He and the other arbiters checked and confirmed to me that I’m playing with black, we talked a little and everything was fine. Then came Zurab, he was very agressive, yelling at me and using the racial slur “gypsy” to insult me, apart from mentioning several times that I will be punished by FIDE. I told him that I had asked before at the previous world cup if what I was wearing was OK and I was told by somebody from the organization that yes. Zurab, in a prepotent way, said he doesn’t care, he’s the organizer now. At this point I was really angry but tried not to do anything stupid, and asked him why he was so rude to me, and he said because I’m a gypsy.

    After Rodshtein’s 1.d4, Kovalyov did not appear at the board
    and eventually forfeited both games.
    Photo by Amruta Mokul (ChessBase India)

    As far as the ruling, here is what Tomasz Delega explained the situation in an interview with ChessBase India’s Sagar Shah. Azmaiparashvili explained his view in two separate segments, also with Shah.


    Videos by Sagar Shah (ChessBase India)

    Some have offered that a warning should have been proffered if it was found that the player did not have alternate attire, then he should have been warned or even fined. Of course there may have been another way of handling the issue. The Association of Chess Professionals have filed a petition condemning Azmaiparashvili in his handling of the matter. The Canada Chess Federation have also filed a complaint.

    While Carlsen is already the sitting champion, Caruana and Nakamura have to become the challenger by other means. Caruana will most likely get in by rating while Nakamura’s chances will come down to a wild card spot. Disappointing round for the Americans.

    Let’s watch the Carlsen-Bu game which arose from a Bishop’s Opening to avoid the Petroff. However, white seemed to get caught flat-footed and will brutally crushed. In fact his a1 rook did not get into the game! Beautiful showing by the former Chinese prodigy.

    Video by GM Daniel King (Power Play Chess)

    Here is Bu’s impressions of the game…

    Video by Sagar Shah (ChessBase India)

    Peter Svidler, Bu’s next opponent went on record to say that the Chinese player’s win over the world champion does not make him a “mythical beast,” but it certainly does make a statement. Bu stated that he had a minus score against Carlsen and wanted to change the record. He certainly did it.

    Official Website: https://tbilisi2017.fide.com/
    All PGN Games (TWIC): https://www.theweekinchess.com/
    Rules and Regulations: https://tbilisi2017.fide.com/regulations/

  8. In my view, the point was posed by many that he was allowed to wear the shorts in the previous two rounds (and in 2015 World Cup), so he should have been allowed to continue. Unfortunately, this is a very shallow argument. It is indeed true that the arbiters were negligent for not bringing the rule to his attention earlier, but one cannot say that it is acceptable to continue to break the rules because they have not been penalized earlier. For example, if a driver makes an illegal turn with a police officer sitting there watching (and not punished), they cannot assume it is acceptable to continue to do it. Perhaps the next officer will enforce the law. That being said, the arbiters have to enforce the letter of the law at all times and hold themselves to the same standards they hold the players.

  9. 2017 World Chess Cup
    September 2nd-27th, 2017 (Tbilisi, Georgia)
    Match Scores (Round #4)
    Pairings
    1 Bu Xiangzhi
    CHN
    1-3
    Peter Svidler
    RUS
    2 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
    FRA
    3½-2½
    Alexander Grischuk
    RUS
    3 Vassily Ivanchuk
    UKR
    1½-½
    Anish Giri
    NED
    4 Levon Aronian
    ARM
    1½-½
    Daniil Dubov
    RUS
    5 Wesley So
    USA
    2½-1½
    Baadur Jobava
    GEO
    6 Vladimir Fedoseev
    RUS
    3-1
    Maxim Rodshtein
    ISR
    7 Evgeniy Najer
    RUS
    1½-2½
    Richárd Rapport