2019 World Chess Cup (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)

2019 World Chess Cup
(Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)

Ugra Chess Academy (Loparev Street, 6) in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia
Photo by ugra2018.fide.com

On tomorrow, September 9th, the 2019 FIDE World Cup will open in Khanty-Mansiysk making it the city’s fifth time hosting the event. 128 players from 47 countries will make the journey to the Siberian region for a chance a glory and a chance to raise their flag. The event which will close on October 4th. The two finalists will qualify for the FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020, a qualifier for the World Championship against Magnus Carlsen. Ding Liren will be the top seed and many other top 20 players will be present.

China’s Ding Liren is the top seed
Photo by Lennart Ootes

The opening ceremony will be held in the Arts Center for Gifted Children of the North on September 9th at 7:00 pm local time. Draw for the colors will take place during the ceremony. Russia is represented by 28 players, followed by India – 10, China – 7, and USA – 6. The diverse field features youngsters and long-time veterans. The 14-year-old GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov (Uzbekistan) is the youngest player while GM Essam El-Gindy (Egypt) the oldest at 53. Women’s World Champion Ju Wenjun will not be competing in order to prepare for the Women’s FIDE Grand Prix.

Carlsen will not participate this year after participating in Tblisi, Georgia in 2017. He was eliminated by Bu Xiangzhi in round three. Fabiano Caruana will also not be taking part as he has a guaranteed spot in the Candidates tournament.

Anish Giri (2780, Netherlands), Ian Nepomniachtchi (2776, Russia), Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2774, France), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2767, Azerbaijan), Wesley So (2767, USA), Yu Yangyi (2763, China), Lenier Dominguez Perez (2763, USA), Sergey Karjakin (2760, Russia) are some familiar names. Karjakin won the Cup in 2015. Other winners participating include Levon Aronian (Armenia), Boris Gelfand (Israel), and Peter Svidler (Russia).

The total prize fund is $1.6 million, with $110,000 for the winner and $6,000 for first round losers.

Levon Aronian of Armenia, 2017 World Cup winner
Photo by Anastasia Kharlovich (fide.org)

PRIZE DISTRIBUTION
(US$)Total
Round 1: 64 × 6,000=384,000
Round 2: 32 × 10,000=320,000
Round 3: 16 × 16,000=256,000
Round 4: 8 × 25,000=200,000
Round 5: 4 × 35,000=140,000
4th place: 50,000
3rd place: 60,000
2nd place: 80,000
1st place: 110,000
Total (US$): 1,600,000

MATCH DETAILS

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. If the score is tied the players then play two 25-minute + 10-second increment rapid games, then two 10+10 games, then two 5+3 and, finally, Armageddon, where White has 5 minutes to Black’s 4 but a draw qualifies Black for the next round.

SCHEDULE
Round 1: September 10th – September 12th
Round 2: September 13th – September 15th
Round 3: September 16th – September 18th
Rest day: September 19th
Round 4: September 20th – September 22nd
Round 5: September 23rd – September 25th
Round 6: September 26th – September 28th
Rest day: September 29th
Final and play-off for third place: September 30th – October 4th

All rounds start at 3 pm local time

Chief Arbiter – IA Ashot Vardapetian (Armenia)

CLICK to enlarge

The 2019 World Cup is organized by the Government of Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug-Ugra, World Chess Federation (FIDE), Ugra Chess Federation, and Ministry of Sports of the Russian Federation.

Official: https://khantymansiysk2019.fide.com/en/
chess24.com: https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/khanty-fide-world-cup-2019

35 Comments

  1. PARTICIPANTS

    1. Ding Liren (CHN), 2805 (WC)
    2. Anish Giri (NED), 2779 (R)
    3. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA), 2778 (WC)
    4. Wesley So (USA), 2776 (WC)
    5. Ian Nepomniachtchi (RUS), 2774 (R)
    6. Levon Aronian (ARM), 2765 (WC)
    7. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE), 2764 (R)
    8. Leinier Domínguez (USA), 2763 (Z2.1)
    9. Alexander Grischuk (RUS), 2759 (R)
    10. Teimour Radjabov (AZE), 2758 (R)
    11. Vladislav Artemiev (RUS), 2757 (E19)
    12. Yu Yangyi (CHN), 2752 (R)
    13. Sergey Karjakin (RUS), 2750 (R)
    14. Hikaru Nakamura (USA), 2743 (Z2.1)
    15. Dmitry Andreikin (RUS), 2743 (R)
    16. Radoslaw Wojtaszek (POL), 2739 (E18)
    17. Pentala Harikrishna (IND), 2738 (R)
    18. Jan-Krzysztof Duda (POL), 2730 (R)
    19. Peter Svidler (RUS), 2729 (R)
    20. Nikita Vitiugov (RUS), 2728 (R)
    21. Wei Yi (CHN), 2727 (AS18)
    22. Le Quang Liem (VIE), 2726 (AS18)
    23. David Navara (CZE), 2724 (E18)
    24. Bu Xiangzhi (CHN), 2721 (R)
    25. Wang Hao (CHN), 2720 (R)
    26. Sam Shankland (USA), 2713 (AM18)
    27. Maxim Matlakov (RUS), 2710 (E18)
    28. Evgeny Tomashevsky (RUS), 2706 (R)
    29. Vidit Gujrathi (IND), 2705 (R)
    30. Dmitry Jakovenko (RUS), 2704 (R)
    31. Jeffery Xiong (USA), 2703 (Z2.1)
    32. Alireza Firouzja (IRI), 2702 (AS19)
    33. Daniil Dubov (RUS), 2699 (E19)
    34. Bassem Amin (EGY), 2692 (AF)
    35. Gawain Jones (ENG), 2692 (E18)
    36. Nils Grandelius (SWE), 2691 (E18)
    37. Michael Adams (ENG), 2690 (R)
    38. Boris Gelfand (ISR), 2686 (E19)
    39. Jorge Cori (PER), 2686 (AM18)
    40. Maxim Rodshtein (ISR), 2684 (E19)
    41. Ernesto Inarkiev (RUS), 2682 (E18)
    42. Luke McShane (ENG), 2682 (E18)
    43. Anton Korobov (UKR), 2679 (E18)
    44. David Antón Guijarro (ESP), 2678 (E18)
    45. Arkadij Naiditsch (AZE), 2675 (R)
    46. Ruslan Ponomariov (UKR), 2675 (E19)
    47. Tamir Nabaty (ISR), 2673 (E18)
    48. Vladimir Fedoseev (RUS), 2671 (R)
    49. Kirill Alekseenko (RUS), 2668 (ON)
    50. Ferenc Berkes (HUN), 2666 (E19)
    51. Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu (GER), 2666 (E19)
    52. Samuel Sevian (USA), 2665 (Z2.1)
    53. Baskaran Adhiban (IND), 2665 (ACP)
    54. Ivan Cheparinov (GEO), 2663 (E18)
    55. Sanan Sjugirov (RUS), 2662 (E18)
    56. Ivan Šaric (CRO), 2660 (E18)
    57. Kacper Piorun (POL), 2660 (E19)
    58. Rustam Kasimdzhanov (UZB), 2657 (Z3.4)
    59. Parham Maghsoodloo (IRI), 2656 (J18)
    60. Alexey Sarana (RUS), 2655 (E18)
    61. Anton Demchenko (RUS), 2655 (E18)
    62. Igor Kovalenko (LAT), 2654 (PN)
    63. Benjamin Gledura (HUN), 2654 (E19)
    64. Sergei Movsesian (ARM), 2654 (E19)
    65. Grigoriy Oparin (RUS), 2654 (E19)
    66. Evgeniy Najer (RUS), 2653 (E18)
    67. Constantin Lupulescu (ROU), 2652 (E19)
    68. Robert Hovhannisyan (ARM), 2650 (E18)
    69. Alexandr Predke (RUS), 2650 (E19)
    70. Maksim Chigaev (RUS), 2643 (ON)
    71. Evgeny Bareev (CAN), 2643 (Z2.2)
    72. Nijat Abasov (AZE), 2640 (E18)
    73. Benjamin Bok (NED), 2640 (E18)
    74. Sandro Mareco (ARG), 2640 (Z2.5)
    75. Ahmed Adly (EGY), 2636 (Z4.2)
    76. Eduardo Iturrizaga Bonelli (VEN), 2635 (AM19)
    77. Aryan Tari (NOR), 2634 (J17)
    78. Mircea Parligras (ROU), 2633 (E18)
    79. Rinat Jumabayev (KAZ), 2633 (Z3.4)
    80. Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (VIE), 2631 (AS18)
    81. Ganguly Surya Shekhar (IND), 2630 (AS18)
    82. S.P. Sethuraman (IND), 2630 (AS19)
    83. Andrey Esipenko (RUS), 2625 (E19)
    84. Niclas Huschenbeth (GER), 2620 (E19)
    85. S.L. Narayanan (IND), 2618 (AS19)
    86. Abhijeet Gupta (IND), 2616 (AS19)
    87. Neuris Delgado Ramirez (PAR), 2612 (AM19)
    88. Karthikeyan Murali (IND), 2612 (AS19)
    89. Mateusz Bartel (POL), 2612 (E19)
    90. Nihal Sarin (IND), 2610 (PN)
    91. Lu Shanglei (CHN), 2610 (Z3.5)
    92. Aravindh Chithambaram (IND), 2607 (Z3.7)
    93. Aleksandr Rakhmanov (RUS), 2606 (E19)
    94. Diego Flores (ARG), 2604 (AM18)
    95. Amin Tabatabaei (IRI), 2601 (AS18)
    96. Emilio Cordova (PER), 2599 (AM18)
    97. Arman Pashikian (ARM), 2599 (E18)
    98. Igor Lysyj (RUS), 2596 (E19)
    99. Jose Eduardo Martinez Alcantara (PER), 2596 (Z2.4)
    100. Alan Pichot (ARG), 2596 (AM19)
    101. Nikita Petrov (RUS), 2595 (E19)
    102. Nodirbek Abdusattorov (UZB), 2594 (PN)
    103. Eltaj Safarli (AZE), 2593 (E18)
    104. Aleksei Pridorozhni (RUS), 2591 (ON)
    105. Xu Xiangyu (CHN), 2584 (Z3.5)
    106. Daniil Yuffa (RUS), 2571 (E18)
    107. Aleksej Aleksandrov (BLR), 2571 (E19)
    108. Miguel Santos Ruiz, IM (ESP), 2567 (E18)
    109. Frode Urkedal (NOR), 2566 (PN)
    110. Carlos Daniel Albornoz Cabrera (CUB), 2566 (Z2.3)
    111. Cristobal Henriquez Villagra (CHI), 2562 (Z2.5)
    112. Yuri Gonzalez Vidal (CUB), 2554 (AM19)
    113. Johan-Sebastian Christiansen (NOR), 2554 (E19)
    114. Krikor Mekhitarian (BRA), 2554 (Z2.4)
    115. Bilel Bellahcene (ALG), 2550 (Z4.1)
    116. Susanto Megaranto (INA), 2545 (Z3.3)
    117. Ehsan Ghaem-Maghami (IRI), 2539 (Z3.1)
    118. Ilia Iljiushenok (RUS), 2533 (ON)
    119. Helgi Dam Ziska (FRO), 2533 (PN)
    120. Paulius Pultinevi?ius, IM (LTU), 2485 (E19)
    121. Alder Escobar Forero (COL), 2477 (Z2.3)
    122. Fy Antenaina Rakotomaharo, IM (MAD), 2438 (Z4.3)
    123. Essam El Gindy (EGY), 2423 (AF)
    124. Sugar Gan-Erdene, untitled (MGL), 2408 (Z3.3)
    125. Sergio Duran Vega, IM (CRI), 2395 (AM19)
    126. Daniel Anwuli, IM (NGR), 2284 (Z4.4)
    127. Mohammad Fahad Rahman, FM (BAN), 2250 (Z3.2)
    128. Shaun Press, FM (PNG), 1954 (Z3.6)

    Qualification paths

    World Champion (1)
    WC: Semi-finalists of the Chess World Cup 2017 (4)
    J17 and J18: World Junior Champions 2017 and 2018 (2)
    E18 and E19: European Individual Championships 2018 (24) and 2019 (22)
    AM18 and AM19: American Continental Championships 2018 (4) and 2019 (4)
    AS18 and AS19: Asian Chess Championships 2018 (5) and 2019 (5)

    AF: African Chess Championship 2019 (2)
    Z2.1 (5), Z2.2 (1), Z2.3 (2), Z2.4 (2), Z2.5 (2), Z3.1 (1), Z3.2 (1), Z3.3 (2), Z3.4 (2), Z3.5 (2), Z3.6 (1), Z3.7 (1), Z4.1 (1), Z4.2 (1), Z4.3 (1), Z4.4 (1): Zonal tournaments
    R: Rating (average of all published ratings from August 2018 to July 2019 is used) (18)
    ACP: highest-placed participant of the ACP Tour who has not qualified with the previous criteria (1)
    PN: FIDE President nominee (5)
    ON: Organizer nominee (4)

  2. 2019 World Chess Cup starts today…
    Africa rejuvenated

    This has been a banner year for African chess. The Grand Chess Tour Rapid & Blitz hosted in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire was a smashing success. The 2019 African Championship in Tunisia was the strongest ever and the recently-held 2019 Africa Games was all the rave. These three events have been a culmination in a year of promise and hope on the continent.

    African players will trek to Siberia with a rejuvenated spirit in hopes to make an impression. A refreshing confidence has been seen in recent years. Who can forget the confidence of Zambia’s Andrew Kayonde when facing world-class opponent Vassily Ivanchuk at 2018 Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia. In a gripped battle, Ivanchuk was still trying to win a game from an equal position. Not to be denied, Kayonde said, “I know he is Vassily Ivanchuk, but I am also the Zambian Champion!”

    All-Africa Games 2019 (Morocco)

    2019 African Games in Rabat, Morocco
    Photo by Jeux Africains Rabat 2019

    In what has come to be one of the main staging grounds for chess, Khanty-Mansiysk will host the 2019 World Cup and six African players will be on hand. Traditionally, African players had been overmatched and went looking for experience. In recent years, the continent has not only sent stronger players, but have produced some tough matches on the higher boards.

    Years ago, there were some chatter about Africans not being deserving of six slots in the World Cup given the level of the players. Such comments are becoming less favored. In the past, Africa would sent a mixture of IMs and FMs. This year four Grandmasters and two International Masters from the African continent will join the field.

    Ahmed Adly (Egypt), Bassem Amin (Egypt), Bilel Bellahcene (Algeria) at 2019 Africa Games taking 1-2-3 in the blitz competition. Photo by Mohamed Bounaji.

    Grandmasters Ahmed Adly (Egypt), Bassem Amin (Egypt), Bilel Bellahcene (Algeria) at 2019 Africa Games taking 1-2-3 in the blitz competition. Photo by Mohamed Bounaji.

    GM Essam El-Gindy

    GM Essam El-Gindy (Egypt)
    Photo by James Mwangi

    IM Fy Rakotomaharo (Madagascar)
    Photo by Amruta Mokal

    This year, six African players will be competing of which three are Egyptian. In 2015 World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan, GM Bassem Amin was first African player to advance to the second round. He qualified by virtue of his second place finish in the African Championships. His compatriot GM Ahmed Adly won the event, but had already qualified after winning the 4.2 Zonal. GM Essam El-Gindy, the tournament’s eldest player, will take that spot instead. GM Bilel Bellahcene of Algeria won the 4.1 Zonal while IM Fy Rakotomaharo of Madagascar won 4.3 Zonal. Lastly, IM Daniel Anwuli of Nigeria won the 4.4 Zonal.

    IM Daniel Anwuli and IM Fy Rakotomaharo will also travel for the World Cup. Will they be future challengers for the African crown? Photo by Aishat Ibrahim

    Young talents IM Daniel Anwuli (Nigeria) and IM Fy Rakotomaharo (Madagascar) will be in Khanty-Mansiysk looking for upsets. Photo by Aishat Ibrahim

    While African players are generally outrated in the World Cup, Amin will be the favorite his first match. The others will face players had all been in the top 10-30 at one time or another. Here are the pairings.

    2019 World Chess Cup
    September 9th-October 4th, 2019 (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    Round #1 Pairings for Africa
    1 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
    FRA
    Daniel Anwuli
    NGR
    2 GM Bilel Bellahcene
    ALG
    Hikaru Nakamura
    USA
    3 Ahmed Adly
    EGY
    Ivan Cheparinov
    GEO
    4 Levon Aronian
    ARM
    Essam El-Gindy
    EGY
    5 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
    AZE
    Fy Rakotomaharo
    MAD
    6 Amin Tabatabaei
    IRI
    Bassem Amin
    EGY
    Official Pairings

    This is a tremendous opportunity for African players to break through. They are not going as “tourists” merely to say they have participated. They are going for glory and to defend their national honor.

    Official: https://khantymansiysk2019.fide.com/en/
    chess24.com: https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/khanty-fide-world-cup-2019

  3. 2019 World Chess Cup
    September 9th-October 4th, 2019 (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    Round #1, Game #1
    1 IM Daniel Anwuli
    NGR
    0-1
    GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
    FRA
    2 GM Hikaru Nakamura
    USA
    ½-½
    GM Bilel Bellahcene
    ALG
    3 GM Ivan Cheparinov
    GEO
    1-0
    GM Ahmed Adly
    EGY
    4 GM Levon Aronian
    ARM
    ½-½
    GM Essam El-Gindy
    EGY
    5 IM Fy Rakotomaharo
    MAD
    0-1
    GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
    AZE
    6 GM Amin Tabatabaei
    IRI
    ½-½
    GM Bassem Amin
    EGY
    Official Pairings

    Interesting matchups for the African players…
    El-Gindy gets near upset!

    IM Daniel Anwuli facing off against GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
    Photo by khantymansiysk2019.fide.com

    Daniel Anwuli faced Maxime Vachier-Lagrave but quickly went astray in the opening after a dubious pawn sacrifice. However, the Nigerian tried to confuse the super-GM by going for complications after 16.Rxf6!? Anwuli had inadequate compensation for the exchange, but it was returned by the Frenchman. At this point, white’s pawn structure was in shambles and MVL wove a mating net after the black king sprinted up the board.

    Levon Aronian took tremendous risks and was clearly worse against Essam El-Gindy. Photo by khantymansiysk2019.fide.com

    Essam El-Gindy had the closest chance to win for the Africans. In fact, it seemed like his opponent Levon Aronian was going to suffer a huge upset loss. Generally with elite players, they are more stable in their play. However, Garry Kasparov made an observation. Today’s elite players play too many games. A week after finishing the Sinquefield and the Champions Showdown, the Armenian was at it again.

    After 23.g4 h6 24.h4, he began to lose the thread of the position. With the white king tucked away on h1 behind a rook, black started to get some counterplay. There was some interesting play with exchange being offered by both sides, but it appeared that the white king was too exposed to survive after 42…Qg4! The Egyptian wasted precious time and tried pushing the a-pawn to stretch his opponent’s defenses. White consolidated instead and there was nothing left.

    Fy Rakotomaharo had a tough time containing Shakhriyar Mamedyarov’s superior understanding. White made no obvious missteps by his knights had no entry points. Black’s active pieces won the day. In Nakamura-Bellahcene, the American rolled out the Catalan, but have reversed a move order. White played 16.e5!? and the game appeared to steer in black’s favor. Commentators were surprised at the resilient play of the Algerian… seemingly not realizing that he is a Grandmaster. After jostling of pieces around the board, a draw was agreed. Bellahcene granted a short interview after the game.

    Video by FIDE

    Africa’s two top players had a rough beginning. Ahmed Adly was slowly crushed by Ivan Cheparinov while Bassem Amin seemed to be ceding the two-bishop advantage to Iranian phenom Amin Tabatabaei. Amin had to fight hard for a draw. In the final position, there were opposite-colored bishops and despite the possibility of winning a pawn, Tabatabaei agreed to a draw.

    Official: https://khantymansiysk2019.fide.com/en/
    chess24.com: https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/khanty-fide-world-cup-2019
    Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/

  4. 2019 World Chess Cup
    September 9th-October 4th, 2019 (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    Round #1, Game #2
    1 Vachier-Lagrave, M
    FRA
    2-0
    Anwuli, D
    NGR
    2 Bellahcene, B
    ALG
    1-1
    Nakamura, H
    USA
    3 Adly, A
    EGY
    ½-1½
    Cheparinov, I
    GEO
    4 El-Gindy, E
    EGY
    ½-1½
    Aronian, L
    ARM
    5 Mamedyarov, S
    AZE
    2-0
    Rakotomaharo, F
    MAD
    6 Amin, B
    EGY
    1-1
    Tabatabaei, A
    IRI
    Official Pairings

    Rough Day for Africa, but two players go to tiebreaks

    Before the World Cup, there were hopes that some of the African players would advance into the second round. Of course, this would be a steep hill to climb as most of them were facing elite competition. Just as sure as Radaslaw Wojtaszek (2739) lost his match to a young Norwegian (not named Carlsen), it shows that upsets are possible. Johan-Sebastian Christiansen toppled the Polish player and posted an impassioned tweet.

    Only one African player can write a similar story as Bilel Bellahcene faces Hikaru Nakamura in the tiebreaks. Bassem Amin will be slightly favored over namesake Amin Tabatabaei. Bellahcene has not played any outrageous lines thus far, but may try to do so in the quicker time controls. Nakamura is one of the premier players in quickplay and accepted a quick draw to move to tiebreaks. This strategy worked for Sergey Karjakin in 2015 when he won the Cup and went on to face Magnus Carlsen for the world championship in 2016. Of course, Nakamura has not been in the best of form as of late so there is some risk.

    In today’s contests, Nigeria’s Daniel Anwuli had an uphill climb to level the score against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. The game was a tense battle out of the Ruy Lopez and the Frenchman quickly grabbed space and the two bishops. Black’s position was a bit cramped, but in a flurry of exchanges it appeared that black had counter play after 27…Nc5 28.cxb5 Nxb3 29.Rxc8 Nxc1 30.Rxc1 Qxb5. However, white had a strong passed a-pawn that had to be watched closely. That pawn ended up making it all the way down to the seventh rank and black was not in time to protect queening square on b8. On 43.Qc8 black resigned in lieu of 43…Bc7 44.Ba5! MVL posted the following tweet…

    The young Nigerian should be proud to know that he showed determination and his games were competitive. He will be a force in African chess if he continues on this path.

    African champion Ahmed Adly faced Ivan Cheparinov but failed to get anything with the white pieces. He went for a Catalan and held a slight edge with strong central pawns and two bishops, but black was able to solve problems tactically. The position was equal from that point on and there was no way to press for an advantage. In fact, it was black who started pressing for a win. After 39.Qf3? black was winning after 39…e4! Black was on +5 after 45.Rb1 since 45…Bd6 would win at least the exchange and white exposed king would have spelled doom. However, black decided to go for the draw and advance.

    For Fy Rakotomaharo, he wanted to end the tournament playing a solid result and went for an unbalanced position. However, white’s position was too solid to make any use of his active pieces. After 20…f5!? white consolidated and when the “Malagasy Radar” went for complications 26…g5 27.Nf5 g5 28. Nf5 Nxg5 28.Nd5! his position collapsed and he ended up in mating net. It was a good experience to play such strong competition. Fy will return to France were he is undertaking university studies and hopefully he will get to play strong competition during his sojourn in Europe.

    Essam El-Gindy trying to equalize the match against Levon Aronian. Photo by Kirill Merkuryev

    Essam El-Gindy trying to equalize the match against Levon Aronian.
    Photo by Kirill Merkuryev

    In Essam El-Gindy’s game against Levon Aronian, his white game was very ambitious as he set up a front pawn center. A dynamic position occurred and white lunged forward with 18.g4. This move broke the structure and gave black swift counterplay. Aronian had seen deeply, gave up his strong knight for a bad bishop because after 24…Nxd3! 25.Qxd3 black plays 25…Rhg6! with a strong attack. If 26.h3 then black sacrifices the queen with 26…Qxh5! El-Gindy’s center then collapsed and he gave up three central pawns for the exchange. Too much. Aronian eventually solidified and parried white’s attempt to start a mating attack with his king, but lost all of his pawns and had to resign. The Egyptian missed his chances in the first game, so the Armenian will advance.

    Amin has a good chance to advance today against Tabatabaei, but the more interesting match may well be Bellahcene vs. Nakamura. Look for the Algerian to unsettle the world’s top bullet player with some unorthodox lines to gain time. Perhaps a 1.Nh3 is on the menu?

    Official: https://khantymansiysk2019.fide.com/en/
    chess24.com: https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/khanty-fide-world-cup-2019
    Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/

  5. A controversy involving Ukraine’s Ruslan Ponomariov contest the doping procedure via Twitter…

    Interview of Dr. Marape Marape, Chairman of FIDE Medical Commission

    Video by FIDE

  6. 2019 World Chess Cup
    September 9th-October 4th, 2019 (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    TIEBREAKS
    1 Bellahcene, B
    ALG
    1½-2½
    Nakamura, H
    USA
    2 Amin, B
    EGY
    1½-2½
    Tabatabaei, A
    IRI
    Official Pairings

    Amin beaten by Amin; Bellahcene given a “knightmare”

    It all ended today for the African participants as both remaining participants flamed out of the 2019 World Cup. Both Bassem Amin (Egypt) and Bilel Bellahcene (Algeria) got to the tiebreaks in different ways. Amin played Iranian phenom Amin Tabatabaei in two hotly-contested games (Italian and Grunfeld) that both ended quietly.

    Bassem Amin advanced in 2015 and would try to repeat his success.
    Photos by Eteri Kublashvili (FIDE).

    In the tiebreaks, Amin opted for a King’s Indian, but something went horribly wrong in his preparation. After 15.b4 white was ready to break through on the queenside while Amin’s attack was a step slow. White mobilized and played 25.f4!? taking advantage of so many tactical motifs. The Egyptian tried keeping lines closed, but things worsened after 27…g4? 28.Bxg4 Rxg4 29.Rxg4 Bxg4 30.Rxg4. At this point, black’s position was a wreak and Tabatabaei finished the game off cleanly.

    In the second tiebreak, Amin needed a win. He may have gotten his chance after 24.g4 winning a piece for a couple of pawns. Certainly, his king was not safe and black had the two bishops, but Amin’s advantage kept growing. In the double-edged position, white had a dangerous a-pawn racing up the board. In addition, black’s position was become overextended.

    Bassem Amin had a chance to seize the advantage after 47…f4? with 48.Qc3! or 48.Qd4 when black’s exposed king comes under fire.

    After 47…f4? the computer evaluation grew to +4! Why such a big plus? White was a clear piece up and black’s center was collapsing. In severe time pressure, Amin blundered with 48..g6?? throwing away his advantage with one move. With seconds ticking, Tabatabaei returned the blunder with 48…Kxg6??

    At this point each player was relying on their increment and mistakes were piling up for both sides. Black had another chance to win, but he was most likely being cautious. On 62.Bxb5?? black could have taken the full point after 62…Qa1+ 63.Kh2 Qc1! pinning the rook and threatening the deadly Rg2+. The pendulum swung back and forth and a queen ending ensued. Bassem had an extra pawn, but his king was exposed and he couldn’t escape the checks. Here is the tense moment with the Egyptian trying to escape…

    So it was… Africa’s #1 player was ousted.

    In the other match Hikaru Nakamura was content in going to tiebreaks where he is the favorite in quickl play. The first was absolutely amazing. In a Berlin Defense, the game held a balance for 50 moves. The American’s king’s knight jumped around the board probing the position. There was nothing white could do to change the position. Black continued to gain time and simply moved his knight around posing tactical problems.

    Finally, black penetrated the position as white lay helpless. What was amazing was the knight’s ability to switch control of squares and coordinate with the rook to create mating threats. White’s rook and bishop became passive. Persistence paid off and after 84…Re2+ 85.Kg1 Kg6 86.Rd4 Nf5 87.Rd3 Nh4 and the Algerian gave up. The black knight had moved 38 times during the game and its job was complete.

    In the second game, Bellahcene got lost in the complications and ended up with severely exposed king. After 25.Qg4+ Kh8 26.Qxe6 the American held on and didn’t let go. When a draw would’ve been sufficient, Nakamura pressed for a win a pawn up and opposite-color bishop ending. Ultimately, the Algerian resigned.

    Bilel Bellahcene switched his federation last year to Algeria
    and hopes to be a future force in African chess.
    Photo by Kirill Merkuryev

    The six Africans went to Khanty-Mansiysk in search of honor and received it. Perhaps it is disappointing that none of the Africans advanced, but the games were well-fought and Africa has only just begun the journey of player development. This year was one to give Africa more exposure and it is hopeful that further resources will assist in a generation of players that will contend for a world championship some day.

    Official: https://khantymansiysk2019.fide.com/en/
    chess24.com: https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/khanty-fide-world-cup-2019
    Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/

  7. 2019 World Chess Cup
    September 9th-October 4th, 2019
    (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    MATCH PAIRINGS (ROUND 1)
    Bracket 1
    1 Ding Liren
    CHN
    2-0
    Shaun Press
    PNG
    2 Grigoriy Oparin
    RUS
    ½-1½
    Sergei Movsesian
    ARM
    3 Daniil Dubov
    RUS
    1½-½
    Alexandr Fier
    BRA
    4 Arman Pashikian
    ARM
    ½-1½
    Alireza Firouzja
    IRI
    5 Pentala Harikrishna
    IND
    2-0
    Yuri Gonzalez Vidal
    CUB
    6 Ganguly Surya Shekhar
    IND
    2-4
    Vladimir Fedoseev
    RUS
    7 Kirill Alekseenko
    RUS
    1½-½
    Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son
    VIE
    8 Johan-Sebastian Christiansen
    DEN
    2-0
    Radoslaw Wojtaszek
    POL
    Bracket 2
    9 Alexander Grischuk
    RUS
    1½-½
    Paulius Pultinevicius
    LTU
    10 Benjamin Bok
    NED
    2½-1½
    Ivan Šaric
    SRB
    11 Ernesto Inarkiev
    RUS
    1½-½
    Karthikeyan Murali
    IND
    12 Xu Xiangyu
    CHN
    3½-2½
    Bu Xiangzhi
    CHN
    13 Wang Hao
    CHN
    3½-2½
    Aleksei Pridorozhni
    RUS
    14 Mateusz Bartel
    POL
    ½-1½
    Maxim Rodshtein
    ISR
    15 Kacper Piorun
    POL
    3½-4½
    Nijat Abasov
    AZE
    16 Alder Escobar
    COL
    1½-½
    Leinier Domínguez
    USA
    Bracket 3
    17 Ian Nepomniachtchi
    RUS
    2-0
    Sugar Gan-Erdene
    MGL
    19 Alexandr Predke
    RUS
    2½-1½
    Alexey Sarana
    RUS
    20 Michael Adams
    POL
    3½-4½
    Aravindh Chithambaram
    IND
    18 Nikita Petrov
    RUS
    1½-2½
    Evgeny Tomashevsky
    RUS
    21 Wei Yi
    CHN
    1½-½
    Miguel Santos Ruiz
    ESP
    22 S.L. Narayanan
    IND
    1½-2½
    David Antón Guijarro
    ESP
    23 Baskaran Adhiban
    IND
    1½-½
    Eduardo Iturrizaga Bonelli
    VEN
    24 Ehsan Ghaem-Maghami
    IRI
    2½-3½
    Yu Yangyi
    CHN
    Bracket 4
    25 Sergey Karjakin
    RUS
    1½-½
    Susanto Megaranto
    IND
    26 Aryan Tari
    NOR
    ½-1½
    Samuel Sevian
    USA
    27 Arkadij Naiditsch
    AZE
    0-2
    Niclas Huschenbeth
    GER
    28 Frode Urkedal
    NOR
    ½-1½
    Nikita Vitiugov
    RUS
    29 Vidit Gujrathi
    IND
    1½-½
    Alan Pichot
    ARG
    30 Aleksandr Rakhmanov
    RUS
    1½-½
    Nils Grandelius
    SWE
    31 Anton Demchenko
    RUS
    1½-½
    Robert Hovhannisyan
    ARM
    32 Sergio Duran Vega
    CRC
    0-2
    Wesley So
    USA
    Bracket 5
    33 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
    FRA
    2-0
    Daniel Anwuli
    NGR
    34 Constantin Lupulescu
    ROM
    1½-2½
    Igor Kovalenko
    LAT
    35 Gawain Jones
    ENG
    1½-½
    Diego Flores
    ARG
    36 Jose Eduardo Martinez
    PER
    0-2
    Dmitry Jakovenko
    RUS
    37 Peter Svidler
    RUS
    1½-½
    Carlos Daniel Albornoz
    CUB
    38 Andrey Esipenko
    RUS
    1½-½
    Ruslan Ponomariov
    UKR
    39 Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu
    GER
    2½-1½
    Mircea Parligras
    ROM
    40 Bilel Bellahcene
    ALG
    0-2
    Hikaru Nakamura
    USA
    Bracket 6
    41 Vladislav Artemiev
    RUS
    1½-½
    Ilia Iljiushenok
    RUS
    42 Ahmed Adly
    EGY
    ½-1½
    Ivan Cheparinov
    GEO
    43 Anton Korobov
    UKR
    3-1
    Abhijeet Gupta
    IND
    44 Aleksej Aleksandrov
    RUS
    1½-2½
    Le Quang Liem
    VIE
    45 Maxim Matlakov
    RUS
    1½-½
    Nodirbek Abdusattorov
    UZB
    46 Lu Shanglei
    CHN
    2-4
    Boris Gelfand
    ISR
    47 Parham Maghsoodloo
    IRI
    2-0
    Maksim Chigaev
    RUS
    48 Essam El Gindy
    EGY
    ½-1½
    Levon Aronian
    ARM
    Bracket 7
    49 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
    AZE
    2-0
    Fy Rakotomaharo
    MAD
    50 Evgeny Bareev
    CAN
    ½-1½
    Rustam Kasimdzhanov
    UZB
    51 Jorge Cori
    PER
    0-2
    Nihal Sarin
    IND
    52 Eltaj Safarli
    AZE
    3½-2½
    Sam Shankland
    USA
    53 David Navara
    CZE
    ½-1½
    Daniil Yuffa
    RUS
    54 Neuris Delgado Ramirez
    PAR
    1½-2½
    Luke McShane
    ENG
    55 Sanan Sjugirov
    RUS
    2½-1½
    Sandro Mareco
    ARG
    56 Helgi Dam Ziska
    GER
    ½-1½
    Teimour Radjabov
    AZE
    Bracket 8
    57 Dmitry Andreikin
    RUS
    2½-1½
    Krikor Mekhitarian
    BRA
    58 Rinat Jumabayev
    KAZ
    1½-½
    Ferenc Berkes
    HUN
    59 Tamir Nabaty
    ISR
    1½-½
    S.P. Sethuraman
    IND
    60 Cristobal Henriquez Villagra
    CHI
    ½-1½
    Jan-Krzysztof Duda
    POL
    61 Jeffery Xiong
    USA
    1½-½
    Igor Lysyj
    RUS
    62 Amin Tabatabaei
    IRI
    1½-½
    Bassem Amin
    EGY
    63 Benjamin Gledura
    HUN
    ½-1½
    Evgeniy Najer
    RUS
    64 Mohammad Fahad Rahman
    BAN
    ½-1½
    Anish Giri
    NED
    Official Brackets

    Round #1 Recap
    September 10-12, 2019

    Wojtaszek upset… Nihal shines

    Commentators marvel at World Cup because the diversity of players and the various formats in each match. Indeed there are the unknown players who qualified from their zonal tournaments getting a chance to share the stage with the world’s elite. Then there are those rising stars looking to supplant the veterans. Nodirbek Abdusattorov of Uzbekistan was the youngest in the field at 14. That led to a quip by Lawrence Trent

    Radoslaw Wojtaszek was the first big name to have an early exit after losing to Norway’s Johan-Sebastian Christiansen 2-0. Christiansen was overcome with joy after the result.

    Bu Xiangzhi was another victim losing in tiebreaks to 20-year old countryman Yu Xiangzhi. Bu has enjoyed a wonderful career and he will soon make way for the cadre of rising Chinese yet to arrive on the professional circuit. There was another exchange between Trent and Jan Gustafsson on the dangers of playing in the Chinese League among unrated players. “Not good for your Elo rating,” was the moral of the story.

    Perhaps the sensation of the round was the Nihal Sarin who won convincingly over Jorge Cori of Peru. His first game achieved plaudits from legendary players and the comparisons to Anatoly Karpov were commonplace.

    There has been a lot made of the Indian talents Sarin (15), Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa (14) and Dommaraju Gukesh (13). There has been quite a bit of attention given to the recent push to develop Indian talent. Most recently a group of young Indian prodigies attended a camp conducted by Vladimir Kramnik and hosted by ChessBase. Sagar Shah of ChessBase India was on the scene. With Viswanathan Anand also lending his leadership, India will be looking to improve its #4 position in the world.

    There were 28 Russians starting this event and they had their own young talents including 17-year old Andrey Esipenko winning over former FIDE champion Ruslan Ponomariov. There was a controversy involving doping tests. Ponomariov was upset because the test took a couple of hours and did not allow him time to prepare for his next game which he lost badly. Dr. Marape Marape, Chairman of FIDE Medical Commission spoke on the matter to clarify.

    Levon Aronian escaped against Essam El-Gindy.
    Photo by khantymansiysk2019.fide.com

    Not too many upsets in the first round, but Levon Aronian nearly dropped his first game against Essam El-Gindy of Egypt before holding on to draw. He would win the next game and move on. As far as smaller federations, those from Asia, Latin America and Africa did not fare well. The balance of power has shifted eastward, but the transition has been gradual.

    Of course the Asian powerhouses China (#3) and India (#4) will go deep in the tournament, but chess is still in transformation and perhaps one day there will be a singular talent to come from an obscure country. Before Magnus Carlsen rise, Norway was not exactly a world power in chess and is still not a world power. However, it shows that one can rise if given the right opportunities and the World Cup is one such event.

    All Games (Round 1)

    Official: https://khantymansiysk2019.fide.com/en/
    chess24.com: https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/khanty-fide-world-cup-2019
    Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/

  8. The thrill of victory…

    …and the agony of defeat!

  9. 2019 World Chess Cup
    September 9th-October 4th, 2019
    (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    MATCH PAIRINGS (ROUND 2)
    Bracket 1
    1 Ding Liren
    CHN
    2½-1½
    Sergei Movsesian
    ARM
    2 Daniil Dubov
    RUS
    ½-1½
    Alireza Firouzja
    IRI
    3 Pentala Harikrishna
    IND
    1½-½
    Vladimir Fedoseev
    RUS
    4 Kirill Alekseenko
    RUS
    2½-1½
    Johan-Sebastian Christiansen
    DEN
    Bracket 2
    5 Alexander Grischuk
    RUS
    2½-1½
    Benjamin Bok
    NED
    6 Ernesto Inarkiev
    RUS
    ½-1½
    Xu Xiangyu
    CHN
    7 Wang Hao
    CHN
    1½-½
    Maxim Rodshtein
    ISR
    8 Nijat Abasov
    AZE
    1-3
    Leinier Domínguez
    USA
    Bracket 3
    9 Ian Nepomniachtchi
    RUS
    1½-½
    Alexandr Predke
    RUS
    10 Aravindh Chithambaram
    IND
    ½-1½
    Evgeny Tomashevsky
    RUS
    11 Wei Yi
    CHN
    2½-1½
    David Antón Guijarro
    ESP
    12 Baskaran Adhiban
    IND
    1½-2½
    Yu Yangyi
    CHN
    Bracket 4
    13 Sergey Karjakin
    RUS
    2-0
    Samuel Sevian
    USA
    14 Niclas Huschenbeth
    GER
    1-3
    Nikita Vitiugov
    RUS
    15 Vidit Gujrathi
    IND
    1½-½
    Aleksandr Rakhmanov
    RUS
    16 Anton Demchenko
    RUS
    ½-1½
    Wesley So
    USA
    Bracket 5
    17 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
    FRA
    2-0
    Igor Kovalenko
    LAT
    18 Gawain Jones
    ENG
    1-3
    Dmitry Jakovenko
    RUS
    19 Peter Svidler
    RUS
    3-1
    Andrey Esipenko
    RUS
    20 Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu
    GER
    1½-½
    Hikaru Nakamura
    USA
    Bracket 6
    21 Vladislav Artemiev
    RUS
    1½-½
    Ivan Cheparinov
    GEO
    22 Anton Korobov
    UKR
    ½-1½
    Le Quang Liem
    VIE
    23 Maxim Matlakov
    RUS
    2½-1½
    Boris Gelfand
    ISR
    24 Parham Maghsoodloo
    ENG
    ½-1½
    Levon Aronian
    ARM
    Bracket 7
    25 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
    AZE
    1½-½
    Rustam Kasimdzhanov
    UZB
    26 Nihal Sarin
    IND
    1½-2½
    Eltaj Safarli
    AZE
    27 Daniil Yuffa
    RUS
    5-3
    Luke McShane
    ENG
    28 Sanan Sjugirov
    RUS
    1½-2½
    Teimour Radjabov
    AZE
    Bracket 8
    29 Dmitry Andreikin
    RUS
    1½-½
    Rinat Jumabayev
    KAZ
    30 Tamir Nabaty
    ISR
    0-2
    Jan-Krzysztof Duda
    POL
    31 Jeffery Xiong
    USA
    3-1
    Amin Tabatabaei
    IRI
    32 Evgeniy Najer
    RUS
    4-5
    Anish Giri
    NED
    Official Brackets

    Round #2 Recap
    September 13-15, 2019

    Firouzja on fire! Twelve Russians advance to last 32

    Alireza Firouzja has become a sensation over the past couple of years since making an impression at the 2016 Chess Olympiad. At that time he was the 13-year old national champion of Iran and was playing fourth board behind Parham Maghsoodloo. He has since become the top Iranian player and has vaulted over 2700. In this tournament, he created a buzz with his win over Russia’s Daniil Dubov.

    His 37.exd6!! got a shower of gold coins and showed that this 16-year old is a huge talent. He advanced and will get a stiff test against the top seed Ding Liren.

    Another young prodigy in 15-year old GM Nihal Sarin received a lot of attention in this round after conducting a clinic on attacking the king. His win over Eltaj Safarli got high praise from Magnus Carlsen

    In severe time pressure, Nihal Sarin errs with 32…Rg6?? after which Eltaj Safarli snapped off the bishop with 33.Bxf2.

    The mating attack at the expense of Safarli drew comparisons to Anatoly Karpov, but perhaps the attention became too great for the 15-year old. In the next game, Safarli trotted out the Evans Gambit looking for a fight. It was the first time in his life and will probably be the last. Sagar Shah of ChessBase India did a deep analysis of this game and discussed the amount of time that Nihal was spending on each move… some of them simple recaptures. By move 16, Nihal had 24 moves to make in 10 minutes! Then disaster struck…

    Some figured that he was thinking he rook was already on f8. In fact, any reasonable move with his a8-rook would be enough for a draw. It is heartbreaking to see so much energy put into a game and have it lost on a simple mistakes, but that’s chess. It can be a cruel game sometimes. Unfortunately for Sarin he also lost the tiebreaks. Let’s hope that he learns from the experience and that he moves on from this loss quickly.

    Wei Yi is a player who has quietly entered the third round. Many have been wondering if the Chinese prodigy has stopped improving, but he shows that he is still a dangerous opponent. He will face his compatriot Yu Yangyi next. Perhaps the most exciting match was Daniel Yuffa versus Luke McShane, the world’s strongest amateur player.

    Mikhail BotvinnikMikhail Tal
    24th World Championship, 28 April 1961
    Black wins 83…Bf4+

    In the first game, there was an intriguing ending that arose with K+B+B vs. K+N. Yuffa was trying to pry the knight away from McShane, but was unable to convert the TableBase win. McShane went for the toughest defense which is to keep the knight on b2, b7, g2 or g7. McShane shuffled his knight from g7 to e8 for several moves then ran down to the b2 square with his knight and set up the same structure. A draw was granted.

    Forced mate with best play from both sides is 66-78 moves depending on the configuration. However there are cases like in Dreev-Cabrera (2005) where the Russian won the bishop due to a blunder. Mikhail Tal also beat Mikhail Botvinnik (WCh 1961, Game 17) in only seven moves after achieving the K+B+B vs. K+N. Jan Timman was also successful against Jonathan Speelman (Linares 1992).

    Yuffa went on to win 5-3 and is one of a dozen Russians to make it to the round of 32. The usual suspects are still in the hunt with Sergey Karjakin, Alexander Grischuk, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Peter Svidler, Nikita Vitiugov, Dmitry Jakovenko, Dmitry Andreikin, Evgeny Tomashevsky and Vladislav Artemiev advancing. Besides Yuffa, Maxim Matlakov and Kiriil Alekseenko finish the contingent. Starting with 28/128 (21%) they improved with 12/32 (37%).

    One of the vanquished Russian was former European Champion Evgeny Najer who lost a wild match to Anish Giri. Daniel King gave a synopsis of the key tiebreak games.

    As far as the Americans, Hikaru Nakamura was surprisingly eliminated from the tournament. Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu discussed the first game featuring a queen sacrifice. It was suspected that Nakamura had gotten the move order wrong and was punished for it. Nisipeanu was very gracious in his comments during an interview. With Sam Shankland and Nakamura gone, Wesley So, Jeffery Xiong and Leinier Dominguez advance to the round of 32. Who is now the youngest of the event?

    Very good! This pun went viral for good reason. While Jeffery will always be the Xiongest, Iran’s Alireza Firouzja is now the youngest at 16.

    All Games (Round 2)

    Official: https://khantymansiysk2019.fide.com/en/
    chess24.com: https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/khanty-fide-world-cup-2019
    Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/

  10. 2019 World Chess Cup
    September 9th-October 4th, 2019
    (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    MATCH PAIRINGS (ROUND 3)
    Bracket 1
    1 Ding Liren
    CHN
    3-1
    Alireza Firouzja
    IRI
    2 Pentala Harikrishna
    IND
    0-2
    Kirill Alekseenko
    RUS
    Bracket 2
    3 Alexander Grischuk
    RUS
    2-0
    Xu Xiangyu
    CHN
    4 Wang Hao
    CHN
    3½-4½
    Leinier Domínguez
    USA
    Bracket 3
    5 Ian Nepomniachtchi
    RUS
    5-3
    Evgeny Tomashevsky
    RUS
    6 Wei Yi
    CHN
    1½-2½
    Yu Yangyi
    CHN
    Bracket 4
    7 Sergey Karjakin
    RUS
    ½-1½
    Nikita Vitiugov
    RUS
    8 Vidit Gujrathi
    IND
    ½-1½
    Wesley So
    USA
    Bracket 5
    9 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
    FRA
    4½-3½
    Dmitry Jakovenko
    RUS
    10 Peter Svidler
    RUS
    2½-1½
    Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu
    GER
    Bracket 6
    11 Vladislav Artemiev
    RUS
    2½-3½
    Le Quang Liem
    VIE
    12 Maxim Matlakov
    RUS
    ½-1½
    Levon Aronian
    ARM
    Bracket 7
    13 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
    AZE
    1½-½
    Eltaj Safarli
    AZE
    14 Daniil Yuffa
    RUS
    ½-1½
    Teimour Radjabov
    AZE
    Bracket 8
    15 Dmitry Andreikin
    RUS
    ½-1½
    Jan-Krzysztof Duda
    POL
    16 Jeffery Xiong
    USA
    3½-2½
    Anish Giri
    NED
    Official Brackets

    Xiong upsets Giri…five Russians advance…
    Wesley So cruises

    Jeffery Xiong at 2019 World Open. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

    Jeffery Xiong provoked sharp battles to upset Anish Giri
    Photo by Daaim Shabazz

    Down to the “Sweet Sixteen” at the 2019 FIDE World Cup. There were a couple of surprises in today’s action as Jeffrey Xiong took down Anish Giri. The match went six games and ended when Xiong delivered a blistering attack.

    Outstanding!

    Xiong was surprised at the result and mentioned in the post-match interview that his strategy was to make the games complicated. His 22…Rxh3!? in second rapid tiebreak showed tremendous courage. All of the games in the tiebreak were tense and the young American phenom showed that he has the ability to keep his calm during tense moments. He plays Jan-Krzysztof Duda of Poland in the next round.

    The other surprise of the round was Pentala Harikrishna bowing out to Kirill Alekseenko, a promising 22-year old Russian. He would lose both games to the disappointment to the massive Indian fan base. Vidit Gujrathi was also eliminated. There was ample coverage of the Indian players by ChessBase India and we can expect their players to go deeper in future tournaments.

    Vidit Gujrathi. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

    Vidit Gujrathi was ousted by Wesley So, but a bright future awaits.
    Photo by Kirill Merkuryev

    Not much is know about the Russian star who earned his GM title in 2015. He has won the Chigorin Memorial three times and competed in the 2018 European Individuals scoring 7/11 and beating Vassily Ivanchuk in the process. Alekseenko has had an auspicious World Cup debut advancing to the 4th round. He will play top-seed Ding Liren who outclassed Alireza Firouzja winning both tiebreak rapid games.

    Alireza Firouzja showed flashes against Dubov
    Photo by Kirill Merkuryev

    Ding has been able to get through quite comfortably although he claims that he is not in top form yet. This match was highly anticipated since Firouzja is one of the world’s most active streamers at Twitch. He also played a brilliancy against Daniil Dubov (37.exd6!!). However, facing a 2800 is a totally different beast.

    In the first rapid game, Ding won a game that appeared to be completely drawn. He stated he had more time on the clock so he continued to play on. The second game was a complete demolition as Firouzja took chances with the white pieces, but was thoroughly crushed. So the Iranian will exit having made an impression. This trend shows that the balance of power has shifted and China, India and Iran are producing prodigious talents.

    Five Russians made it to the next round, but not the ones most anticipated. Sergey Karjakin, Vladislav Artemiev and Dmitri Andreikin are headed home. On the other hand, Alexander Grishuk and Peter Svidler will lead the Russian contingent. Svidler beat Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu in the battle of personalities (earring vs. pony tail).

    Grischuk’s nice tactical flourish in the first game (37…Bxe5!) won him plaudits from chess fans around the world…

    Not to be outdone, he finished off the overachieving Xu Xiangyu with an impressive positional squeeze.

    While Russia has five players remaining, the U.S. has Xiong, So and Leinier Dominguez. A Cuban national, Dominguez switched his federation last year and has a chance to advance further. His last match with Wang Hao was thrilling as the tiebreaks featured two successful “win on demand” situations. He won the first of the 5’+3″ and held the draw in the second to win the match.

    Maxime Vachier Lagrave went eight games before beating Dmitry Jakovenko and Le Quang Liem advanced over Vladislav Artemiev.

    Official: https://khantymansiysk2019.fide.com/en/
    chess24.com: https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/khanty-fide-world-cup-2019
    Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/

  11. 2019 World Chess Cup
    September 9th-October 4th, 2019
    (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    MATCH PAIRINGS (ROUND 4)
    1 Ding Liren
    CHN
    3-1
    Kirill Alekseenko
    RUS
    2 Alexander Grischuk
    RUS
    2½-1½
    Leinier Domínguez
    USA
    3 Ian Nepomniachtchi
    RUS
    ½-1½
    Yu Yangyi
    CHN
    4 Vitiugov, Nikita
    RUS
    1½-½
    Wesley So
    USA
    5 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
    FRA
    1½-½
    Peter Svidler
    RUS
    6 Le Quang Liem
    VIE
    2½-3½
    Levon Aronian
    ARM
    7 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
    AZE
    2½-3½
    Teimour Radjabov
    AZE
    8 Jan-Krzysztof Duda
    POL
    3½-4½
    Jeffery Xiong
    USA
    Official Brackets

    Then there were eight…

    Starting with 128 competitors from around the world, the World Cup will be decided in about a week. Remaining are two Russians, two Chinese, one Armenia, one Azeri, one Frenchman and one American. Starting the competition, Jeffery Xiong would have been the most improbable American to reach round five, but his focus, cool demeanor and daring play has gotten him to the quarterfinals. He won a thrilling tiebreaker against Jan-Krzysztof Duda of Poland.

    Jeffery Xiong at 2019 World Open. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

    Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Jeffery Xiong yielded one draw in eight games
    Photo by Kirill Merkuryev

    This match lasted eight games with Xiong winning on demand twice and Duda once. It appeared that the American had more chances in the match gaining an edge in the first game, but losing his way despite being an exchange up. He also missed a winning attack in game five. In a match where white won every game, Xiong said he felt confident even after falling behind in the match twice. Such bloodletting is unusual in a match.

    Why would Xiong play 28…Rh8-e8 removing his rook from an aggressive post to protect a measly pawn? It was one of the mysteries of the thrilling match.

    Objectively, it wasn’t as much the dominance of white as it was some of the mistakes that were made in the match. In game four, Duda went 1.a3 and got a strange position against Xiong’s Dragon setup. Again… Xiong got a winning position only to drop an exchange and cede another tiebreak.

    In game five, Xiong trotted out the Caro Kann and got another overwhelming position. After his pieces were aimed at the white king ready to deliver a knockout blow, he missed the winning 28….Ng3+! and inexplicably played 28…Re8?? To move an attacking rook on h8 to protect a pawn on e6 was strange indeed and gave Duda the time to unravel and focus on his own counterattack. The tables turned and Xiong had to win another game on demand.

    Duda never quite equalized with his Petroff, but then Xiong took a chance with 18.Ne5!? At this point fatigue may have been setting in as mistakes were piling up. In a drawn ending, black allowed white to raid the kingside pawns and gain a passer which eventually morphed into a queen. Despite queening a pawn, Duda never got a chance to move his new queen and resigned two moves before checkmate.

    After a draw, Xiong trotted out the Four Pawns Attack against the Alekhine, an opening you don’t often see at top level, but it is psychologically intimidating. Xiong got a strong attack against the king and the game became complicated, but salvageable. In the ensuing complications, Duda collapsed and crash out of the tournament.

    Jeffery Xiong at 2019 World Open. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

    Jeffery Xiong showed courage and determination
    Photo by Kirill Merkuryev

    In the Ding-Alekseenko, the Cinderella story ended for the Russian as the Chinese player proved to be too strong in the rapid tiebreaks. He upset Pentala Harikrishna and had his chances against Ding Liren. In the classical games, Ding was put under pressure in both games, but was able to hold. In the rapid, Ding dominated play and the Russian crashed out.

    The Grischuk-Dominguez game was interesting, but the Cuban player lost a textbook ending by mixing the move order.

    Grischuk got crushed in the second game when he overextended his attack. After the win, Dominguez got nothing in his Italian game. In the last rapid game, he appeared to get lost in the complications and ended up down a piece. It would be the end for Dominguez who had previously played for Cuba making it to round 3 in 2007, round 2 in 2009, round 4 in 2011, round 3 in 2013 and round 3 in 2015. In 2017, he was in the process of switching federations.

    Nikita Vituigov won a nice game against Wesley So in a study-like bishop ending. In the end the b-pawn stood for 20 moves at b7 tying up any hopes of black counterplay. In the end, the pawn promotion resulted in a mating attack for white and So was eliminated.

    Teimour Radjabov was a projected world championship contender 20 years ago.
Will he have another chance in the World Cup? Photo by Kirill Merkuryev

    Teimour Radjabov was a projected world championship contender 20 years ago. Will he have another chance in the World Cup? Photo by Kirill Merkuryev

    A couple of matches had storylines. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was playing longtime friend Teimour Radjabov. There is always discomfort in playing someone you know. The first five games were rather uneventful and there was a thought that the two were going easy on each other. In the end someone had to advance. Shakh’s 35.Nxf7!? Kxf7 36.f5.

    In the end, white didn’t have enough compensation and his position collapsed rather quickly. With Radjabov not being on the professional circuit these days, this may be his last chance to qualify for the candidates. Mamedyarov will have other opportunities. Yu Yangyi upset Ian Nepomniachtchi with a brilliant queenless attack. Nepo’s bishops were caught offside and white broke through. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Levon Aronian and Yu will advance to the final eight.

    Official: https://khantymansiysk2019.fide.com/en/
    chess24.com: https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/khanty-fide-world-cup-2019
    Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/

  12. Xiong’s graceful exit of ’19 World Cup

    GM Jeffery Xiong at 2019 World Cup
    Photo by Kirill Merkuryev

    Jeffery Xiong’s run at the 2019 World Cup is over, but will not be forgotten for a long time. In perhaps his biggest moment on one of the world’s biggest stages, the 18-year old exceeded all expectations by reaching the quarterfinals. His combination of creativity, courage, and principled play won the hearts of many fans who were seeing him for the first time.

    Many of us in the U.S. have seen Jeffery as sure as we saw Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana trod the halls of American Swiss tournaments. In fact, Jeffery has cut his teeth on these competitive events and was most recently captured in a tiebreak against Le Quang Liem during the 2019 World Open. A 2016 U.S. Junior Champion, he is rounding out a banner year and now sits on a 2712 live rating surpassing Sam Shankland.

    (Then IM) Jeffery Xiong defeating GM Lazaro Bruzon at 2015 Chicago Open
    Photo by Daaim Shabazz

    Jeffery’s run in Khanty-Mansiysk was accented by wins over Anish Giri and Jan-Krzysztof Duda during which he showed courage and it paid off. His clinching win over Giri was a crowning achievement over an elite player.

    Shocked at the result, Jeffery recounted in the interview that he had a strategy of playing for complications and getting Giri out of his preparation. For Giri, it was a disappointing end to what would have been an opportune time to qualify for the Candidates tournament. Nevertheless, the world discovered a new star on the horizon.

    Traveling with his father Wayne Xiong, he advanced to face the Polish phenom Duda. This match reached epic proportions going eight games with six decisive games to start the match. After Jeffery staved off elimination twice, he won the last 5’+3″ blitz game in style.

    Against Teimour Radjabov, he played one of the most exciting games of the round with so many twists and turns. In the end, he missed some crucial moves in the time scramble, but delighted fans with his positive attitude and humble demeanor. Leontxo Garcia wrote a nice article about the young American and marveled at the 45-minute postmortem.

    Leontxo Garcia (left) watches the Radjabov-Xiong postmortem. Wayne Xiong is seated. Photo by Kirill Merkuryev

    Thus, he ended with a solid result and won a legion of fans worldwide including a few more in the U.S. While the most of the chess world may have never heard of Xiong, he has long been touted as a supreme talent in the American chess scene. If Garcia’s article is prescient, Xiong’s curiosity about Europe may find him playing more high-level chess overseas. He will also be positioning himself for a spot on the U.S. Olympiad team for next year. A bright future awaits!

    2019 World Chess Cup
    September 9th-October 4th, 2019
    (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    MATCH PAIRINGS (Quarterfinals)
    1 Jeffery Xiong
    USA
    1½-½
    Igor Lysyj
    RUS
    2 Jeffery Xiong
    USA
    3-1
    Amin Tabatabaei
    IRI
    3 Jeffery Xiong
    USA
    3½-2½
    Anish Giri
    ARM
    4 Jeffery Xiong
    USA
    4½-3½
    Jan-Krzysztof Duda
    POL
    5 Jeffery Xiong
    USA
    ½-1½
    Teimour Radjabov
    AZE
    Official Brackets

    Official: https://khantymansiysk2019.fide.com/en/
    chess24.com: https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/khanty-fide-world-cup-2019
    Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/

  13. 2019 World Chess Cup
    September 9th-October 4th, 2019
    (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    MATCH PAIRINGS (Quarterfinals)
    1 Ding Liren
    CHN
    1½-½
    Alexander Grischuk
    RUS
    2 Yu Yangyi
    CHN
    5-4
    Vitiugov, Nikita
    RUS
    3 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
    FRA
    2½-1½
    Levon Aronian
    ARM
    4 Teimour Radjabov
    AZE
    1½-½
    Jeffery Xiong
    USA
    Official Brackets

    Xiong’s run is over… Russia is out… China guaranteed a finalist

    One of the most remarkable stories of the 2019 World Cup has been the performance of Jeffery Xiong, the 18-year old rising star from Plano, Texas, USA. As with any tournament with elite players, one has to traverse many landmines and have a bit of fortune on one’s side.

    Xiong took his share of chances, won several beautiful games and in the end, had a performance of a lifetime. His loss to Teimour Radjabov did not tarnish his tournament and it may have given observers an idea of his fighting resolve. He indeed made a graceful exit.

    Yu Yangyi’s win guarantees a Chinese finalist
    Photo by Kirill Merkuryev

    One of the developments that has shown the changing balance of power in chess is the presence of China’s two semi-finalist despite only starting with seven players. On the other hand, Russia started with 28(!) players and none got past the quarterfinals. This also happened in 2017 World Cup in Tblisi, Georgia. As shocking as it may seem, it appears that the era of Russian dominance is long past.

    Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan is one product for the Russian School of Chess having been a child prodigy made famous by beating Garry Kasparov at Linares at age 15. He actually created a small controversy when Kasparov protested his winning of the “most beautiful game” prize. In playing Xiong, Radjabov avoided being on the other side of history. He will face Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (MVL) in the semifinals.

    MVL ousted aspirant Levon Aronian after the Armenian blundered in a fit of time pressure. It was a very disappointing end for Aronian who was the defending champion and also won the World Cup in 2005. In fact, Aronian beat MVL in the semifinals in 2017.

    Facing further tiebreaks, Aronian uncorked an exchange sacrifice hoping to capitalize off of white’s exposed king with his powerful knight. In fact, MVL blundered with 30.Rxe3 giving black a winning attack. After 30…Qxe3+ 31.Kh2 black missed the powerful 31…Ne4! initiating a mating attack on the white king. The white queen can only look on helplessly.

    Aronian had outplayed the Frenchman with the exchange sacrifice, but lost the thread after 37…h5?? with 38.Rf3 winning a piece.

    Aronian played 31…Qe2+?! and could’ve repeated the winning idea, but snapped the pawn with 32…Nxd3? helping to rid white of a barrier to protect his own kingside. In addition, the move set the knight on the wrong course. Lost for an idea, Aronian played 37…h5? and white seized a chance to stitch together a defense with 38.Qd1. Suffering from a blindspot, Aronian played 38…h4?? and tossed a piece after 39.Rf3. Overcome by his oversight, he played on seeking to liquidate pawns and set up a blockade, but it would not be. MVL finished the game in fine style.

    Aronian wasn’t the only player by a blunder.

    Nikita Vitiugov and Yu Yangyi had a fierce battle that carried all the way to the Armageddon game. Both had played spirited game, but neither could gain an edge. There was a trade of wins in the 10’+10″ segment. After a couple of draws in the 5’+3″ the to went to the final Armageddon game. White would have five minutes to black’s four, but would have to win to advance. Black need only a draw to win the match.

    Something very strange happen. Perhaps fatigue had set as we saw in the MVL-Aronian battle. In the opening moves, the Chinese player had a total mental lapse…

    Unbelievable!

    After 9.Be4?? 10.Nxg2 Kf2 10.Nxf4, Yu was down two pawns by move nine. This was not a sacrifice and there was no compensation in sight! When one is losing in blitz, it’s important to complicate matters as much as possible. Yu went forward to do this and took chances. Nevertheless, Vitiugov had a chance to end the game immediately after 17…Qc5! threatening to win the Nd4 and a deadly discovered check on the Qh5.

    After Vitiugov’s 34…Rc8?? Yu played 35.Rg8+!

    After this missed opportunity, Yu used the open lines created by the missing f- and g-pawns to penetrate black’s camp. Soon he had doubled rooks on the seventh! Yu had a chance to win the exchange with 32.Rce7 and 33.Nd7+, but missed it. As the Russian realized he had allowed white a winning position, he scrambled to simplify and played 34…Rc8?? Yu pounced with the cute 35.Rg8+! and after 35…Rxg8 36.Rxc8+ white wins a rook after 37.Nxg8. Vitiugov played on a few more moves seemingly by reflex, but resigned the humiliating game. The aftermath of the game was even more crushing than the loss itself. Vitiugov was seen sitting in his seat shellshocked after everyone had left the hall. Brutal loss that will sting for many years to come.

    The tournament will continue tomorrow with a Chinese derby Yu-Ding and MVL-Radjabov.

    Official: https://khantymansiysk2019.fide.com/en/
    chess24.com: https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/khanty-fide-world-cup-2019
    Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/

  14. 2019 World Chess Cup
    September 9th-October 4th, 2019
    (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    SEMI-FINALS
    Ding Liren vs. Yu Yangyi
     
    Flag
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    6
    7
    8
    9
    pts.
    Ding
    ½
    ½
    ½
    1
    Yu
    ½
    ½
    ½
    0
    Teimour Radjabov vs. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
     
    Flag
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    6
    7
    8
    9
    pts.
    Radjabov
    ½
    1
    MVL
    ½
    0
    ½
    Official Brackets

    Ding wins Chinese derby… will face Radjabov in finals!

    The table is set… both Ding Liren and Teimour Radjabov will meet in the final match of the 2019 World Cup. Both also qualify for the Candidates tournament to be held in the early part of 2020. Radjabov, who returned from a hiatus, upset Maxime Vachier-Lagrave to advance. Ding, the top seed, defeated compatriot Yu Yangyi to advance. Yu defeated both Ian Nepomniachtchi and Nikita Vitiugov, but was certainly fortunate in the latter match.

    The Ding-Yu match raised speculation that the Chinese would decide that Ding would lose the match so that two Chinese could be in the Candidates. Ding is already poised to qualify by rating. The British newspaper The Guardian displayed no class when hinting that Chinese would engage in collusion so that Yu would advance. This is a very cynical view and certainly insulting to the Chinese Chess Federation.

    Ding Liren and Yu Yangyi battle in the semifinals, a historic account. Few have mentioned the historicity of two Chinese players making the semis for the first time. What makes the feat more remarkable is that only seven Chinese players entered the World Cup. Photo by Kirill Merkuryev

    There were two interesting classical games. The first was tense but ended in three-fold repetition; the second ended after black had a perpetual check. This game was a Nimzo-Indian which ended up with a strange position. The commentators warned the fans not to try these type of strategies in their games. White’s king was sitting on e1 next to an open d-file and after 18.Rh3 had lost all castling privileges. The bishop was also on f1 and the e-, f-, and g-pawns had not moved. Meanwhile, black’s pieces were active.

    White’s exposed king seemed to be in trouble, but would try to help shepard the pawn advantage to victory. Unfortunately, the king had no shelter from the checks and the two agreed to a draw. In the first rapid tiebreak, Yu Yangyi took a risk with 8.d5?! and lost the initiative after 8…Na5 and 9…Nxc4. Black had an extra pawn, but Yu was able to hold the balance. The next game would be a fierce fight.

    In the second tiebreak, Yu trotted out a novelty in 13…Nd7!? and proceeded to sacrifice the exchange after 16…Nxd5!? 17.Bh7+ Kh8 18.Ng6+ (diagram 1) Kxh7 19.Nxf8+. It was interesting how deep Yu’s preparation was as his pieces were swarming white’s position. Black collected two pawns for the exchange, but made a miscalculation 26…Qe6 instead of the more active 26…Qxd4. Despite the inaccuracy, black looked fine after 29…Re2 (diagram 2).

    A tactical melee ensued and black was holding the dynamically-equal position until he had to blitz out 33…h4? driving the imprisoned queen to an active square with 34.Qg5. Perhaps black should bail out with 34…Ba2 winning the exchange back and heading for a probable draw. After 34…Rxc7? Yu missed that 35.Rxb2+ Qxb2?? would be met by 36.Qd8+ with a winning position. Instead black remained down an exchange in a clarified position. With white’s rooks ready to invade the 7th rank, black resigned.


    “Ding also refuted the conspiracy theory that he might lose on purpose today, to get two Chinese players into the Candidates’ tournament. That was because if he hadn’t qualified via the World Cup, Ding would have almost certainly qualified by rating.”

    ~Peter Doggers, chess.com


    Many believe that Ding is a rightful challenger to Magnus Carlsen. No less a personality than Garry Kasparov touted Ding’s worthiness after beating Carlsen in a tiebreaker during the 2019 Sinquefield Cup. This is all the more important since Carlsen will not be able to settle for draws in the classical games and overwhelm in the quicker time control. He defended successfully against Fabiano Caruana using this strategy. He was even criticized for not pushing for a win in a better position in game 12.

    After a hiatus, Teimour Radjabov is #10 in the world
    and is going to the Candidates.
    Photo by Kirill Merkuryev

    Before we declare Ding as the challenger, he has to win the Candidates. Teimour Radjabov will have a long-awaited shot at the title. Radjabov started a family and withdrew from the professional circuit for 13 months, but did play in the Olympiad. He will have a chance to redeem himself from his last Candidates appearance in 2013 where he scored an abysmal 4/14 (+1-7=6). Beating MVL was quite a feat given the Frenchman’s penchant for deep preparation. Radjabov played a brilliant attacking game squashing hopes for the Frenchman to qualify for the Candidates.

    Radjabov will be the underdog against Ding, but it is fine form. The match resumes on Monday.

    Official: https://khantymansiysk2019.fide.com/en/
    chess24.com: https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/khanty-fide-world-cup-2019
    Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/

  15. 2019 World Chess Cup
    September 9th-October 4th, 2019
    (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
    FINALS
     
    Flag
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    6
    7
    8
    9
    10
    pts.
    Ding Liren
    ½
    1
    0
    ½
    ½
    ½
    ½
    ½
    0
    0
    4
    Radjabov
    ½
    0
    1
    ½
    ½
    ½
    ½
    ½
    1
    1
    6
    3rd-4th PLACE
     
    Flag
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    6
    7
    8
    9
    10
    pts.
    Vachier-Lagrave
    ½
    ½
    ½
    ½
    1
    1
    4
    Yu Yangyi
    ½
    ½
    ½
    ½
    0
    0
    2
    Official Brackets

    FINALS Recap
    4 October 2019

    Teimour Radjabov win 2019 World Cup!

    This year’s World Cup had some interesting twists and turns. New faces emerged as world beaters as the world got a chance to look at bright talents such as Jeffery Xiong and Alireza Firouzja. However, it was the usual faces that made it to the semifinals. In fact, two of the players (Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Ding Liren) were in the semifinals two years ago.

    In an unprecedented result, Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan won the 2019 World Cup by defeating Ding Liren of China for the $110,000 first prize. He also qualified for the 2020 Candidates tournament and made the implicit announcement that his hiatus from top-level play is over. Despite the defeat, Ding also qualified for the Candidates and won the $80,000 second place prize.

    Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (MVL) defeated Yu Yangyi of China, and qualifying for a possible wild card spot in the Candidates. This is a new feature in the Candidates cycle giving the 3rd-4th place match new relevance. In fact, MVL can also qualify through the FIDE Grand Prix, but has decided to skip the Isle of Man qualifier. He won $60,000 while Yu Yangyi got $50,000.

    Few could have predicted that Teimour Radjabov would be standing after five rounds of play. After defeating Vachier-Lagrave, the Azeri play got a chance to win against top seed Ding Liren in the final. Ding had defeated his compatriot Yu Yangyi in the semifinals and would make a return to the finals.

    In 2017, he lost to Levon Aronian, but interestingly enough, he was a cinch to qualify for the Candidates on rating. The pressure was not so great.
    Radjabov had already played a remarkable tournament, but had to face and in-form Ding Liren who had defeated Magnus Carlsen this summer at the 2019 Sinquefield Cup. Radjabov won the match on the strength of winning the blitz tiebreaker after Ding missed some key opportunities.

    Ding Liren goes down in consecutive World Cup finals.
    Photo by Kirill Merkuryev

    MVL also took both of the tiebreak games and showed impeccable endgame technique in the first 25’+10″ game after surprising Yu in the opening. In the second game, Yu tried 7.Qa4+ against the Grunfeld and after 7…Nd7!? Wei Yi had played the same move against Yu in their third round matchup. That game was drawn. Yu tried a different approach against MVL, and was demolished quickly.

    It had been a long tournament. The finalists and semifinalists had been in Khanty-Mansiysk for three weeks, not to mention Ding’s summer rigorous schedule. Radjabov did not appear to be emotional after winning his biggest result of the past few years. He did mention the exhaustion. Here was his reaction…

    Video by FIDE

    This result does beg the question. Now that Ding and Yu have lost, the all-China semifinals seemed to unsettle the Chinese. Ding had already qualified (in rating) while Yu will have no chances to qualify.

    With China on the cusp of challenging for the world title, they will certainly examine what needs to happen to get to the next level. It seemed that there was less stability as the tournament wore on. Was it fatigue? Perhaps. If Ding wins the Candidates, China will be in a good position to make a title run.

    However, the story will be Radjabov’s comeback. Will he be able to parlay his success at the World Cup into the Candidates where he will be facing formidable competition every round. He hopes to improve on his disastrous 2013 account, but for now, he will enjoy his glory and perhaps last stand for the world title!

    Official: https://khantymansiysk2019.fide.com/en/
    chess24.com: https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/khanty-fide-world-cup-2019
    Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/

  16. Full Broadcast (FINALS, Game 1)

    Full Broadcast (FINALS, Game 2)

    Full Broadcast (FINALS, Game 3)

    Full Broadcast (FINALS, Game 4)

    Full Broadcast (FINALS, Part 1, TIEBREAKS)

    Full Broadcast (FINALS, Part 2, TIEBREAKS)

    Video by FIDE

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