2019 World Cup: Round #2

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/

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

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