2021 FIDE World Cup: Round #1

Round 1, Game 1

Monday, 12 July 2021

Sizzling start at the 2021 World Cup in Sochi!
Chile’s Salinas uncorks brilliancy…
Egypt’s Moaataz upsets Ushenina

With 78 games today in the open, there were massive expectations as players from 93 federations kicked off the World Cup in Sochi, Russia. The top 50 seeds received byes, but the rest would entertain the chess world longing to see a variety of classical games.

For the women, the top 25 received byes and will advance to the second round automatically. Aleksandra Goraychkina, a championship contender, is the top see who recently crossed the 2600 rating. She is only the 6th woman to ever achieve this.


Egypt’s Ayah Moaataz
Photo by Egyptian Chess Federation

Today’s biggest upset was Egypt’s Ayah Moaataz who brutally mated former women’s World Champion, Anna Ushenina. The Ukrainian won the women’s world championship, but has had shown periods of sluggishness and disinterest. In today’s chess, preparation has become so much more important and even a player outrated by 300-400 Elo can find the motivation. In the game against Moaataz, Ushenina failed to capitalize on an opening mistake after 15.axb5?? Bd5! winning material.

Her text move 15…Nxc2 was still winning, but lost significant momentum after Moaataz complicated matters with 19.Rxb4!? Nevertheless, Ushenina was still better. Fast forward to Moaataz’s 34.Rd4? the evaluation ballooned to -6.29. Despite this evaluation and being a rook up, black’s weakness became an issue and Ushenina lost her sense of danger. After 38…Rbd7?? the Egyptian didn’t miss her chance and was mating after 39.Qg8+ Kg6 40.f5+ Kh5 40.Qh7! mating. Wonderful win for Moaataz!

The Open section did not have much in the way of drama, but there was a close call in Nihal Sarin’s game. ChessBase India was covering the games and there was a dark mood in the chat. Arthur Ssegwanyi of Uganda had outplayed the Indian prodigy for 30 moves before he started shuffling his pieces around in an aimless way. His Rh1-h3-h1-a1 was puzzling. The Qc1-d2-c1-a3-a2 also lost a lot of time as black slowly mounted an attack on the g-file. The Ugandan IM had totally lost the thread on the position and after 48.Rb1 Nf7 49.Ke3?? Qh4! A disappointing result for Ssegwanyi.

As far as the other games, most ended with the favorite coming out on top. There was one game that GM Nigel Short stated should be showered with gold coins and that was Pablo Salinas Herrera’s brilliant win. Daniel Naroditsky had fellow GMs Hou Yifan and Veselin Topalov on the chess.com broadcast as they seem astounded.

As far as the African players, it was not a good day as only one player scored a victory and that player (Ahmed Adly) was winning his compatriot Abdelrahman Hesham. Here are the results of African players. GM Bassem Amin has a bye.

Africans at World Chess Cup
July 12th-August 6th, 2021 (Sochi, Russia)
Round #1, Game #1 (Open)
1 IM Daniel Barrish
RSA
0-1
GM Aryan Tari
NOR
2 GM Adham Fawzy
EGY
½-½
GM Evgeny Alekseev
RUS
3 GM Hovhannes Gabuzyan
ARM
1-0
GM Bilel Bellahcene
ALG
4 FM Sergio Miguel
ANG
0-1
GM Ivan Sarc
CRO
5 CM Chiletso Chipanga
MAW
0-1
GM Adhiban Baskiran
IND
6 GM Vladislav Kovalev
FID
1-0
IM Rodwell Makoto
ZIM
7 IM Olanrewaju Ajibola
NGR
0-1
GM Alexey Sarana
RUS
8 IM Arthur Ssegwangyi
UGA
0-1
GM Nihal Sarin
IND
9 GM Ahmed Adly
EGY
1-0
GM Abdelrahman Hesham
EGY
10 GM Haik Martirosyan
ARM
1-0
IM Chitumbo Mwali
ZAM
11 GM David Paravyan
RUS
1-0
IM Mohamed Tissir
MAR
12 GM Alexander Motylev
RUS
1-0
FM Abobker Mohamed Elarabi
LBA
Round #1, Game #1 (Women)
1 IM Nataliya Buksa
UKR
1-0
WIM Sabrina Latreche
ALG
2 GM Valentian Guinina
RUS
1-0
WIM Jesse February
RSA
3 IM Almira Skripchenko
FRA
1-0
WGM Shahenda Wafa
EGY
4 WGM Shrook Wafa
EGY
0-1
IM Laura Unuk
CRO
5 WGM Amina Mezioud
ALG
0-1
IM Iulija Omonova
UZB
Official Pairings

Ahmed Adly (Egypt)

Egypt’s GM Ahmed Adly
Photo by Eric Rosen

Games (Open)

Games (Women)

Video by FIDE Chess

Video by ChessBase India

Critical Links: official site, YouTube, Twitter #FIDEWorldCup2021, Results

5 Comments

  1. Round 1, Game 2

    Tuesday, 13 July 2021

    Most favorites go through!
    Zambia’s Chitumbo Mwali crushes GM…
    Algeria’s Latreche gets 400-point upset; Ushenina bounces back

    Chitumbo Mwali

    IM Chitumbo Mwali

    Zambia is one of the strongest chess federations in Africa. Its most famous son has to be Amon Simutowe, the country’s first Grandmaster. There are other talents dotting the chess landscape and several have competed creditably on the world’s largest stages. Zambia came in 47th in the 2010 Chess Olympiad despite being ranked 121st. IM Chitumbo Mwali carried this history along with the Zambian flag to Sochi and scored a historic victory to even his match.

    Mwali faced Armenian blitz specialist GM Haik Martirosyan in a must-win situation. In an English Opening, Mwali had an interesting setup that appeared to bear Sicilian qualities. The first 15 moves were unremarkable, but then a skirmish broke out after 18…c6 19.d4 cxb5 20.axb5 Qxb5. Tension on the queenside was released and it appeared that black’s a-pawn would be an important factor. It never moved again.

    In fact, Martirosyan begins to show some carelessness after 22…f5?! The Zambian seized on the moment with 23.Nd4! and the tide slowly began to shift. With the black king stuck in the middle of the board, the Armenian belted out 26…f4?! (diagram) and was under fire after 27.Nd6+ Bxd6 28.exd6.

    Mwali nearly threw away his advantage after the hasty 31.Rc7, but Martirosyan panicked with 31…Bd7. As time pressure crept up, black made a gross blunder with 33…Ne4?? 34.Re2! winning the knight. Black’s position further deteriorated and massive losses occurred. Historic result and Zambians were happy!

    Tiebreaks are looming and the Zambian will need to be ready.

    There were a few cases (besides Mwali) where a win was needed on demand. GM Bilel Bellahcene (Algeria), GM Abdelrahman Hesham (Egypt), along with GM Vadim Zvjaginsev (Russia) GM Niaz Murshed (Bangladesh), IM Basheer Al-Qudaimi (Iran), GM Juan Carlos Gonzalez Zamora (Mexico) successfully won “on demand” to force tiebreaks.

    In the women’s competition, WIM Sabrina Latreche (Algeria), WGM Janelle Mae Frayna (Philippines), WIM Mai Narva (Estonia), IM Pauline Guichard (France), and of course GM Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) who was upset by Egypt’s Ayah Moaataz.

    IM Abdelrahman Hesham
    All photos by Paras Gudka

    The match of Hesham-Adly was important given that it was two opponents who knew each other very well. It was a Bogo-Indian where white sacrificed two pawns in the opening. After giving up tremendous time and space, black returned an exchange. Black placed sacrificed two pawns in hopes that the running c-pawn would net material.

    Hesham returned the exchange and ended up a remote passed b-pawn. He eventually drew black forces to the queenside and then raid the kingside where he got a remote passed h-pawn. Black’s lone rook stood no chance as the king was too far to help stop the advance of the pawn. These two must’ve played many times and while Adly is a heavily decorated Olympian, Hesham will be able to advance to the next round to face Romania’s Constantin Lupulescu.

    Bellahcene’s game is instructive against Hovhannes Gabuzyan… a Sicilian Maroczy Bind. Black was routed. The problem with higher-rated players is that they tend to lose a sense of danger believing that their strength will get them out of trouble. Maybe that works in online blitz, but not here.

    In the women’s section there were a couple of interesting tactics in the games involving African representatives. Sabrina Latreche had to win her game in order to keep the match going and Ayah Moaataz only had to secure a draw. These two positions arose. Find the winning moves.


    (diagram #1) Latreche-Buska after 22…Nc5
    (diagram #2) Ushenina-Mootaz after 37…Kg8

    In the first position, Latreche faced and Scheveningen Sicilian and sacrificed a couple of pawns for active play. Immediately after the sequence, black blundered with 22…Nc5?? after which 23.e5! wins a piece. In the second position, Ushenina found a nice tactic after 37…Kg8. An alert eye will spot 38.Rxf4! Nxf4 39.Qxd7 winning!

    Africans at World Chess Cup
    July 12th-August 6th, 2021 (Sochi, Russia)
    Round #1, Game #2 (Open)
    1 IM Daniel Barrish
    RSA
    0-2
    GM Aryan Tari
    NOR
    2 GM Adham Fawzy
    EGY
    1-1
    GM Evgeny Alekseev
    RUS
    3 GM Hovhannes Gabuzyan
    ARM
    1-1
    GM Bilel Bellahcene
    ALG
    4 FM Sergio Miguel
    ANG
    0-2
    GM Ivan Saric
    CRO
    5 CM Chiletso Chipanga
    MAW
    0-2
    GM Adhiban Baskiran
    IND
    6 GM Vladislav Kovalev
    FID
    2-0
    IM Rodwell Makoto
    ZIM
    7 IM Olanrewaju Ajibola
    NGR
    0-2
    GM Alexey Sarana
    RUS
    8 IM Arthur Ssegwangyi
    UGA
    ½-1½
    GM Nihal Sarin
    IND
    9 GM Ahmed Adly
    EGY
    1-1
    GM Abdelrahman Hesham
    EGY
    10 GM Haik Martirosyan
    ARM
    1-1
    IM Chitumbo Mwali
    ZAM
    11 GM David Paravyan
    RUS
    2-0
    IM Mohamed Tissir
    MAR
    12 GM Alexander Motylev
    RUS
    2-0
    FM Abobker Mohamed Elarabi
    LBA
    Round #1, Game #2 (Women)
    1 IM Nataliya Buksa
    UKR
    1-1
    WIM Sabrina Latreche
    ALG
    2 GM Valentina Guinina
    RUS
    2-0
    WIM Jesse February
    RSA
    3 IM Almira Skripchenko
    FRA
    1-1
    WGM Shahenda Wafa
    EGY
    4 WGM Shrook Wafa
    EGY
    0-2
    IM Laura Unuk
    CRO
    5 WGM Amina Mezioud
    ALG
    ½-1½
    IM Iulija Omonova
    UZB
    Pairings Tree

    Games (Open)

    Games (Women)

    Video by FIDE Chess

    Video by ChessBase India

    Critical Links: official site, YouTube, Twitter #FIDEWorldCup2021, Results

  2. Round 1, TIEBREAKS

    Wednesday, 14 July 2021

    Major upsets… Abdelrahman Hesham and Ravi Haria advance!

    A couple of upsets today in the FIDE World Cup. The Egyptian derby between Ahmed Adly and Abdelrahman Hesham was hard-fought with tiebreaks beginning with the “underdog” pressing in the first tiebreak. Adly has a very unique style of play. Not necessarily a theoretician, he plays lines that are not well-analyzed and gets positions where tricks opponents into uncomfortable positions. He has a tendency to catch opponents off balance with his style and Hesham was well aware.

    The first tiebreak was a Bogo-Indian where white developed a massive space advantage. Adly was never able to completely equalize and after 26.Ndxc4 white was clearly on top. Fortunately, Adly was able to get out of his bind with only a pawn deficit… on the same side of the board. Nevertheless, Hesham was completely winning before he blundered with 58.f6?? and after 58…Re1+ 59.Kf5 gxf6 60.Nf7+ Kg7 and black had survived the worst. In a few moves, black had gotten a drawn position. Here was Hesham’s reaction…

    Adly-Hesham arrived at this position after 35.Qc4. Commentators were analyzing this critical position, but did not immediately spot the crushing 35…Rh2+!! leading to winning the queen or checkmate.

    Adly would not be so fortunate in the second tiebreak. Adly played another strange concoction and again got into trouble. He sacrificed the exchange, but had little compensation. After 29.Ra3, Hesham opted for 29…Rf8 instead of 29…Rh4. It turns out that his plan of Ra8-f8-f6-h6 was farsighted. They say that solving a combination is not the hard part… it is getting the position that is the hard part. After 35.Qc4, black had some choices that were analyzed. GMs Nigel Short and Evgeny Miroshnichenko were covering the match and here is their commentary. Both went “What’s that???” Initially astonished, but began to see the combination and were generous in their praise. A wonderful way to end the match! Watch the reaction below!

    After the first game on the 12th, Short beamed at England’s Ravi Haria win over the experienced Russian, Vadim Zvjaginsev. A 22-year old International Master with two GM norms, Haria lost the second game and would go to tiebreaks. Would experience prevail over youth? It wasn’t close. Youth prevailed this time.

    In the first game, Haria simply squeezed the Russian to death until his position fell apart. In the second game, Zvjaginsev essayed 1.e4 e6 2.f4!? It transposed into a normal French, and the game was equal until they entered a rook ending. Having to play for a win, Zvjaginsev took his pawn advantage into the ending. In the end, he had to give up a draw and the match. He gave his impressions in a short interview.


    Video by FIDE Chess

    Among the other African challengers playing a tiebreak, we have Chitumbo Mwali who upset the young Armenian in the second game of classical. They repeated the same line as in the game Mwali won, but Haik Martirosyan made some improvements. First, he went for 13…g5 to put immediate pressure on the Zambian. This strategy seemed to work because Mwali took on a defensive posture.

    With black’s attack raging, white had no defense against the g-file battery. The second game was a Modern Benoni that went wrong quickly and Mwali ended the game without much resistance. This game showed the difference in the levels of preparation. Nevertheless, Mwali beat a very strong player and despite his loss, he gained a lot from the experience. FIDE recognized this.

    He also gave his impressions of the match…

    Interview with Chitumbo Mwali (Zambia)

    Video by FIDE Chess

    GM Bilel Bellahcene of Algeria had a tough round of tiebreaks. In the first game with the black piece, engines had him as high as -5.71, but the trick in these high-level events is maintaining your form over extended periods. After getting the winning position, it appeared he would wrap up the point. Unfortunately, he blundered with 35…Qe6?? after which the simple 36.Rd8+ forces the bishop skewer off the diagonal.

    Both of the Cori siblings (Jorge and Deysi) moved onto the next round. It seems like they have been representing Peru for ages. Deysi once won an honor for being the youngest participant in the 2004 Chess Olympiad.

    11-year old Cori Tello Deysi Estela of Peru collects prize for the youngest participant. She scored a respectable 5-2 in a reserve role.

    Flashback: At the 2004 Olympiad in Calvia, Spain, 11-year old Deysi Estela Cori Tello of Peru collects prize for the youngest participant. She scored a respectable 5-2 in a reserve role. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

    On the women’s side, there were no big upsets. Sabrina Letreche of Algeria was unable to break through after her instructive, “on-demand” win yesterday. Shahenda Wafa of Egypt played four tiebreak games trading wins in the rapid and losing both in the 10-minute blitz. The 2018 African women’s champion will return with a wealth of experience.

    Africans at World Chess Cup
    July 12th-August 6th, 2021 (Sochi, Russia)
    Round #1, TIEBREAKS (Open)
    1 IM Daniel Barrish
    RSA
    0-2
    GM Aryan Tari
    NOR
    2 GM Adham Fawzy
    EGY
    1½-2½
    GM Evgeny Alekseev
    RUS
    3 GM Hovhannes Gabuzyan
    ARM
    3-1
    GM Bilel Bellahcene
    ALG
    4 FM Sergio Miguel
    ANG
    0-2
    GM Ivan Saric
    CRO
    5 CM Chiletso Chipanga
    MAW
    0-2
    GM Adhiban Baskiran
    IND
    6 GM Vladislav Kovalev
    FID
    2-0
    IM Rodwell Makoto
    ZIM
    7 IM Olanrewaju Ajibola
    NGR
    0-2
    GM Alexey Sarana
    RUS
    8 IM Arthur Ssegwangyi
    UGA
    ½-1½
    GM Nihal Sarin
    IND
    9 GM Ahmed Adly
    EGY
    1½-2½
    GM Abdelrahman Hesham
    EGY
    10 GM Haik Martirosyan
    ARM
    3-1
    IM Chitumbo Mwali
    ZAM
    11 GM David Paravyan
    RUS
    2-0
    IM Mohamed Tissir
    MAR
    12 GM Alexander Motylev
    RUS
    2-0
    FM Abobker Mohamed Elarabi
    LBA
    Round #1, TIEBREAKS (Women)
    1 IM Nataliya Buksa
    UKR
    2½-1½
    WIM Sabrina Latreche
    ALG
    2 GM Valentina Guinina
    RUS
    2-0
    WIM Jesse February
    RSA
    3 IM Almira Skripchenko
    FRA
    4-2
    WGM Shahenda Wafa
    EGY
    4 WGM Shrook Wafa
    EGY
    0-2
    IM Laura Unuk
    CRO
    5 WGM Amina Mezioud
    ALG
    ½-1½
    IM Iulija Omonova
    UZB
    Pairings Tree

    Games (Open)

    Games (Women)

    Video by FIDE Chess

    Video by ChessBase India

    Critical Links: official site, YouTube, Twitter #FIDEWorldCup2021, Results

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