2023 FIDE World Cup: Round 2

Gukesh: The New Indian #1

Lots of historic landmarks happened during the second round of the FIDE World Cup with the top players joining in on the action after getting a first-round bye. One of the top players not participating was the 5-time world champion Viswanathan Anand who spoke on Dommaraju Gukesh entering the top 10 ranking and surpassing his current Elo mark. It marks the first time in 36 years that Anand will not hold the #1 position. Seeing one of his protegees shine on one of the largest stages must be a testament to the value of his mentoring which has produced a wave of talent unmatched worldwide.

“Absolutely Proud! We started off with one GM , one World Champion and now we have two top ten players. Congratulations to the generation of Indian talent especially to our new No.1 @DGukesh!”

~Viswanathan Anand’s Twitter account

To see this demonstrates the impact that Anand has had on the national culture of chess and the country’s high chess profile. When seeing Anand with the young Indian prodigies at various events, it was obvious that he was setting up the foundation for generations to come. Anand was the first Indian Grandmaster after winning the World Junior in 1987 and a chess boom now engulfed the entire Indian Diaspora. India was only a middling chess nation twenty years ago, but now sits as a top five chess nation with 82 Grandmasters and more to come.

Dommaraju Gukesh, who shined at the Chennai Olympiad and has been on a meteoric rise for the past few years. He is the second youngest Grandmaster in history earning the title at 12 years, 7 months, and 17 days. He collected all of his IM and GM norms in 16 months, but barely missed Sergey Karjakin’s record. His comments were a sign of things to come.

I was disappointed when I failed to become the youngest ever GM because I had come quite close to getting there. However, I chose not to sulk over it for long. It was important for me to keep playing well as the results will eventually come.

~ Gukesh on barely missing Karjakin’s age record for GM title

Now aged 17, he will now lead the charge for an Indian team that hopes to compete for gold next year in Budapest.

Round 2, Game 1

Wednesday, 2 August 2023
Scintillating combinations produce “Fire on Board”!

Magnus Carlsen stated in the post-game interview that he felt a bit rusty, but duly converted in his first game against Georgia’s Levan Pantsulaia. Hikaru Nakamura had a more difficult time after being held by India’s new national champion, Karthik Venkataraman. Most of the other top seeds were able to win their first games, but another American Sam Shankland had an absolutely disastrous game. Emerging from a completely winning position, he fell into mate against Ivan Schito of Moldova.

In this position, Shankland committed a gross blunder with 57.Kxc4?? and was mated after 57…Rc8+ 58.Kd4 Rbc3.

Tremendous disappointment. Shankland’s 2011 World Cup upset over Peter Leko was a defining point in his career as he had considered retiring from the sport. Ten years later he reached the quarterfinals, ultimately losing to Sergey Karjakin.

The game of the round had to go to Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa’s beautiful attacking game that received plaudits from Anand. In this game, Pragg played the provocative 13…Nh4! After 14.Rxh4 Qg1+ 15.Bf1 everyone was marveling that black had a queen on g1 on move 15, but did not understand the follow-up plan. That is when Pragg uncorked the devastating 15…e3! a proverbial bone in the throat of white’s position.

The point being that 16…Qf2+ is in the air, so after 16.Nd1 Re8 17.Ke2 Be6 black had an overwhelming position. Continuing with the Indian theme, Anand tweeted the game starting with 11.h4 and ending with black’s picturesque mate.

Since Wei Yi was mentioned we should not forget that he was considered the prodigy of the future. While he has remained around 2730, it is the standard he has had since 2015. Now 24, he could be ready for a breakthrough. Known for the “Game of the Decade” against Lazaro Bruzon, he produces another beauty in a Sveshnikov.

In the women’s section, there were a lot of draws at the top boards as Ju Wenjun was held. The four-time world champion only had one week after her match against Lei Tingjie. This first game was an uneventful draw after 16 moves.

The game of the round in the women’s section had to have been GM-elect Zhu Jiner who was able to finish the game with a nice tactic. Find the winning move!

See Jiner-Guichard!

There is also a youth movement in the women’s section as 17-year old Eline Roebers of the Netherlands outplayed Egypt’s Mona Khaled. One other game has a spectacular ending as Rameshbabu Vaishali swindled Pauline Guichard after being down massive amounts of material with no compensation. Down a rook and with a pawn on c2 about to convert into a queen, Vaishali swindles the French player. How did she manage to win after losing a rook to a skewer a couple of moves earlier? Click on the diagram to view the game. Unbelievable!

Vaishali Rameshbabu scores the comeback of the tournament winning in this position against Pauline Guichard.

Full Broadcast (Round 2, Game 1)

Videos by FIDE Chess

Round 2, Game 2

Thursday, 3 August 2023
Carlsen advances in style… Nakamura held again
Ju Wenjun and Alexandra Kosteniuk also needs tiebreaks…

Carlsen’s Gem

Magnus Carlsen complained that he was a bit rusty in the first game, but it appears that he was in great form after scoring a “puzzle rush” victory in the second game.

Carlsen uncorks Re8+! to finish.

While the favourites Carlsen, Nepomniachtchi, Duda and Caruana qualified, some of the other top players, such as Nakamura and So, will have to fight in the tiebreaks. The biggest surprise of the day is the knockout of the 2021 World Rapid winner Nodirbek Abdusattorov. In a shocking surprise, super GM and Azerbaijani star Shakhriyar Mamedyarov lost to Singapore’s Tin Jingyao and failed to qualify for the next stage.

~Milan Dinic, FIDE

Photo by Stev Bonhage

Women’s World Champion Ju Wenjun and 2021 Women’s World Cup winner Alexandra Kosteniuk (who lost) also head for the tiebreaks. Irina Krush also lost to Canadian upstart Malli-Jade Ouellet to force tiebreaks.

Former World Champion Candidate and one of the tournament favourites, Aleksandra Goryachkina, defeated Cuba’s Lisandra Teresa Ordaz Valdes to secure her place in round three. The other top favourites to qualify for the next stage are Elisabeth Paehtz, Anna Muzychuk, Polina Shuvalova, Koneru Humpy, Zhu Jiner, Tan Zhongyi, Harika Dronavalli, as well as former women’s world champions Anna Ushenina and Marya Muzychuk.

~Milan Dinic, FIDE

Videos by FIDE Chess

Round 2, Tiebreaks

Friday, 4 August 2023
Nakamura goes through… Grischuk upset!
Ju Wenjun, Kosteniuk, Krush, advance… Lagno out

The talk of the tiebreaks was the 17-year-old Iranian Bardiya Daneshvar upsetting super-GM Alexander Grischuk in a sudden-death blitz game. Daneshvar was unaware that he had won the match. The tension of the blitz games was palpable as several times Grischuk went down to two seconds before making a move.

Alexander Grischuk conceded the match to 17-year-old Bardiya Daneshvar
Photo by Stev Bonhage

Video by ChessBase India

There were some other nice finishes including Arjun Erigaisi advancing to the third round in style.

Hikaru Nakamura had a difficult match against Karthik Venkataraman drawing both classical games going king vs. king in the first. In the first rapid game Nakamura seized the advantage and ended up with an extra bishop. Unfortunately, this was a theoretical draw and he played 144 moves in a rook and bishop versus rook ending. The Indian incorrectly claimed 50-move rule, but all he had to do was keep his king in the corner and there was no way Nakamura could make progress. The second rapid game was where the world #2, 960 and bullet champion showed his level.

Matuesz Bartel of Poland lost his match 5-4 against Alexander Donchenko in a match where he later joked that white won every game. Vasyl Ivanchuk also went through. Bassem Amin of Egypt advanced and is the last representative from Africa.

African officials in Baku… with IA Laurent Freyd (France) are Goodwill Khoa (Namibia), Emmanuel Mwaka (Uganda), and Chanda Nsakanya (Zambia). Khoa and Mwaka are also presidents of their federations. Photo Anna Shtourmann

FIDE Report

Despite their strong reputation, the duo found themselves ousted by opponents rated lower than them.

Lagno was eliminated in the first rapid match of the playoff after losing the second game to more than 200 points lower-rated Mary Ann Gomes. Grischuk’s fate was sealed after a gruelling six-hour battle across four playoff rounds, ultimately succumbing in the final game against Iranian Bardiya Daneshvar after missing a winning move.

Among the favourites in the Open, Nakamura, So, and Giri are through after winning their rapid tiebreaks. In the Women’s tournament, the World Champion Ju Wenjun, as well as the 2021 World Cup winner (and former World Champion) Alexandra Kosteniuk, are through after winning their rapid tiebreaks. (full report)

~Milan Dinic, FIDE

Video by FIDE Chess

Video by chess24

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