Kenya Kenya Kenya

64 Chess Squares TV hosted a short interview with Kenya Chess Federation President Benard Wanjala. He discusses the current events including the highest participation in the African Chess Championships in Malawi. Wanjala, who also serves as the African Chess Confederation Vice President, discussed the current state of chess given the COVID protocols. There was a mention of the FIDE World Cup as a sign of resuming over-the-board activity.

Video by 64 Chess Squares TV

2021 World Chess Cup
July 12th-August 6th, 2021
(Sochi, Russia)
MATCH PAIRINGS (FINALS, 3rd Place)
1 Karjakin, Sergey
RUS
½-½
Duda, Jan-Krzysztof
POL
2 Fedoseev, Vladimir
RUS
0-1
Carlsen, Magnus
NOR
Official Brackets

Finals (Open, 3rd place), Game 1
Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Karjakin-Duda are “Quick Draw McGraw”… Carlsen bashes Fedoseev

Both Sergey Karjakin and Jan-Krzysztof Duda seem content for a “feeling out” process, but there are only two games. Both were following a game from the Tata Steel featuring Magnus Carlsen and Duda. Karjakin had prepped for that game, but got an unexpected response from Duda. He decided to bail out when he found himself out of prep after 17 moves. It was disappointing, but both may be content with going to tiebreaks. Here was the reaction from the third-place participants.

After an inventive exchange sacrifice, black pieces are swarming while white’s queen helplessly watches the invasion.

Yes, the Fedoseev-Carlsen game would be far more interesting. The game started out as a King’s Indian, but the Russian went 3.h4!? Despite this shock, the fans were in for another, 16…f4!? 17.Bxf4 Bd7 18.Nd1 Rxf4! This exchange sacrifice would have as compensation control of the dark squares. The black bishop bore into the kingside while after 25…b5!? the black queen broke down the door on the queenside.

The white queen was hemmed in (g1, g2, h1) looking on helplessly. In the diagrammed position, black is all over white like a cheap suit. By the time white could give the exchange back, black had gotten a tight grip on the position. All Fedoseev could do is shuffle his pieces around on a few squares. He resigned in a miserable position. In the interview, he discussed the game and also the loss to Duda. Very revealing!

Video by FIDE Chess

Games (Open)

Video by FIDE Chess

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

2021 World Chess Cup
July 12th-August 6th, 2021
(Sochi, Russia)
MATCH PAIRINGS (ROUND 6)
1 Carlsen, Magnus
NOR
½-½
Duda, Jan-Krzysztof
POL
2 Fedoseev, Vladimir
RUS
½-½
Karjakin, Sergey
RUS
Official Brackets

Semifinals (Open), Finals (Women), Game 1
Sunday, 1 August 2021

Semifinal games drawn… Kosteniuk breaks through in opener

Magnus Carlsen is looking to get to the 2021 FIDE World Cup final despite having no need to claim a Candidates spot. Jan-Krzysztof Duda is seeking a breakthrough result and has played inspired chess thus far. The first game was a bit tense, but neither side ever got enough pull on the position before the ensuing rook ending was drawn.

The other semifinal game was a Russian derby with Vladimir Fedoseev playing white against Sergey Karjakin. This game was almost perfectly played with the evaluation showing equality throughout the 69 moves. It doesn’t mean the game was dull as there were many twists and turns in the rook ending. In fact, Fedoseev thought that these endings can sometimes be won.

Video by FIDE Chess

Games (Open)

2021 World Chess Cup
July 12th-August 6th, 2021
(Sochi, Russia)
MATCH PAIRINGS (ROUND 6)
1 Goryachkina, Aleksandra
RUS
0-1
Kosteniuk, Alexandra
RUS
Official Brackets

An intergenerational battle occurred today when top-seed Aleksandra Goryachkina faced former world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk in the finals of the Women’s World Cup. The game ended in a textbook fashion but began in the ever-popular Catalan with Goryachkin’s white pieces getting an early advantage in space. Kosteniuk sacrificed a pawn in the middlegame for the two bishops and a passed c-pawn.

Final Position after 63…Ra6. White will lose the bishop.

A skirmish ensued when Goryachkina sacrificed a pawn for a kingside attack. Kosteniuk remained unflappable as she allowed a discovered attack on her king realizing that her king was adequately sheltered after 40…Kg6. When the smoke cleared, it was white whose king was dangerously exposed. However, black was unable to find the most accurate moves and the game went into a tricky ending.

With the game heading for a draw, Goryachkina found herself on the bad side of a rook versus bishop ending. The ending is drawn in many positions, but the white king was already in a bad position. Battling nerves and fatigue, Kosteniuk was able to find the winning formation. She gave her impressions of the game.

Video by FIDE Chess

In the third-place battle, Tan Zhongyi and Anna Muzychuk played a complicated game, but ended with a perpetual check. Interestingly enough, the game mirrored the Fedoseev-Karjakin game for the first 12 moves when Tan Zhongyi opted for 13.Bxf6 instead of Fedoseev’s 13.Nb5. Tan’s attempt seemed to release to the tension too early.

Video by FIDE Chess

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

Black Squares

Many times we sometimes think about what role we want to play in the greater chess community. Are we teachers? Organizers? Arbiters? Politicians? Journalists? Authors? Commentators? Are we those who only want to compete? For Justus Williams, who is a USCF Senior Master, he happens to be in another category… activist. Chess players have various roles in chess and Williams is building a chess movement to reach those who may not have been exposed otherwise. He also has an initiative for promoting chess in prisons, a noble initiative.

Justus Williams with prison inmates. Photo courtesy of Black Squares.

Justus Williams with prison inmates.
Photo courtesy of Black Squares

A native of the Bronx, New York, he has an interesting story of how he evolved into a chess player who commuted 90 minutes each morning to I.S. 318 and became part of a story featured in “Brooklyn Castle.” After being offered chess scholarships, he found himself at the highly-touted Webster University before transferring 30 minutes across town to Lindenwood University. It was while a student at Lindenwood he hatched a plan to start an initiative called “Black Squares.” The motto is “Bringing Chess Into Black Culture and Black Culture Into Chess.”

GM Maurice Ashley visiting Black Squares with Justus Williams. Photo courtesy of Black Squares.

GM Maurice Ashley visiting Black Squares with Justus Williams.
Photo courtesy of Black Squares.

This is an important inclusion. Many times when the public hears the descriptive use of “Black,” they wonder why it is necessary. However, if we have not learned anything from the protests in 2020 (and the previous 100 years), we should have learned that there are still elements of injustice that flow through the veins of society. That being said, organizations like Williams’ Black Squares serves as a bridge to expose the underserved or ignored segments to the values of discipline, critical thought, and patience. CBS affiliate in St. Louis interviewed Williams and highlighted the work he is doing in the community.

CBS News interview with Justus Williams

Video by CBS News

Visit Black Squares!!
website, Facebook, Instagram

2021 World Chess Cup
July 12th-August 6th, 2021
(Sochi, Russia)
MATCH PAIRINGS (ROUND 6)
1 Carlsen, Magnus
NOR
1-0
Bacrot, Etienne
FRA
2 Duda, Jan-Krzysztof
POL
½-½
Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi
IND
3 Fedoseev, Vladimir
RUS
½-½
Tabatabaei, Amin
IRI
4 Karjakin, Sergey
RUS
0-1
Shankland, Sam
USA
Official Brackets

Round 6, Game 1
Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Shankland’s mastery overwhelms Karjakin

The story of the round was Samuel Shankland’s dismantling of the former championship candidate Sergey Karjakin. The Russian recently had his record broken for youngest Grandmaster in history and now is on the precipice of being eliminated from the FIDE World Cup. The loss he received at the hands of the American makes one wonder if his time has passed. The “Minister of Defense” had no such success in today’s battle against Shankland.

This tournament is turning out to be a career performance for the 29-year old American. For those who may not be aware of his story, in analyzing the U.S. gold medal team, I wrote this about Shankland:

Back in 2010, he threatened to quit chess due to the poor opportunities for GM norms in the U.S. After some soul-searching he came back and in 2011, he created a stir by defeating Peter Leko in the first round of the 2011 World Cup. He won the Samford Fellowship in 2013 and continued measured improvement. At the 2014 Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway, he scored 9/10 and earned a gold medal on board four.

He also recently said that he is a “2700 with no talent.” If he has no talent, then it is quite an inspiration to hordes of untalented players out there. Seriously… when has an untalented player made such a deep run into the World Cup. In fact, if sheer hard work has been his recipe for success, then his effort was not wasted. He gives his thoughts!

Video by FIDE Chess

While Shankland had an instructive game, Magnus Carlsen dished out his own lesson. In a Ruy Lopez the game had tension until Etienne Bacrot belted out the risky 24.f4. His king would not find safety thereafter. As mentioned, the uncorked a queen sacrifice to beat Bacrot in their first game.

Instead of clumsily explaining further, here is Carlsen during the press conference.

Video by FIDE Chess

Both Vidit-Duda and Tabatabaei-Fedoseev were drawn. The only drama was this moment in post-mortem.

Games (Open)

Video by FIDE Chess

2021 World Chess Cup
July 12th-August 6th, 2021
(Sochi, Russia)
MATCH PAIRINGS (ROUND 6)
1 Goryachkina, Aleksandra
RUS
Muzychuk, Anna
UKR
2 Kosteniuk, Alexandra
RUS
Tan, Zhongyi
CHN
Official Brackets

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

2021 World Chess Cup
July 12th-August 6th, 2021
(Sochi, Russia)
MATCH PAIRINGS (ROUND 5)
Bracket 1
1 Carlsen, Magnus
NOR
½-½
Esipenko, Andrey
RUS
2 Bacrot, Etienne
FRA
½-½
Piorun, Kacper
POL
Bracket 2
3 Grischuk, Alexander
RUS
½-½
Duda, Jan-Krzysztof
POL
4 Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi
IND
½-½
Durarbayli, Vasif
AZE
Bracket 3
5 Fedoseev, Vladimir
RUS
½-½
Ivic, Velimir
RUS
6 Tabatabaei, Amin
IRI
0-1
Martirosyan, Haik
ARM
Bracket 4
7 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
AZE
½-½
Karjakin, Sergey
RUS
8 Svidler, Peter
RUS
½-½
Shankland, Sam
USA
Official Brackets

Round 5, Game 1
Sunday, 25 July 2021

Drawfeast in Game 1… only two decisive games

As players get to the latter rounds, there is more caution and as a result, an increase in draws. There was only one decisive game in each section with Armenia’s Haik Martirosyan winning over Amin Tabatabaei and Alexandra Kosteniuk’s win over top-seed Aleksandra Gorayachkina.

Video by FIDE Chess

GM Samuel Shankland

Tension is building in Sochi!
GM Samuel Shankland (USA)
Photo by IM Eric Rosen

Games (Open)

Video by FIDE Chess

2021 World Chess Cup
July 12th-August 6th, 2021
(Sochi, Russia)
MATCH PAIRINGS (ROUND 5)
Bracket 1
1 Goryachkina, Aleksandra
RUS
½-½
Saduakassova, Dinara
KAZ
2 Dzagnidze, Nana
GEO
½-½
Muzychuk, Anna
UKR
Bracket 2
3 Kosteniuk, Alexandra
RUS
1-0
Gunina, Valentina
RUS
4 Tan, Zhongyi
CHN
½-½
Lagno, Kateryna
RUS
Official Brackets

GM Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia)

GM Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia)
Photo by Anastasiia Korolkova

Games (Women)

Video by FIDE Chess

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

2021 World Chess Cup
July 12th-August 6th, 2021
(Sochi, Russia)
MATCH PAIRINGS (ROUND 4)
Bracket 1
1 Carlsen, Magnus
NOR
½-½
Wojtaszek, Radoslaw
POL
2 Dubov, Daniil
RUS
½-½
Esipenko, Andrey
RUS
3 Ponkratov, Pavel
RUS
0-1
Bacrot, Etienne
FRA
4 Piorun, Kacper
POL
1-0
Sindarov, Javokhir
USA
Bracket 2
5 Grischuk, Alexander
RUS
½-½
Korobov, Anton
UKR
6 Idani, Pouya
IRI
½-½
Duda, Jan-Krzysztof
POL
7 Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi
IND
1-0
Xiong, Jeffery
IND
8 Durarbayli, Vasif
AZE
1-0
Abdusattorov, Nodirbek
UZB
Bracket 3
9 Kovalev, Vladislav
FID
0-1
Fedoseev, Vladimir
RUS
10 Ivic, Velimir
RUS
½-½
Andreikin, Dmitry
RUS
11 Harikrishna, Pentala
IND
0-1
Tabatabaei, Amin
IRI
12 Brkic, Ante
CRO
0-1
Martirosyan, Haik M
ARM
Bracket 4
13 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
IND
½-½
Praggnanandhaa, Rameshbabu
IND
14 Artemiev, Vladislav
RUS
½-½
Karjakin, Sergey
RUS
15 Vitiugov, Nikita
RUS
½-½
Svidler, Peter
RUS
16 Shankland, Sam
USA
1-0
Jumabayev, Rinat
KAZ
Official Brackets

Round 4, Game 1
Thursday, 22 July 2021

Bloodbath in Round of 16… 50% decisive games
Goryachkina finally loses!

Magnus Carlsen (Norway)

GM Magnus Carlsen was unable to break through
Photo by Anastasia Korolkova

Wow! What action we had in round 4 of the FIDE World Cup in Sochi Russia. Several of the top players have been ousted, but today’s action was bloody indeed. Exactly 8/16 games were decisive with Magnus Carlsen being held by Radoslaw Wojtaszek in an interesting game. The Polish player sacrificed his queen to stave off an attack.

Video FIDE Chess

Daniil Dubov was fortunate enough to get a draw in his game win Andrey Esipenko after being down 4.94 in evaluation. Dubov liquidated and Esipenko was unable to make use of his rook against the knight. Etienne Bacrot put on a powerful performance bringing on some of his magic from the past.

In other decisive games, Vidit Santosh dispatched American phenom Jeffery Xiong who blundered with a dubious piece sacrifice. Amin Tabatabaei toppled Indian Olympian Pentala Harikrishna continuing his fantastic run in this World Cup. Tabatabaei upset Yu Yangyi and is poised to take down another 2700.

Commentator Nigel Short had difficulties pronouncing the Iranian name, but after the World Cup, everyone will know. Tabatabaei described his victory in the post-game interview.

Video FIDE Chess

Haik Martirosyan is coming off of a big win against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and continued the onslaught beating Ante Brkic. Sam Shankland kept the Americans in the hunt with a win over Rinat Jumabayev, who overpressed in a drawn position. The Kazakh player upset Fabiano Caruana and Shankland would like to defend the stars and stripes and advance to the next round.

It’s been a long time since Shankland’s first World Cup in 2011 when one commentator obviously didn’t know who he was. She asked innocently and incredulously, “How did you see all of this?” At that time he was an obscure 2600 GM, but now has become 2700 fixture on the medal-winning Olympiad team.

Video FIDE Chess

Games (Open)

Video by FIDE Chess

2021 World Chess Cup
July 12th-August 6th, 2021
(Sochi, Russia)
MATCH PAIRINGS (ROUND 4)
Bracket 1
1 Goryachkina, Aleksandra
RUS
0-1
Stefanova, Antoaneta
BUL
2 Kashlinskaya, Alina
RUS
½-½
Saduakassova, Dinara
KAZ
3 Dzagnidze, Nana
GEO
0-1
Shuvalova, Polina
RUS
4 Paehtz, Elisabeth
GER
½-½
Muzychuk, Anna
UKR
Bracket 2
5 Muzychuk, Mariya
UKR
½-½
Kosteniuk, Alexandra
RUS
6 Batsiashvili, Nino
GEO
½-½
Gunina, Valentina
RUS
7 Tan, Zhongyi
CHN
½-½
Khademalsharieh, Sarasadat
IRI
8 Assaubayeva, Bibisara
KAZ
½-½
Lagno, Kateryna
RUS
Official Brackets

Magnus Carlsen (Norway)

Antoaneta_Stefanova stopped the Russian top-seed
Photo by Anastasia Korolkova

In the women’s competition, Aleksandra Goryachkina was beaten by former women’s champion Antoaneta Stefanova. After having built up a strong advantage the Russian inexplicably lost a piece to a simple pin. There was no idea on what Goryachkina could have been thinking, but the always classy Stefanova gave her comments.

Video by FIDE Chess

There was only one other decisive game with Natalia Shuvalova beating Nana Dzagnidze in a Sicilian Rossolimo. Black was getting squeezed before trying a piece sacrifice to get counterplay. The plan backfired and she tried another sacrifice to arrive at three pawns versus a rook, but after a few moves, gave up.

Sarasadat Khademalsharieh (Iran)

Iran’s hopeful… Sarasadat Khademalsharieh
Photo by Anastasia Korolkova

Games (Women)

Video by FIDE Chess

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

Round 3, Game 1
Sunday, 18 July 2021

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov goes down… Carissa Yip scores big win!

GM Bassem Amin (Egypt)
Photo by IM Eric Rosen

There were some FIDE World Cup viewers who were clamoring for Bassem Amin’s game. While it may go unnoticed to most, Amin is an iconic figure in African and Egyptian chess. The only player from the continent having surpassed the 2700 mark, he is in the top 100 in the world. However, his games are hardly shown in the broadcasts. Perhaps as he advances more attention will be given to his games. His battle with Etienne Bacrot started off without fireworks, but fizzled into an equal ending. Tomorrow he will try to press with the white pieces.

Bassem Amin (Egypt)

Africa is watching. Namibian International Master Dante Beukes is reporting for Africa Chess Media. He stated this about Amin… “Bassem Amin is arguably the greatest African chess player of all time. He continues to raise the bar higher and higher for Africans. The 5-time African champion became the first player to reach the second round of the World Cup in 2015 and now he has done one better and reached the third round!” Photo by Anastasia Korolkova

One would think that as we advanced in the tournament, there would be more drawn games, but 19 of the 32 matches started with decisive games. Fifteen-year old Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa beat Michal Krasenkow and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was upset by 21-year old Armenian Haik Martirosyan as we continue the theme of the “youth movement.”

Nodirbek Abdusattorov (Uzbekistan)

GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov (Uzbekistan)
Photo by IM Eric Rosen

Speaking of the youth movement, it has been noted that Uzbekistan will be a definite force in the future with a young core Javokhir Sindarov (15), Nodirbek Abdusattorov (16), Shamsiddin Vokhidov (19), and Jahongir Vakhidov (26). Only Vokhidov has been eliminated. Uzbekistan certainly received motivation from the legacy of FIDE champion, Rustam Kasindzhanov and trainer, Rashid Ziatdinov. The future is bright.

Vakhidov totally crushed his Russian opponent Pavel Ponkratov when resignation could’ve happened 20 moves earlier.

There was an instructive name featuring yet another young Indian star, Nihal Sarin. He was playing the dangerous Dmitri Andreikin and got a lesson in how to play positional chess after starting with 1.b3 b6 2.e4 Bb7 3.Nc3. The rarely seen Owens Defense produced a very interesting result. In the final position, you will see the classic good/bad bishop battle.

The story of the round may be Carissa Yip’s performance. In her seven games thus far she has won six games! She continued her good form beating the rating favorite Nana Dzagnidze in a highly complicated game. Take a look.

Carissa Yip (USA)

Carissa Yip (USA)
Photo by IM Eric Rosen

Alexandra Kosteniuk is playing a game against Pia Cramling. It is always interesting to see the clash against the generations. Sweden’s Cramling has been on the professional scene for decades and is still playing at a high level. In their game the Kosteniuk was able to saddle Cramling with a cramped position and this advantage the entire game. In the final position, Cramling had no moves. Regardless of the outcome of the match, Cramling continues to inspire.

Pia Cramling (Sweden)

GM Pia Cramling (Sweden)
Photo by Anastasia Korolkova

Games (Open)

Games (Women)

Video by FIDE Chess

Video by ChessBase India

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

Round 2, Game 1
Thursday, 15 July 2021

COVID strikes Indonesia… Susanto Megaranto retires match with Caruana
Aronian withdraws due to tonsilitis, fever

The lead story of the FIDE Grand Prix is players having to submit to COVID protocols. Indonesia Grandmaster Susanto Megaranto was on move 15 against an unmasked Fabiano Caruana when the arbiters informed him he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

GM Susanto Megaranto (Indonesia)

GM Susanto Megaranto (Indonesia)
Indonesia Indonesia Indonesia

The test arrived late and the arbiters decided they had to whisk Megaranto away to protect the health of the players. Fortunately, he was wearing the recommended (but not required) face-covering. Caruana retired to his hotel room as a precaution. On the official website, it read,

The FIDE World Cup organizers confirm that one of the players has tested positive for Covid-19. The result of this test was known while he was playing his second-round game.

In line with the tournament’s public health and safety protocol, the player and has been asked to immediately leave the playing area, and his game declared a loss. The player in question was wearing a face mask during the game, and he has been placed in quarantine.

His opponent, who was also requested to leave the playing hall immediately, will now undergo additional medical screenings, and will be tested again tomorrow as scheduled.

There’s more…

and…

This is indeed a tragic development with four Asian players having to miss their chance at competing. Some suggested that Megaranto could have gotten a “false positive,” but the truth is that he missed an opportunity to compete against a high-caliber opponent. In a preceding case, Mikhail Antipov tested positive during the Russian Championship and had to retire.

In another World Cup development, Levon Aronian had to resort to health and safety protocols after developing a fever not related to COVID. He will also withdraw. It is not known if the affliction is COVID-related. There is also no data on how many players had been vaccinated or whether the afflicted players were vaccinated.

Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)

The incident ignited a firestorm of criticism from fans on social media. There was a question as to why Megaranto was not notified before the game. The exam arrived after the start of the round and thus interrupting the game became unavoidable.

Have restrictions been eased too quickly? The other question dogging the organizers was the mask policy. With more than 200 men and women in the complex, the wide majority are not wearing face coverings of any sort. Some argue that there should’ve been a mandatory mask policy. All of a sudden, Abhimanyu Mishra’s full mask & shield don’t appear as ridiculous as some were saying.

Abhimanyu Mishra came ready to fight… both his opponent and COVID. While he lost to Baadur Jobava, he was prepared to defeat COVID. Photo by Anastasia Korolkova

Onto the action…

Despite today’s news, chess fans were excited to see the “big guns” at the board again. In the past year, there had been so much online activity that there was a bit of fatigue. After receiving the “Fair Play Svetozar Gligoric Trophy” sportsman award, Magnus Carlsen started the tournament in fine fashion.

Video FIDE Chess

Of course, Caruana got the walk-over, but most of the higher seeds won. India had massive success in the first round with all 12 competitors advancing to the second stage. One national player Adhiban Baskaran is known for his affable nature, but in this game against Neuris Delgado he showed his fangs.

Video FIDE Chess

Egypt’s Bassem Amin won a technical game against Hovhannes Gabuzyan of Armenia. If he closes tomorrow’s game with a win or draw, he will be the first from the African continent to advance to the third round. There is an apparent error in the game score as 35…Rb7?? hangs the rook outright. Nevertheless, the game was won in a few moves.

The other remaining player in the Open Section was Abdelrahman Hesham who is paired with Romanian Constantin Lupulescu. Unfortunately, there wouldn’t be any of the magic from the previous match. In fact, Lupulescu got a winning advantage after 27.Rxb7! Qxb7 28.Bxd5. Black would be down a pawn and the pawn structure was in shambles. In the end, the black king would end up in a mating net.

A beautiful game here by the Argentinian!

IM Irine Sukandar
Photo by IM Eric Rosen

In the women’s even, Aleksandra Goryachkina won a nice game against the American player Gulrukbegim Tokhirjonova. Several Russian players, including Valentina Guinina won their first games as the strong Russian contingent look to make a long run in Sochi.

Her opponent was Irine Sukandar of Indonesia. As mentioned earlier, Sukandar will not play her second game, so Guinina will advance. India’s Dronavali Harika will also have the same result with Medina Aulia of Indonesia.

Games (Open)

Games (Women)

Video by FIDE Chess

Video by ChessBase India

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

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

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