In this article we continue to examine the endgames and queenless middlegames played in the World Cup, currently being held in Tromsø, Norway. We will now be looking at the games played in the second round of the knockout.
First, we have a very interesting endgame played by Gata Kamsky against Aleksandr Shimanov in the first game of their mini-match.
Although Kamsky lost his second game against Shimanov in bizarre fashion (missing a simple queen sacrifice which would have forced mate, after Shimanov himself had blundered in a won position) he won the playoff and continued to round three.
At the time I am writing, he has qualified to the fifth round after defeating Jon Ludvig Hammer and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Both of his games against Mamedyarov (the win and the draw) were simply astounding, and it is clear that he is playing spectacular chess. I won't be covering those games here, since neither involved an endgame, but I am sure you can find them elsewhere on Chess.com.
Moving along, there was a very topsy-turvy game between Wang Hao and Aleksey Dreev. After a tough and unclear struggle in the queenless middlegame, Dreev's pieces managed to close in on Wang Hao's king. However, he missed a couple opportunities to finish off the game, finally ending up only an exchange up in a confusing position. In time pressure the players began to repeat moves in a strange way - each time Dreev let the win slip, and then Hao gave him another opportunity. Finally the position was repeated three times (seemingly unintentionally by Dreev). But that didn't end it, because Wang made the claim incorrectly, by simply telling the arbiter which move he intended to play that would lead to a third repetition, rather than writing it down.
Anish Giri played a very smooth and instructive endgame against Li Chao. Small tactical features allowed Giri to develop a decisive positional advantage:
A serious, but also instructive, error occurred in the game between Isan Reynaldo Ortiz Suarez and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Ortiz Suarez outplayed his higher-rated opponent and was up the exchange in the ending. Black had two connected passed pawns, but they were stopped, the white rooks were active, and the black king was in a knot. However, a blunder turned the tables 180 degrees. White has just played 43.K(d1)-e2. I will give you a chance to find Black's move for yourself.
Another blunder in the endgame decided the game between Evgeny Tomashevsky and Wesley So. After defending for a long time in a complicated endgame where White had several pawns for the exchange, So had basically reached safety. However, one natural move proved to be a fatal mistake. Black has just played 47...K(e7)-e6, when instead after 47...Kf8 he would be okay. Now try to find White's winning shot.
Moving ahead to the second game, Dmity Andreikin won a nice game against Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son. Andreikin's Catalan led to a queenless middlegame where White was temporarily down a pawn, but Black's queenside weaknesses and ineffective bishop doomed him. Andreikin guided the game into a typical winning rook and pawn ending.
One of the most interesting games of the round was the win by the 14-year-old GM Wei Yi against Alexei Shirov. Wei sacrificed the bishop for three pawns in a typical Sicilian fashion, and eventually outplayed Shirov in the endgame.
Finally, a nice technical defense by Jon Ludwig Hammer against David Navara in a dangerous-looking position:
Check back next week for coverage of the third round.
Photos by Paul Truong