World Cup: Caruana, Kamsky, Korobov, Kramnik Through; Nakamura Out
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America's number one grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura was eliminated unexpectedly from the World Cup in Tromsø on Wednesday. Nakamura played the Stonewall, got into a bad ending and lost to former Ukrainian Champion Anton Korobov. Gata Kamsky, who won the World Cup in 2007, did reach the next round after an amazing draw with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Vladimir Kramnik drew with Vassily Ivanchuk to go through; Fabiano Caruana also qualified by winning today and thus going 2-0 against Julio Granda Zuniga.
Nakamura's opening choice, the Stonewall Dutch, might have been a bit risky but the American was probably doing OK after the opening. It went wrong on move 18, as he tweeted himself after the game:
Inexplicably overestimating my chances instead of taking a draw with 18...Nxe5. Oh well, life goes on.— Hikaru Nakamura ( @GMHikaru) August 21, 2013
Black's light-squared bishop got buried on b7 and would never really participate in the game. Nakamura resigned when he was a piece down, clearly disappointed as he surely had expected more of this World Cup.
Vladimir Kramnik's last knockout event was the World Cup in 1999 in Las Vegas, when he lost to Michael Adams in the quarter-finals. Today the Russian GM reached the same stage by eliminating Vassily Ivanchuk. The eccentric Ukrainian played an eccentric opening. (But the man can play anything!) Black might even have been a tiny bit better in the ending, but Kramnik's play was just too solid.
"I was expecting a very tough match and tiebreaks, and maybe a nervous Armageddon game. I already changed my ticket once, and I now have to do it again!"
Together with Kramnik, Fabiano Caruana must now be considered the biggest favorite in Tromsø. The U.S.-born Italian, who lives in Madrid these days, only needed a draw but scored a convincing win against Julio Granda Zuniga, who lives in the same city as Veselin Topalov: Salamanca, Spain. White's opening wasn't very successful but according to Caruana, only after 14.Rf3 the problems really started.
Gata Kamsky also qualified for the next round, but don't ask how! Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who in the morning had posted on Facebook that he would surely win, played the aggressive (and trendy) 5.h4 against the Grünfeld, and so a sharp game was guaranteed.
"I looked at 5.h4, but not at 7.h5 and I completely forgot what to do,"
said Kamsky, who was helped before the game by his friend and Grünfeld expert Emil Sutovsky of Israel. During the game the American thought he was "completely lost", and at some point he was an hour down on the clock as well. But he survived, thanks to sharp calculation and nerves of steel.
I think I gave my fans some small heart attack today!
said Kamsky during the commentary after the game. An important line was 28. Rxc3 Nd3+ 29. Kd2 Qe1+ 30. Kc2 Qc1+ 31. Kb3 Qb2+ 32. Kc4 Nxe5+ 33. Kd4 Nc6+! ("Otherwise I'm completely lost" - Kamsky.)
Peter Svidler and Le Quang Liem drew an Exchange Slav where White could have tried for more. In the final position it's really equal (25.Qxb4 Ba8=) but at move 19 White could have gone for a completely different plan: pushing pawns on the kingside. Svidler seemed slightly disappointed that he didn't go for this, and said:
"Objectively I should have played for mate."
Tomorrow tough tiebreaks coming up, a bit scared of this moment as I didn't have any in the tournament. Well, neither did Boris!— MVL ( @Vachier_Lagrave) August 21, 2013
This was Maxime Vachier-Lagrave's tweet after he drew both his classical games with Boris Gelfand. Yesterday it was a theoretical Grünfeld, today a not so theoretical Slav. Both players agreed afterwards that White was better in the ending, but Gelfand didn't find anything better than what he played, and complimented his opponent for his "strong moves".
The games Evgeny Tomashevsky vs. Alexander Morozevich and Sergey Karjakin vs. Dmitry Andreikin ended in draws; White was slightly better in each case.
Tomorrow the tiebreak will decided on all the matches that ended in 1-1. The pairings for the next round look like this: Kamsky - Morozevich/Tomashevsky, Le Quang Liem/Svidler - Andreikin/Karjakin, Caruana - Vachier-Lagrave/Gelfand and Kramnik - Korobov.
FIDE World Cup 2013 | Round 4 Results
|Granda Zuniga, Julio||PER||2664||0||0||0|
|Le, Quang Liem||VIE||2702||½||½||1|
Held every two years, the World Cup is part of the World Championship cycle. The winner and the runner-up will qualify for the 2014 Candidates Tournament. The World Cup takes place August 10th-September 3rd in Tromsø, Norway. Photos by Paul Truong courtesy of the official website; games via TWIC.