FIDE Chess World Cup: Giri Through In Armageddon
Giri wins in the armageddon vs. Najer. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

FIDE Chess World Cup: Giri Through In Armageddon

| 31 | Chess Event Coverage

Anish Giri played the longest tiebreak and eventually defeated Evgeniy Najer in the armageddon game at the FIDE World Cup. The third round starts on Monday.

You can follow the games here as part of our live portal There is daily coverage by our Twitch partner, the Chessbrahs.

GMs Yasser Seirawan, Eric Hansen and Aman Hambleton are covering the tournament each day on their channel Play starts at 3 p.m. local time, which is 12:00 (noon) CEST, 6 a.m. Eastern and 3 a.m. Pacific.

It was the first armageddon of this World Cup. The Dutch GM Giri and the Russian GM Najer needed nine games before it was finally clear who had to go home. They played the longest of all on Sunday, from three in the afternoon to 9:10 p.m. local time.

Round 2 tiebreaks  2019 FIDE World Cup
The round two tiebreaks. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Both the two rapid games and the two 10+10 games had ended in draws, just like the classical games. Some people started joking that Giri, who still hasn't fully lost his reputation as a drawish player, might reach the third round by drawing all his games in this match—including the armageddon game.

But that minor flaw in the system wasn't disclosed. The Dutchman won the first 5+3 game beautifully when his opponent played a bizarre-looking move that was just begging to be refuted by a pretty queen sacrifice.

Najer Giri queen sacrifice  2019 FIDE World Cup
Najer resigns as checkmate cannot be avoided. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The match seemed over, with the solid Giri playing the white pieces in a game where he needed a draw. However, nerves outweighed other factors and he actually misplayed the position and lost. Najer wasn't completely calm either, as can be seen in the double-rook endgame where he almost let it slip away.

Najer 2019 FIDE World Cup
Najer managed to win on demand as Black. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

That meant armageddon, with five minutes for White and four for Black, who had draw odds. After move 60, both players would receive an increment of two seconds per move—but it didn't come that far.

The drawing of lots was performed by the chief arbiter Ashot Vardapetyan, who held a white pawn in one hand and a black pawn in the other. This led to some confusion. The regulations say that the player who wins the drawing of lots may choose the color, but they don't say which player gets to perform the drawing.

Giri got to pick, drew the right pawn and chose black. However, then the arbiter told him that another drawing was needed because the first one was only to determine which player got to perform the draw.

Ashot Vardepetyan Giri armageddon 2019 FIDE World Cup
Arbiter Ashot Vardapetyan speaking to Giri. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

That seemed to be an ad hoc decision by the arbiter, and Giri argued that this was not how it was done normally. Since Najer didn't protest, the arbiter accepted this and Giri got to play Black right away.

In an obviously tense game, Najer blundered in an equal and sharp position:

Najer Giri armageddon 2019 FIDE World Cup
The last armageddon game of the day. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Lots of drama was also seen in the match between England's Luke McShane and Daniil Yuffa of Russia. McShane started with losses in both the 25-minute and 10-minute games but managed to win on demand twice, and was very close to doing it for a third time to force an armageddon. However, he missed the win and then lost on time in a position he wouldn't have won anyway:

McShane 2019 FIDE World Cup
McShane offers his hand with a smile. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Remarkably, these were the only two matches that were not decided yet after the two rapid games. Thirteen other matches were done much quicker.

Four players won both the rapid games: Leinier Dominguez (vs. Nijat Abasov), Peter Svidler (vs. Andrey Esipenko), Nikita Vitiugov (vs. Niclas Huschenbeth), Dmitry Jakovenko (vs. Gawain Jones) and Jeffery Xiong (vs. Amin Tabatabaei).

In the second rapid game, Esipenko lost a pawn and Svidler might have offered him a draw soon but suddenly the 17-year-old missed a back-rank mate:

Esipenko Svidler 2019 FIDE World Cup
The clash of Russians, Svidler vs. Esipenko. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Having knocked out the 19-year-old Cuban player Carlos Daniel Albornoz the round before, Svidler (43 himself) tweeted the following:

McShane doesn't need to fly back to England alone. The other English grandmaster, Gawain Jones, was well prepared against Dmitry Jakovenko in the first rapid game and probably saw White's piece sac on g5 coming, but ended up a pawn down anyway. The rook endgame might have been a draw, but the Russian player made life hard for Jones:

Jakovenko Jones 2019 FIDE World Cup
Jakovenko knocked out Jones. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

More excellent rook endgame technique was shown by Teimour Radjabov, who won the second rapid game against Russian GM Sanan Sjugirov this way:

Radjabov Sjugirov 2019 FIDE World Cup
Radjabov defeated Sjugirov. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The World Cup also said goodbye to 51-year-old Boris Gelfand of Israel, who probably could live with it as his opponent played a truly excellent first rapid game. Russia's Maxim Matlakov chose to go for a trade of two minor pieces for a rook and pawn, which is often hard to estimate. His demonstrated its value thanks to his piece activity and the use of many pins:

Matlakov Gelfand 2019 FIDE World Cup
A focused Matlakov vs. Gelfand. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Top seed Ding Liren had survived a lost position vs Sergei Movsesian and then drew the second classical game quickly. He won a very smooth first rapid game where he won a pawn and then countered all the attempts for tricks:

Ding Liren Movsesian 2019 FIDE World Cup
Top seed Ding Liren is through as well. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The Dutch GM Benjamin Bok can be satisfied about his World Cup. Reaching the second round and holding Alexander Grischuk two three draws means a fine performance. It went wrong in the second rapid game, where Bok got outplayed in the opening with the longest name: the Tartakower-Makogonov-Bondarevsky system of the Queen's Gambit Declined.

Bok Grischuk 2019 FIDE World Cup
Bok put up a great fight vs. Grischuk. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Nihal Sarin's blunder the other day turned out to be an expensive one, as he didn't survive the tiebreak against Eltaj Safarli. This was an excellent first rapid game by the Azerbaijani:

Safarli Nihal 2019 FIDE World Cup
A convincing win as White for Safarli vs. Nihal. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

FIDE World Cup | Round 2 tiebreak results

Seed Fed Title Player - Seed Fed Title Player G1 G2 TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4 TB5 TB6 TB7
1 GM Ding Liren - 64 GM Movsesian ½-½ ½-½ 1-0 ½-½ . . . . .
2 GM Giri - 66 GM Najer ½-½ ½-½ ½-½ ½-½ ½-½ ½-½ 1-0 0-1 1-0
8 GM Dominguez - 72 GM Abasov ½-½ ½-½ 1-0 1-0 . . . . .
9 GM Grischuk - 73 GM Bok ½-½ ½-½ ½-½ 1-0 . . . . .
10 GM Radjabov - 55 GM Sjugirov ½-½ ½-½ ½-½ 1-0 . . . . .
12 GM Yu Yangyi - 53 GM Adhiban ½-½ ½-½ 1-0 ½-½ . . . . .
19 GM Svidler - 83 GM Esipenko Andey ½-½ ½-½ 1-0 1-0 . . . . .
20 GM Vitiugov - 84 GM Huschenbeth ½-½ ½-½ 1-0 1-0 . . . . .
21 GM Wei Yi - 44 GM Anton 0-1 1-0 ½-½ 1-0 . . . . .
27 GM Matlakov - 38 GM Gelfand ½-½ ½-½ 1-0 ½-½ . . . . .
30 GM Jakovenko - 35 GM Jones ½-½ ½-½ 1-0 1-0 . . . . .
31 GM Xiong - 95 GM Tabatabaei ½-½ ½-½ 1-0 1-0 . . . . .
42 GM McShane - 106 GM Yuffa ½-½ ½-½ 0-1 1-0 0-1 1-0 0-1 0-1 .
90 GM Nihal - 103 GM Safarli 1-0 0-1 0-1 ½-½ . . . . .
49 GM Aleksеenko - 113 GM Christiansen ½-½ ½-½ 1-0 ½-½ . . . . .
Bracket: (click on image for bigger version.)

(Click on image for bigger version.)

The FIDE World Cup takes place Sept. 9-Oct. 4 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. Each round consists of two classical games and a tiebreak on the third day. The final consists of four classical games. Both finalists will qualify for the 2020 Candidates' Tournament. The total prize fund is $1.6 million (1.45 million euros). Sept. 19 and 29 are rest days. You can find more background info in our preview article.

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