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FIDE World Cup R2.1: Covid-19 Hits, Aronian Withdraws
Magnus Carlsen won his first game vs. Sasa Martinovic. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

FIDE World Cup R2.1: Covid-19 Hits, Aronian Withdraws

PeterDoggers
| 81 | Chess Event Coverage

Three members of the Indonesian delegation at the 2021 FIDE World Cup have tested positive for Covid-19. GM Fabiano Caruana was awarded a win when his opponent GM Susanto Megaranto's test result was positive. GM Levon Aronian forfeited his game for having fever symptoms and announced on Friday that he had withdrawn from the tournament.

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Despite strong measures and clear regulations to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, the World Cup couldn't avoid being hit by cases of Covid-19. Three members from Indonesia have now tested positive, affecting two matches.

GM and chess journalist Ian Rogers reports that Head of Delegation Kristianus Liem was diagnosed first. Before the first round, IM Mohamad Ervan got the bad news as well and had to forfeit his match with GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov.

The third was Megaranto, who learned about his positive test result during his game with Caruana, which was immediately stopped and declared a win for the American player. Following procedures, both players were immediately isolated.

Susanto Megaranto World Cup 2021
Susanto Megaranto. Photo: Anastasiya Korolkova/FIDE.

Without mentioning his name, FIDE communicated via social media that Megaranto had been tested negative three times in Sochi before a fourth test came out positive. This test result was supposed to arrive before 13:00 p.m. local time but was delayed by a few hours. FIDE is investigating why this happened.

It is not immediately clear what the situation is regarding the Caruana-Megaranto match. According to Chess.com's photographer Maria Emelianova, Megaranto will remain under medical supervision, and it's not known yet whether the second game will be played. Caruana will take another test on Friday. He is showing no symptoms but is self-isolating in his hotel room.

Fabiano Caruana FIDE World Cup 2021
Fabiano Caruana. Photo: Anastasiya Korolkova/FIDE.

Megaranto was wearing a face mask during the game; Caruana was not. Players are obliged to wear face masks in all public areas but not during a game. Each day, the arbiters tell the players that handshakes are not recommended, which can lead to some confusion.

Megaranto is the only Indonesian player in the open section. The two female players from Indonesia, IM Irine Sukandar and IM Medina Warda Aulia, haven't had symptoms and haven't tested positive. Sukandar has taken a lot of effort to confirm that she doesn't have the virus. 

Sukandar has already confirmed that her last test was also negative.


Update: The two female from Indonesia players won't continue their tournament either:


Meanwhile, two-time winner Aronian didn't even show up for his game with GM Bobby Cheng (Australia). The Armenian grandmaster had some symptoms of fever earlier this week. Even though he felt well on Thursday, it was decided that he wouldn't play in order to not risk the safety of other players. He has now announced on Facebook that he won't play anymore:

Alongside all the Covid turmoil, the first day of the second round saw a lot of great chess. Among many other top grandmasters, World Champion Magnus Carlsen "entered the building" and beat Croatian grandmaster Sasa Martinovic, who was celebrating his 30th birthday.

This round included a bunch of nice attacking games. The first winner of the day was Indian GM Baskaran Adhiban, who beat his opponent from Paraguay with a nice final touch:

Chess.com Game of the Day Dejan Bojkov

One of the absolute top grandmasters from the 1990s and 2000s, GM Alexei Shirov (Spain), joined the party in the second round as well and played a vintage Shirov game against U.S. GM Yaroslav Zherebukh. The latter had celebrated his 28th birthday the day before without the need to play tiebreaks; he had beaten GM Evgenios Ioannidis in the classical games.

Shirov Zherebukh World Cup 2021
Shirov-Zherebukh. Photo: Eric Rosen/FIDE.

Speaking of former top grandmasters, we saw GM Vishy Anand doing well in Zagreb last week (who, by the way, is leading 1.5-0.5 in a four-game No Castling match with GM Vladimir Kramnik in Dortmund!). The opponent of Anand in the 2012 World Championship match, GM Boris Gelfand (Israel), also won a nice game:

There weren't too many upsets, although a lot of lower-rated players held top grandmasters to draws. They included IM Volodar Murzin vs. GM Vladislav Artemiev and three young Uzbek players: GM Jakhongir Vakhidov vs. Leinier Dominguez, GM Nodirbek Yakubboev vs. GM David Navara, and GM Javokhir Sindarov vs. Alireza Firouzja, who is playing his first tournament under the French flag.

Artemiev Murzin FIDE World Cup
Artemiev and Murzin before their game. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Two players from Spain, GM David Anton and GM Paco Vallejo, both lost to lower-rated opponents. The latter played a typical piece sac in the French but faced very strong resistance as the 18-year-old Serbian GM Velimir Ivic solved his problems tactically:

Back to the theme of crude attacks on the king, we saw two nice Rf6 moves on one day. First, there was GM Sandro Mareco of Argentina beating Peru's GM Jorge Cori, where 28.Rf6 was the prettiest among several winning moves:

Results round 2

Fed Player Rtg - Fed Player Rtg G1 G2 TB
GM Martinovic, Sasa 2548 - GM Carlsen, Magnus 2847 0-1 . .
GM Caruana, Fabiano 2806 - GM Megaranto, Susanto 2550 1-0* . .
GM Cheng, Bobby 2552 - GM Aronian, Levon 2782 1-0* . .
GM Giri, Anish 2776 - GM Savchenko, Boris 2553 1-0 . .
GM Perez Ponsa, Federico 2554 - GM Grischuk, Alexander 2778 ½-½ . .
GM Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2782 - GM Mekhitarian, Krikor Sevag 2554 ½-½ . .
GM Moradiabadi, Elshan 2553 - GM Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2749 ½-½ . .
GM Firouzja, Alireza 2759 - GM Sindarov, Javokhir 2558 ½-½ . .
GM Vakhidov, Jakhongir 2534 - GM Dominguez Perez, Leinier 2758 ½-½ . .
GM Karjakin, Sergey 2757 - GM Vokhidov, Shamsiddin 2530 1-0 . .
GM Quesada Perez, Yasser 2565 - GM Harikrishna, Pentala 2730 ½-½ . .
GM Duda, Jan-Krzysztof 2738 - IM Vazquez, Guillermo 2527 1-0 . .
GM Fier, Alexandr 2569 - GM Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi 2726 ½-½ . .
GM Andreikin, Dmitry 2724 - GM Can, Emre 2569 1-0 . .
GM Plat, Vojtech 2525 - GM Vitiugov, Nikita 2724 ½-½ . .
GM Esipenko, Andrey 2716 - GM Nguyen, Thai Dai Van 2588 ½-½ . .
GM Gukesh, D 2578 - GM Dubov, Daniil 2714 ½-½ . .
GM Svidler, Peter 2714 - GM Salinas Herrera, Pablo 2514 ½-½ . .
GM Ivic, Velimir 2582 - GM Vallejo Pons, Francisco 2710 1-0 . .
GM Xiong, Jeffery 2709 - GM Mikhalevski, Victor 2579 ½-½ . .
GM Iniyan, P 2506 - GM Tomashevsky, Evgeny 2706 0-1 . .
GM Yu, Yangyi 2705 - GM Kadric, Denis 2564 1-0 . .
IM Murzin, Volodar 2502 - GM Artemiev, Vladislav 2704 ½-½ . .
GM Amin, Bassem 2703 - GM Gabuzyan, Hovhannes 2587 1-0 . .
IM Druska, Juraj 2493 - GM Van Foreest, Jorden 2688 0-1 . .
GM Alekseenko, Kirill 2699 - GM Krasenkow, Michal 2591 ½-½ . .
GM Brkic, Ante 2592 - GM Kryvoruchko, Yuriy 2699 1-0 . .
GM Maghsoodloo, Parham 2698 - GM Georgiev, Kiril 2594 ½-½ . .
GM Yakubboev, Nodirbek 2598 - GM Navara, David 2675 ½-½ . .
GM Fedoseev, Vladimir 2696 - GM Bachmann, Axel 2599 1-0 . .
GM Jobava, Baadur 2603 - GM Shankland, Sam 2709 ½-½ . .
GM Matlakov, Maxim 2688 - GM Gretarsson, Hjorvar Steinn 2603 0-1 . .
GM Alekseev, Evgeny 2605 - GM Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 2691 ½-½ . .
GM Areshchenko, Alexander 2687 - GM Ivanisevic, Ivan 2606 1-0 . .
GM Gareyev, Timur 2596 - GM Jakovenko, Dmitry 2684 ½-½ . .
GM Predke, Alexandr 2683 - GM Durarbayli, Vasif 2625 ½-½ . .
GM Henriquez Villagra, Cristobal 2606 - GM Korobov, Anton 2683 0-1 . .
GM Salem, A.R. Saleh 2682 - GM Indjic, Aleksandar 2607 1-0 . .
GM Praggnanandhaa, R 2608 - GM Sargissian, Gabriel 2682 1-0 . .
GM Ragger, Markus 2680 - GM Piorun, Kacper 2608 ½-½ . .
IM Haria, Ravi 2440 - GM Bacrot, Etienne 2678 0-1 . .
GM Gelfand, Boris 2675 - GM Braun, Arik 2609 1-0 . .
GM Tabatabaei, M. Amin 2613 - GM Berkes, Ferenc 2673 ½-½ . .
GM Anton Guijarro, David 2673 - GM Idani, Pouya 2614 0-1 . .
GM Akobian, Varuzhan 2614 - GM Grandelius, Nils 2661 ½-½ . .
GM Bluebaum, Matthias 2669 - GM Erdos, Viktor 2614 ½-½ . .
GM Svane, Rasmus 2615 - GM Cheparinov, Ivan 2667 0-1 . .
GM Malakhov, Vladimir 2666 - GM Vocaturo, Daniele 2617 1-0 . .
GM Sargsyan, Shant 2626 - GM Abasov, Nijat 2656 ½-½ . .
GM Shirov, Alexei 2662 - GM Zherebukh, Yaroslav 2620 1-0 . .
GM Nihal, Sarin 2620 - GM Sjugirov, Sanan 2661 ½-½ . .
GM Adhiban, B. 2660 - GM Delgado Ramirez, Neuris 2622 1-0 . .
GM Bok, Benjamin 2624 - GM Sevian, Samuel 2647 1-0 . .
GM Lupulescu, Constantin 2659 - GM Hesham, Abdelrahman 2397 1-0 . .
GM Deac, Bogdan-Daniel 2639 - GM Oparin, Grigoriy 2654 ½-½ . .
GM Kuzubov, Yuriy 2653 - GM Ponkratov, Pavel 2629 ½-½ . .
GM Mareco, Sandro 2629 - GM Cori, Jorge 2652 1-0 . .
GM Onischuk, Alexander 2649 - GM Paravyan, David 2625 0-1 . .
GM Mustafa Yilmaz 2630 - GM Haik Martirosyan 2632 0-1 . .
GM Saric, Ivan 2653 - GM Pichot, Alan 2630 ½-½ . .
GM Abdusattorov, Nodirbek 2634 - GM Aravindh, Chithambaram VR. 2641 ½-½ . .
GM Sarana, Alexey 2640 - GM Kovalev, Vladislav 2637 ½-½ . .
GM Jumabayev, Rinat 2637 - GM Motylev, Alexander 2639 ½-½ . .
GM Tari, Aryan 2639 - GM Bareev, Evgeny 2638 1-0 . .

That Rf6 theme is a nice bridge toward the women's section, where Ukrainian GM Anna Muzychuk's 36.Rf6 against WGM Tatev Abrahamyan (U.S.) looked nice as well. However, in that case, the white player had missed a mate in five just before and survived a losing position:

Muzychuk Abrahamyan 2021 World Cup
A wild time-trouble phase in Muzychuk-Abrahamyan. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

GM Harika Dronavalli won a nice game against the aforementioned Aulia from Indonesia:

The biggest upset was IM Bibisara Assaubayeva beating Gibraltar Women's Grand Prix winner GM Zhansaya Abdumalik:

Bibisara Assaubayeva Zhansaya Abdumalik World Cup
Bibisara Assaubayeva vs. Zhansaya Abdumalik. Photo: Eric Rosen/FIDE.

Results round 2

Fed Player Rating Fed Player Rating G1 G2 TB
GM Goryachkina, Aleksandra 2596 - WGM Tokhirjonova, Gulrukhbegim 2320 1-0 . .
IM Badelka, Olga 2418 - IM Matnadze, Ana 2421 ½-½ . .
WGM Pogonina, Natalija 2469 - IM Kulkarni Bhakti 2391 ½-½ . .
WGM Maltsevskaya, Aleksandra 2382 - GM Stefanova, Antoaneta 2463 ½-½ . .
IM Kashlinskaya, Alina 2488 - IM Ordaz Valdes, Lisandra Teresa 2369 ½-½ . .
GM Hoang, Thanh Trang 2404 - IM Galliamova, Alisa 2442 0-1 . .
IM Bulmaga, Irina 2413 - GM Danielian, Elina 2407 0-1 . .
WGM Yu, Jennifer 2289 - IM Saduakassova, Dinara 2483 0-1 . .
GM Dzagnidze, Nana 2523 - GM Peng, Zhaoqin 2358 1-0 . .
IM Buksa, Nataliya 2413 - IM Yip, Carissa 2430 0-1 . .
WGM Girya, Olga 2448 - WGM Garifullina, Leya 2390 ½-½ . .
WIM Munkhzul, Turmunkh 2278 - IM Shuvalova, Polina 2489 0-1 . .
IM Javakhishvili, Lela 2470 - IM Mammadova, Gulnar 2385 ½-½ . .
IM Salimova, Nurgyul 2395 - IM Paehtz, Elisabeth 2466 ½-½ . .
IM Atalik, Ekaterina 2433 - IM Guichard, Pauline 2413 0-1 . .
WGM Abrahamyan, Tatev 2352 - GM Muzychuk, Anna 2527 0-1 . .
GM Muzychuk, Mariya 2550 - IM Gaponenko, Inna 2357 ½-½ . .
IM Cyfka, Karina 2417 - GM Ushenina, Anna 2429 0-1 . .
GM Cramling, Pia 2459 - GM Socko, Monika 2393 ½-½ . .
WGM Cori T., Deysi 2388 - GM Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2472 0-1 . .
GM Batsiashvili, Nino 2487 - IM Tsolakidou, Stavroula 2389 ½-½ . .
WGM Zawadzka, Jolanta 2403 - IM Bodnaruk, Anastasia 2446 1-0 . .
GM Gunina, Valentina 2437 - IM Sukandar, Irine Kharisma 2413 1-0 . .
IM Aulia, Medina Warda 2360 - GM Harika, Dronavalli 2515 0-1 . .
GM Tan, Zhongyi 2511 - WGM Yildiz Kadioglu, Betul Cemre 2362 ½-½ . .
IM Skripchenko, Almira 2411 - GM Sebag, Marie 2483 ½-½ . .
IM Mammadzada, Gunay 2460 - IM Unuk, Laura 2407 ½-½ . .
IM Padmini, Rout 2370 - IM Khademalsharieh, Sarasadat 2494 ½-½ . .
GM Abdumalik, Zhansaya 2505 - IM Assaubayeva, Bibisara 2389 0-1 . .
WGM Vaishali R 2393 - GM Khotenashvili, Bela 2471 0-1 . .
IM Munguntuul, Batkhuyag 2428 - IM Osmak, Iulija 2418 1-0 . .
WGM Injac, Teodora 2370 - GM Lagno, Kateryna 2559 ½-½ . .

The FIDE World Cup takes place in the Galaxy Leisure Complex in Sochi, Russia, until August 6, 2021. Each round consists of two classical games and, if necessary, a rapid/blitz tiebreak on the third day. Starting from round two, the Open section has 128 players and the women's section, 64.


Previous reports:

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