FIDE World Cup R5.1: Kosteniuk, Martirosyan Only Winners
Haik Martirosyan was the only winner in the open group. Photo: Eric Rosen/FIDE.

FIDE World Cup R5.1: Kosteniuk, Martirosyan Only Winners

| 30 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Haik Martirosyan defeated GM Amin Tabatabaei in the only decisive game in the open section of the FIDE World Cup on Sunday. The women's section had just one winner as well: GM Alexandra Kosteniuk survived a lost position and beat GM Valentina Gunina.

How to watch?
The games of the FIDE World Cup can be found here: Open | Women. provides daily commentary on and with GM Hou Yifan, GM Ben Finegold, IM Danny Rensch, GM Robert Hess, GM Viswanathan Anand, and other guests. FIDE World Cup 2021 live broadcast

Was it the matchup of stronger players, the growing tension, the drawish nature of the game, or all of the above? Whatever it was, we surprisingly saw 10 of the 12 games at the World Cup in Sochi end in draws.

Before moving on to the games, let's start with this super cute moment from the live broadcast, where co-commentator GM Vishy Anand's son Akhil suddenly popped into the show for a bit:

Among the 24 players still left playing, the first two to finish were GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and GM Sergey Karjakin. The latter showed deep preparation in the Berlin endgame and equalized comfortably with a pawn sacrifice that he played after just seven seconds. Karjakin followed up with six more quick moves before spending a few minutes to close the game completely.

Vachier-Lagrave Karjakin Sochi 2021
A quick draw in Vachier-Lagrave vs. Karjakin. Photo: Anastasiya Korolkova/FIDE.

The 19-year-old GM Andrey Esipenko drew quite comfortably as Black against World Champion Magnus Carlsen. The game was highly anticipated because of Esipenko's win against Carlsen in Wijk aan Zee earlier this year but finished rather quickly as well. If either player was better, it was Esipenko:

Carlsen Esipenko Sochi 2021
Carlsen chatting with Esipenko after the game. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Even more impressive was how GM Velimir Ivic held the draw vs. GM Vladimir Fedoseev. Using the Grunfeld, the 18-year-old Serbian GM got into a four vs. three rook endgame almost straight from the opening and successfully defended it to reach a draw on move 60. 

Fedoseev Ivic Sochi 2021
As witnessed by the world champion, Fedoseev couldn't break through Ivic's defense. Photo: Anastasiya Korolkova/FIDE.

Speaking of defense, there was also GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda keeping his cool against an attacking GM Alexander Grischuk: "To be honest, I quite liked my position the entire game," said Duda, who wanted to continue the game but couldn't find a good way to avoid the perpetual.

Arguably the most interesting of the draws was the one between GM Vidit Gujrathi and GM Vasif Durarbayli, which started with the quiet Exchange Slav but soon turned into a rather sharp middlegame. It looks like both players then overlooked a close to winning possibility for White, and later in the game, it was Black who got close to the full point:

Vidit Santosh Gujrathi FIDE World Cup 2021
Vidit Santosh Gujrathi. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The only decisive game could easily have finished in a draw as well. Tabatabaei, who had sacrificed a pawn before, avoided a move repetition on move 27 as he was still more active in the ensuing endgame. However, Martirosyan managed to free himself, and then his extra pawn started to tell: Game of the Day Dejan Bojkov

Tabatabaei-Martirosyan Sochi 2021
Tabatabaei-Martirosyan. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Results round of 16

Fed Player Rtg - Fed Player Rtg G1 G2 TB
GM Carlsen, Magnus 2847 - GM Esipenko, Andrey 2716 ½-½ . .
GM Grischuk, Alexander 2778 - GM Duda, Jan-Krzysztof 2738 ½-½ . .
GM Karjakin, Sergey 2757 - GM Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2749 ½-½ . .
GM Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi 2726 - GM Durarbayli, Vasif 2625 ½-½ . .
GM Svidler, Peter 2714 - GM Shankland, Sam 2709 ½-½ . .
GM Fedoseev, Vladimir 2696 - GM Ivic, Velimir 2582 ½-½ . .
GM Bacrot, Etienne 2678 - GM Piorun, Kacper 2608 ½-½ . .
GM Martirosyan, Haik 2709 - GM Tabatabaei, M. Amin 2613 1-0 . .

The women's tournament is one round ahead of the open. The first day of the quarterfinals saw a great fighting game between GM Alexandra Kosteniuk and GM Valentina Gunina, where the latter was doing very well and missed several wins before eventually losing as she overpressed in a drawn endgame with queens and opposite-colored bishops:

Kosteniuk Gunina FIDE World Cup 2021
Gunina pretty much self-destructed vs. Kosteniuk. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Results quarterfinals

Fed Player Rating Fed Player Rating G1 G2 TB
GM Goryachkina, Aleksandra 2596 - IM Saduakassova, Dinara 2483 ½-½ . .
GM Lagno, Kateryna 2559 - GM Tan, Zhongyi 2511 ½-½ . .
GM Muzychuk, Anna 2527 - GM Dzagnidze, Nana 2523 ½-½ . .
GM Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2472 - GM Gunina, Valentina 2437 1-0 . .

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. The open section began round two with 128 players and the women's section, 64.

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