Amin, Howell, Fressinet, Nisipeanu Exit World Cup
Bassem Amin, David Howell, Laurent Fressinet and Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu are the biggest names that were eliminated on day three of the FIDE World Cup in Tibilisi. In the longest tiebreak match of the day, the local hero Baadur Jobava managed to qualify at the expense of Ivan Salgado.
Salgado and Jobava discussing what was the longest tiebreak match of the day. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Of the 64 first-round matches, 22 went to today's tiebreaks. With an arbiter or a volunteer sitting at each board to write down the moves, the 44 players took off at 3 p.m. with the knowledge that it was either round two, or a flight back home for them.
Tiebreaks start with two rapid games of 25 minutes plus 10 seconds increment. In case of a tie, two games of 10 minutes and 10 seconds increment are played and if it's still even, two games of five minutes and three seconds increment.
If necessary, the whole thing ends with an Armageddon where White gets five minutes, Black four minutes, both get a three-second increment after move 60, and Black has draw odds.
2017 World Cup | Round 1 Tiebreak Results
|GM Fier (2569)||GM Bacrot (2728)||½-½, ½-½||0-1,0-1||1-3|
|GM Amin (2699)||GM Erdos (2619)||½-½, ½-½||½-½, ½-½||0-1, ½-½||2½-3½|
|GM Grachev (2654)||GM Melkumyan, (2642)||½-½, ½-½||½-½, 1-0||2½-1½|
|GM Tari (2588)||GM Howell (2701)||½-½, ½-½||½-½, ½-½||½-½, 1-0||3½-2½|
|GM Areshchenko (2645)||GM Demchenko, (2650)||1-0, 0-1||0-1, 1-0||0-1, ½-½||2½-3½|
|GM Ivanchuk (2727)||GM Kazhgaleyev (2570)||½-½, ½-½||1-0, 1-0||3-1|
|GM Gonzalez (2547)||GM Harikrishna (2741)||1-0, 0-1||½-½, ½-½||½-½, 0-1||2½-3½|
|GM Andreikin (2708)||GM Goganov (2567)||½-½, ½-½||1-0, 1-0||3-1|
|IM Smirnov (2508)||GM Karjakin (2780)||½-½, ½-½||0-1, 0-1||1-3|
|GM Dubov (2666)||GM Fridman (2625)||½-½, ½-½||½-½, ½-½||½-½, 1-0||3½-2½|
|GM Vallejo (2717)||GM Karthikeyan (2574)||1-0, 0-1||1-0, ½-½||2½-1½|
|GM Antipov (2578)||GM Tomashevsky (2710)||½-½, ½-½||0-1, ½-½||1½-2½|
|GM Nepomniachtchi (2741)||GM Palac (2535)||½-½, ½-½||½-½, ½-½||½-½, 1-0||3½-2½|
|GM Nguyen (2629)||GM Adhiban (2670)||½-½, ½-½||½-½, ½-½||0-1, ½-½||2½-3½|
|GM Pourramezana (2534)||GM Yu Yangyi (2750)||½-½, ½-½||0-1, 0-1||1-3|
|GM Jobava (2702)||GM Salgado (2627)||½-½, ½-½||½-½, ½-½||1-0, 0-1, ½-½, 1-0||4½-3½|
|GM Bacallao (2573)||GM Fedoseev (2731)||1-0, 0-1||0-1, 0-1||1-3|
|GM Adams (2738)||GM Batchuluun (2566)||½-½, ½-½||1-0, ½-½||2½-1½|
|GM Hovhannisyan (2594)||GM Rodshtein (2695)||½-½, ½-½||0-1, 0-1||1-3|
|GM Lenic (2646)||GM Fressinet (2657)||½-½, ½-½||½-½, ½-½||1-0, 1-0||4-2|
|GM Sambuev, (2529)||GM Wei Yi (2748)||1-0, 0-1||0-1, ½-½||1½-2½|
|GM Sevian (2610)||GM Nisipeanu (2674)||½-½, ½-½||½-½, 1-0||2½-1½|
It was a rare but wonderful display of sportsmanship and friendship to see Jobava and Salgado, who just finished a thrilling tiebreak, hanging out together in the press room, drinking wine and sharing stories with each other and with journalists. As it turned out, the two have been friends since they were 16, and there was even a tiny bit of sadness in Jobava's eyes as he had been forced to knock out his Spanish amigo.
The two artists leaving the playing hall together. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Besides the natural disappointment and fatigue, Salgado was mostly happy to have played "an interesting match." (Back in 2011 in Khanty-Mansiysk he had lost his first-round match without a serious fight in his first World Cup.)
The first two rapid games ended in draws, then Jobava won the first 10+10 game and then Salgado managed to win as well. Getting support from Paco Vallejo and David Anton just outside the playing hall, the Spanish GM returned to the board and started strongly in the first 5+3 game. He won a healthy pawn, but then allowed too much counterplay.
Jobava winning the first 10+10 game. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Jobava then played one of his pet systems, the reversed Philidor. Salgado said that he had even looked at this during his preparation, but somehow it went wrong anyway. It was a powerful performance by the winner, who showed no mercy after just one mistake from his opponent.
Jobava and Salgado even shared some wine and cheese together afterward. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
This was the longest tiebreak match of the day. These last two games were played in an empty playing hall, although many volunteers, arbiters and journalists were allowed to watch (and film!) from close by. (The organizers and arbiters deserve credit for working together professionally with the media.)
Eight matches were decided in the 10+10 rapid games, the most dramatic being Viktor Erdos vs Bassem Amin. After drawing their 25+10 games, Erdos won the first 10+10 convincingly. In the second game he "got excited" (as he said himself) and used two hands to promote to a queen.
Amin claimed a win, which is understandable, as since July 1 using two hands for a move equals an illegal move, which loses the game in rapid and blitz if the opponent claims or the arbiter steps in. However, at World Cups the same rules are in effect for all time controls, to avoid confusion for the players. Therefore, also in tiebreaks, the first occurrence an illegal move will lead to a warning and the opponent receives two minutes extra on the clock.
The highly experienced but aging arbiter Faik Gasanov of Azerbaijan needed several minutes to set the clock, which gave Erdos extra time to think about the position. Having in mind Amin's blunder in a winning rook endgame the other day, it was difficult not to feel sorry for him.
The arbiter resetting the clock, which took several minutes... | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
...during which Amin asked for more explanation with Chief Arbiter Tomasz Delega of Poland. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Amin offered the draw to resign his match, knowing that he was so close yesterday. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
For a neutral spectator there is little that beats a World Cup tiebreak day in terms of entertainment value. Several players (either qualified for round two or not) could be found in the playing hall, such as Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Johann Hjartarson.
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was among the spectators today. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Others preferred to watch it from their hotel room.
@MagnusCarlsen) September 5, 2017
Carlsen must have had a good day as he was watching via Jon Ludvig Hammer's stream on the Norwegian Chess.com Twitch channel, seeing the only other Norwegian player in the field, GM Aryan Tari, advance to the next round. After five draws Tari defeated David Howell in the second 10+10 game, thanks to a brilliant 11th move.
It must be noted that higher-rated Howell also showed excellent sportsmanship, discussing the games for a while with this opponent before leaving the playing hall.
Aryan Tari, the second Norwegian player to reach round two. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Four players who started with a loss on Sunday managed to scrape through to the next round via today's tiebreak: Anton Demchenko, Pentala Harikrishna, Vladimir Fedoseev and Wei Yi. The latter did so convincingly, as Bator Sambuev blundered early in the game and was punished ruthlessly.
Wei Yi (second from right) among his Chinese friends during one of the breaks. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
It was "Hari Houdini" in today's second 25+10 game as we saw an incredible escape from Pentala Harikrishna, where a loss would have meant direct elimination. Yuri Gonzalez Vidal, who lost the second 10+10 game, will have trouble sleeping tonight.
When friends call you Hari, reporters may call this a Houdini act. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Anton Demchenko won the grudge match vs Alexander Areshchenko where none of their six games ended in draws! Areshchenko was about to level the score once again as his attack should have been winning. But under these circumstances maybe only a computer would have found the winning line?
The most bloody match of the World Cup so far, with six decisive games. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Of the 22 tiebreak matches, 13 were finished after the first two rapid games. The start of the first 10+10 games saw a remarkable affair on not one, but two boards. Daniel Fridman agreed to a draw with Daniil Dubov in just 16 moves, and Mladen Palac vs Ian Nepomniachtchi finished even quicker—their notation was 100 percent identical to their second classical game: 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 Ng4 7. Bc1 Nf6 8. Be3 Ng4 9. Bc1 1/2-1/2.
Soon Howell and Tari drew their game as well. Whatever the reasoning was for the players to do so (the lower-rated ones perhaps hoping to reach the Armageddon; the higher rated ones having Black or liking their chances in even faster games!?), both Dubov and Nepo won their very next white game to advance.
Not understanding the quick non-results in round 1.5 ? #FIDEWorldCup— Jonathan Tisdall ( @GMjtis) September 5, 2017
Shall we skip to Armageddon? It's the only language these kids understand ;-) #FIDEWorldCup— Matthew Sadler ( @gmmds) September 5, 2017
Jobava's opponent tomorrow will be Yu Yangyi, who easily defeated Amirreza Pourramezanali of Iran 2-0 today. First he showed good technique in a rook endgame, and then some tactical fireworks in the second:
Yu was in excellent shape today. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
One small upset hasn't been mentioned yet. The 16-year-old GM Sam Sevian managed to eliminate the experienced GM Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, who once made fame in one of these knockout events (well, it was the 1999 FIDE world championship in Las Vegas) for knocking out Alexei Shirov.
Sevian's next opponent will be Li Chao.
After Nakamura, Lenderman and Onischuk, the youngest U.S. grandmaster still active in Tbilisi also made it to the second round. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Missing a win in the first classical game, Alexander Fier was knocked out by Etienne Bacrot in the rapid. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Ian Nepomniachtchi defeated Mladen Palac. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Boris Grachev eliminated Hrant Melkumyan. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
IM Anton Smirnov stops the clock and loses both rapid games to Sergey Karjakin. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Vassily Ivanchuk also won both games today. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Luke Lenic defeated Laurent Fressinet. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Baskaran Adhiban knocked out Nguyen Ngoc Trong Son. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Games from TWIC.
The World Cup takes place September 3-27 in Tbilisi, Georgia. Each round consists of two classical games (four in the final), and possibly a rapid and blitz tiebreak on the third day. The total prize fund is $1.6 million, including a first prize of $120,000. The top two finishers will qualify for the 2018 Candidates' Tournament.
Chess.com relays the games at Chess.com/Live. You can watch also live commentary on Chess.com/TV provided by the Chessbrahs, which includes some of the best commentators on the planet: GM Eric Hansen, GM Robin van Kampen, GM Yasser Seirawan and IM Aman Hambleton.
Loving Eric and Yasser's commentary. Revelation of the day: Yasser has written a novel :) https://t.co/YiDcWb4Fue— Jovanka Houska ( @thelittlehat) September 5, 2017
Correction: An earlier version of this article wrongly stated that since July 1, an illegal move loses the game in rapid and blitz if the opponent claims or the arbiter steps in.