Anand Starts With Loss In World Cup Round 2
Round two of the FIDE World Cup in Tbilisi started with a shocking loss for Vishy Anand. The five-time world champion "brilliantly overpressed" in a good position against Anton Kovalyov of Canada, and needs to win his second game to stay in the tournament.
Anand trading scoresheets shortly after resigning his game. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
In a half-empty playing hall, where 64 chairs, 32 boards and 1,024 pieces had been removed, the winning half of the first round entered for a new round. Fun facts: all Russians who did not play against a compatriot managed to qualify (18 out of 20). And two round-two matches were the same as two years ago: Giri-Motylev, and Harikrishna-Sethuraman.
Many players seemed rather cautious on this fourth day of the World Cup. Only seven of the 32 games ended decisively.
2017 World Cup | Round 2 Day 1 Results
|Dreev (2648)||Carlsen (2827)||0-1|
|Bacrot (2728)||Bu (2714)||½-½|
|Svidler (2756)||Erdos (2619)||½-½|
|Onischuk (2682)||Wojtaszek (2739)||½-½|
|Vachier-Lagrave (2804)||Grachev (2654)||1-0|
|Tari (2588)||Lenderman (2565)||½-½|
|Cori (2648)||Grischuk (2788)||½-½|
|Navara (2720)||Cheparinov (2695)||1-0|
|Kramnik (2803)||Demchenko (2650)||1-0|
|Duda (2698)||Ivanchuk (2727)||½-½|
|Motylev (2668)||Giri (2777)||½-½|
|Harikrishna (2741)||Sethuraman (2617)||½-½|
|Hou Yifan 2670)||Aronian (2802)||½-½|
|Matlakov (2728)||Andreikin (2708)||½-½|
|Karjakin (2780)||Dubov 2666)||½-½|
|Artemiev (2692)||Radjabov (2742)||½-½|
|So (2792)||Bluebaum (2633)||½-½|
|Tomashevsky (2710)||Vallejo (2717)||½-½|
|Adhiban (2670)||Nepomniachtchi (2741)||½-½|
|Yu Yangyi 2750)||Jobava (2702)||½-½|
|Bruzon (2651)||Nakamura (2781)||½-½|
|Fedoseev (2731)||Inarkiev (2694)||1-0|
|Anand (2794)||Kovalyov (2649)||0-1|
|Rodshtein (2695)||Adams (2738)||½-½|
|Lenic (2646)||Caruana (2799)||½-½|
|Vitiugov (2728)||Najer (2694)||½-½|
|Wei Yi (2748)||Rapport (2675)||½-½|
|Sevian (2610)||Li Chao (2745)||½-½|
|Mamedyarov (2797)||Kuzubov (2688)||½-½|
|Wang Hao (2701)||Gelfand (2737)||½-½|
|Kravtsiv (2670)||Ding Liren (2771)||½-½|
|Le (2739)||Vidit (2702||0-1|
"If it would have worked it would be the game of the year." Kovalyov admitted that his opponent's sacrifice was rather pretty, but there was one problem. It didn't work.
Anand had set up the game strongly, starting with a novelty in the 6.h3 Najdorf that had a well-thought-out plan behind it. He must have been in his preparation for quite some time.
Anand's position was promising ("a position where Black is fighting for survival without even a hint of loss for White involved" — Dejan Bojkov) but he only got two pawns for a piece, and by making some only moves Kovalyov escaped the threats and then consolidated.
Anand overpressed and couldn't make his sacrifice work. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
"I felt I shouldn't be lost I that position," said Kovalyov, who is doing his masters in Texas and is even studying during the World Cup. Anand might be knocked out by someone who is not even a professional player at the moment.
"Generation ally" Vassily Ivanchuk having a look at Anand's position. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Magnus Carlsen made an excellent impression in his black game with Aleksey Dreev, one of the most experienced players in the field. In a Ragozin Carlsen got a protected passed pawn on b3 but seemed to be losing it soon as White's strong center would push away the black bishop protecting it.
However, Carlsen found a way to keep the pawn (by playing Bojkov's move of the day!), although he still didn't think it was that clear in the endgame. "But somehow he went down very quickly," said Carlsen.
The arbiter getting a copy of Carlsen's scoresheet. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Another world champion was looking good on this day (and clearly better than in his last game). Vladimir Kramnik nicely outplayed his compatriot Anton Demchenko. Starting from a double fianchetto he reached a good version of a g3-King's Indian where White already gained some space on the queenside. From there it was a very powerful game by Kramnik.
A very strong game by Kramnik vs Demchenko. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
You might have noticed that Dejan Bojkov is providing a game and a move of the day in these reports. If there is one, he also sends a blunder of the day and for this round it involved the game David Navara vs Ivan Cheparinov. The game might have looked like a brilliancy, but in reality Navara wasn't happy with his play and called it "a strange game."
Cheparinov blunders in time trouble in what was a strange game. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Vladimir Fedoseev started with a loss in his first game and was worse in the second, but still managed to advance to the second round. There he started much better, and defeated Ernesto Inarkiev in another all-Russian match. It was an interesting Sicilian Dragon where White started with classical moves like Be2 and Nb3, but then started attacking with g4 and h4 anyway.
Nice play from Fedoseev in a Sicilian Dragon. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave had to work a bit for his point, but in the end won convincingly as well. Boris Grachev's Nimzowitsch Sicilian was nice to see, but not for MVL perhaps, who started thinking from move three and played the rare 5.e6!? after a 7.5-minute think.
The opening was rather unclear and Grachev should definitely have gone for 9...Nde5. Instead he decided to sacrifice two pawns, but got compensation for one, maybe. Vachier-Lagrave was up to the technical task and won nicely at the end.
Surprising MVL with the Nimzowitsch Sicilian wasn't enough for Boris Grachev to save the game. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
At the end of the day one more decisive game followed. Vidit Santosh Gujrathi defeated Le Quang Liem with the black pieces from a Ragozin queenless middlegame. The pawn structure resembled a Grünfeld, and in this case White wasn't able to protect his center without losing a pawn on the queenside. Eventually Vidit decided the game in a rook endgame, when he had reached the Lucena position on move 70.
Vidit confidently looks upon his rook endgame with Le. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
One of the shortest draws was Hou Yifan vs Levon Aronian, where it's quite possible that the Armenian player was still in his preparation at the end (and maybe Hou as well). There was an interesting possibility for White to avoid the repetition, where the computer spits out some mind-blowing moves leading to a position where Black has a rook and bishop for a queen. That might be drawn as well.
And also the draw between Baskaran Adhiban and Ian Nepomniachtchi shouldn't go unnoticed. Just like in January in Wijk aan Zee they played an interesting 6.Bg5 Najdorf but this time it was theory for a long time. But no less spectacular!
Adhiban, involved in another sharp Najdorf with Nepomniachtchi. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Lenderman and Tari drew before the latter needed to use up his reserves. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Bu Xiangzhi offering a draw to Etienne Bacrot (which was accepted). | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Ivanchuk reached a very easy draw vs Duda. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
In his first game in Tbilisi Alexander Onischuk drew with Radek Wojtaszek. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Matthias Bluebaum's favorite French saved the day vs So. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Grischuk in one of his famous time troubles, drawing with Cori. | 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.
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