Bu Brilliancy Beats Carlsen At World Cup
Carlsen resigns and loses his first game in Tbilisi. | Photo: Emelianova.

Bu Brilliancy Beats Carlsen At World Cup

| 58 | Chess Event Coverage

Bu Xiangzhi defeated Magnus Carlsen in a brilliant first game of the FIDE World Cup's third round. The world champion needs to win as Black tomorrow to stay in the tournament.

32 players were left  in the tournament for round three, but only 15 games were played today. Anton Kovalyov forfeited his game for not arriving at the board by the default time after a dress code incident.

Read all about it here: Dress Code Incident At World Cup: Kovalyov Forfeits

Tomorrow we'll see 15 more games because Kovalyov isn't coming back. Therefore, Maxim Rodshtein has already advanced to round four.

On Sunday three players need to win on demand: Magnus Carlsen, Maxim Matlakov and Paco Vallejo.

2017 World Cup | Round 3, Day 1 Results

Fed Player Fed Player Classical Rapid Blitz Score
Carlsen (2827) Bu Xiangzhi (2714) 0-1
Onischuk (2682) Svidler (2756) ½-½
Lenderman (2565) Vachier-Lagrave (2804) ½-½
Grischuk (2788) Navara (2720) ½-½
Ivanchuk (2727) Kramnik (2803) ½-½
Giri (2777) Sethuraman (2617) ½-½
Aronian (2802) Matlakov (2728) 1-0
Artemiev (2692) Dubov (2666) ½-½
Vallejo (2717) So (2792) 0-1
Nepomniachtchi (2741) Jobava (2702) ½-½
Nakamura (2781) Fedoseev (2731) ½-½
Rodshtein (2695) Kovalyov (2649) 1-0*
Caruana (2799) Najer (2694) ½-½
Li Chao (2745) Rapport (2675) ½-½
Wang Hao (2701) Kuzubov (2688) ½-½
Ding Liren (2771) Vidit (2702) ½-½

He was the only player still on a 100 percent score, but that's been shattered now. Magnus Carlsen started his round three match with Bu Xiangzhi badly. Actually, it was the other way around: Bu started his match with Carlsen brilliantly.

The world champion chose the Bishop's Opening, but the position soon resembled a Ruy Lopez without ...a6 and ...b5. Bu's mysterious rook move 9...Rab8 was followed by the Marshall'esque pawn sacrifice 10...d5!? which Carlsen should have accepted immediately, instead of a move later.


Carlsen leaving the playing hall after today's loss. | Photo: Emelianova.

Bu, who said to that he never played the Marshall, treated the position wonderfully. He sacrificed a bishop on h3 and continued with ...Rbe8 and ...f5, and later ...g5, creating an attack that even the best player on the planet could not defend against.

Very impressive play from the 31-year-old Chinese player, who once was the youngest grandmaster in the world. These days the focus is much more on other Chinese players, but... Bu still has it.

null's interview with Bu.

The second seed of the tournament fared much better than the top seed. Although he seemed to be out of book by move four, Wesley So responded rather well to Paco Vallejo's ultra-sharp treatment of the Caro-Kann. This 4.g4 move might actually be playable, but giving up the exchange was a bit too much. Nonetheless, kudos to the Spaniard for such a brave approach!


Vallejo went straight for the kill, but So was ready for battle. | Photo: Emelianova.

Fabiano Caruana drew quickly with Evgenyi Najer; the players barely got out of the opening (an Open Ruy Lopez) when Caruana called it a day on move 18. Vassily Ivanchuk and Vladimir Kramnik also drew (their game lasted a bit longer) but the next among the favorites, Levon Aronian, started with a win.

The Armenian number one outplayed Maxim Matlakov straight from the opening in a game where it wasn't exactly clear where Black made a mistake. Maybe the Nc6-e7-g6 plan was already wrong.


Navara tends to make small jokes before the start of the round. He said to Aronian (in Russian): "Congratulations for qualifying yesterday. But I would have preferred to see Hou Yifan advance. She is much nicer to look at!" | Photo: Emelianova.


Aronian, just as witty: "I also rather look at her than at you!" | Photo: Emelianova.

All other games ended in draws. One of the longest games was Alexander Grischuk vs David Navara, who heroically saved a knight endgame a pawn down by playing the Move of the Day. The Czech grandmaster, who almost single-handedly spoilt Garry Kasparov's comeback last month in St. Louis, sacrificed his knight to reach a fortress that's not very well known. Beautiful.


An instructive knight endgame in Grischuk vs Navara. | Photo: Emelianova.

Vidit Santosh Gujrathi came close to beating Ding Liren with the black pieces, which would have put him in a tremendous position. The missed win was not easy, but quite nice:


Ding and Vidit discussing some variations after the game. | Photo: Emelianova.


Only 16 boards were left in the playing hall. The organizers placed them in three groups. | Photo: Emelianova.


Maxim Rodshtein played the one move his game would last. | Photo: Emelianova.


Players can calculate lines in quite different poses. | Photo: Emelianova.


After drawing his game Baadur Jobava took a seat in the audience. Ivan Salgado Lopez is still in Tbilisi, helping one of the players. | Photo: Emelianova.


Bu Xianghzhi might have increased his fanbase somewhat today. | Photo: 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. relays the games at You can watch also live commentary on 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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