Caruana, Eljanov, Karjakin, Mamedyarov Start With Wins At World Cup

Caruana, Eljanov, Karjakin, Mamedyarov Start With Wins At World Cup

| 35 | Chess Event Coverage

Fabiano Caruana, Pavel Eljanov, Sergey Karjakin and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov started with wins in the first game of round three at the FIDE World Cup in Baku.

Before the World Cup, the players could choose between two hotels: the Fairmont, where the playing hall is, and the Holiday Inn. The tournament has now reached the third round, and there are no players left in the Holiday Inn!

Almost all who were staying there were eliminated in the first round, as if it were cursed somehow. That included the exit of Boris Gelfand, who likes to go for walks at night, and therefore preferred that hotel since it's more centrally located (and close to the water).

On Wednesday Pavel Eljanov used his rest day to move to the Fairmont, and a day later Alexander Areshchenko, who needed to stay longer after ousting Levon Aronian, decided to make the same move. The two Ukrainians must have decided that the Fairmont is the hotel of champions.

What about that ban of pens and watches? According to arbiter Alexander
Bakh, they're “not recommended” but it's not strictly enforced.

Areshchenko again made a good impression Thursday (better than his classical games with Aronian!) and drew a fairly balanced game with Wei Yi. He'll surely be put to the test tomorrow when he plays with Black.

Areshchenko getting mentally ready for round three.

The game was one of many draws. The following games were not overly exciting, basically because Black managed to equalize without much trouble:

  • Nepomniachtchi vs Nakamura, a symmetrical ending from a Queen's Gambit Accepted where White kept a slight initiative;
  • So vs Le, a 5.Bf4 Queen's Gambit Declined where all pawns had left the queenside by move 25;
  • Andreikin vs Kramnik, an Exchange QGD with a quick ...c6-c5, which was remarkably comfortable for Black;
  • Ivanchuk vs Jakovenko, another 5.Bf4 QGD that quickly reached an ending where not much happened;
  • Vachier-Lagrave vs Tomashevsky, a Marshall Ruy Lopez where White failed to pose serious problems;
  • Adams-Dominguez, a 5.Re1 Berlin where Dominguez equalized thanks to some precise moves;
  • Radjabov-Svidler, a Breyer Ruy Lopez where Black always looked solid.
The reprise of the 2013 final started with a draw.

One more game ended in a quick draw: Gadir Guseinov vs Ding Liren. Although it's theoretical, the temporary piece sacrifice is worth showing:


Guseinov was highly concentrated at the start of
the round, but didn't get to play a “real” game.

It might not surprise Magnus Carlsen that Peter Leko and Anish Giri split the point, but the game was in fact quite sharp. The two went for one of the main lines of the English Attack, and so it was also a theoretical battle. Not much was addded to existing theory:


Sergey Karjakin had some scary moments in the previous round, but started well in his first game with Yu Yangyi. He had noticed that Yu recently played a certain variation of the Sicilian Four Knights, and went for the same.

White can basically get a slightly better ending in this line, so maybe Yu expected to hold this? At the board that turned out to be not so easy, and the Chinese GM left the playing hall shaking his head in disbelief.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov won in similar style against S.P. Sethuraman, the Indian player who had knocked out compatriot Pentala Harikrishna. A spectacular but known line in the Panov Caro-Kann led to an endgame advantage for White. Mamedyarov's knight was the hero of the day:

Fabiano Caruana had an easy day at the office against Anton Kovalyov, especially after the latter made a positional mistake on move 23 that was hard to explain. From that moment White controlled the board.

Right after the time control Caruana completed “Alekhine's gun” (a queen behind two rooks), and was ready to blow open the position with f3-f4. Kovalyov didn't want to wait for that, but his ...f5 weakened the kingside too much.


Caruana slowly built up a devastating advantage vs Kovalyov.

Pavel Eljanov is still on a perfect score: he went 2-0 in the first two rounds, and now also beat Alexander Grischuk as Black!

It was an amazing game that reminded of his encounter with Denis Khismatullin at the European Championship in Jerusalem earlier this year.

He lost that one, but this time around Eljanov was on the winning side. Here's the game, annotated by GM Dejan Bojkov:


Pavel “5.0/5” Eljanov, now in the top 20 of the live ratings.

Veselin Topalov seemed to be heading to a win as well; in fact everyone was expecting him to be the first score the full point. He got a winning advantage in a Dragon, but then was just sloppy. 

For example, on move 25 he spent just 28 seconds on the famous “which rook problem,” and as it turned out the other rook was clearly stronger. The next move he spent almost eight minutes but perhaps he simply had problems with calculating, because he missed another relatively easy win.



Topalov goes 1.e4 against Lu, who would play a Dragon.

Granda Zuniga and Wojtaszek reached a middlegame where not a single pawn was traded by move 37. The position was completely closed, and Wojtasek's only serious plan was a sacrifice at some point. He went for it, but it wasn't enough to win:

2015 World Cup | Round, Day 1 Results

  Left Half       Right Half  
Topalov ½-½ Lu Shanglei   Nepomniachtchi ½-½ Nakamura
Radjabov ½-½ Svidler   Adams ½-½ Dominguez
Guseinov ½-½ Ding Liren   Grischuk 0-1 Eljanov
Areshchenko ½-½ Wei Yi   Ivanchuk ½-½ Jakovenko
Leko ½-½ Giri   Caruana 1-0 Kovalyov
Granda ½-½ Wojtaszek   Mamedyarov 1-0 Sethuraman
So ½-½ Le   Andreikin ½-½ Kramnik
Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Tomashevsky   Karjakin 1-0 Yu Yangyi

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