Harikrishna, Mamedyarov, Radjabov, Wei Yi, Wojtaszek Exit World Cup

Harikrishna, Mamedyarov, Radjabov, Wei Yi, Wojtaszek Exit World Cup

| 29 | Chess Event Coverage

On the second tiebreak day in Tbilisi, Boris Gelfand, Pentala Harikrishna, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Teimour Radjabov, Wei Yi and Radoslaw Wojtaszek were among the players who got knocked out of the FIDE World Cup.

Duda vs Ivanchuk, when a brilliant stalemate combination was being played. | Photo: Emelianova.

Just like in round one, 22 matches went to tiebreaks. Three days ago that was about a third of all matches, whereas this time it was more than two-thirds. 

Eight of today's matches were still equal after the two rapid games. Of the first eight 10+10 games, seven were decisive, and the next eight were all decisive. Just two matches went into the 5+3 time control. An Armageddon game hasn't been seen yet at this World Cup.

2017 World Cup | Round 2 Tiebreak Results

Fed Player Fed Player Classical Rapid Blitz Score
Bacrot (2728) Bu (2714) ½-½, ½-½ ½-½, 0-1 1½-2½
Svidler (2756) Erdos (2619) ½-½, ½-½ 1-0, ½-½ 2½-1½
Onischuk (2682) Wojtaszek (2739) ½-½, ½-½ ½-½, 1-0 2½-1½
Cori (2648) Grischuk (2788) ½-½, ½-½ ½-½, 0-1 1½-2½
Navara (2720) Cheparinov (2695) 1-0, 0-1 1-0, 1-0 3-1
Duda (2698) Ivanchuk (2727) ½-½, ½-½ ½-½, ½-½, ½-½, 0-1 2½-3½
Motylev (2668) Giri (2777) ½-½, ½-½ ½-½, ½-½, 0-1, 0-1 2-4
Harikrishna (2741) Sethuraman (2617) ½-½, ½-½ ½-½, 0-1 1½-2½
Hou Yifan 2670) Aronian (2802) ½-½, ½-½ ½-½, ½-½, 0-1, 0-1 2-4
Matlakov (2728) Andreikin (2708) ½-½, ½-½ ½-½, ½-½, 1-0, 0-1 1-0, 1-0 5-3
Artemiev (2692) Radjabov (2742) ½-½, ½-½ 1-0, 0-1, 0-1, 1-0 1-0, ½-½ 4½-3½
So (2792) Bluebaum (2633) ½-½, ½-½ ½-½, ½-½, 1-0, 1-0 4-2
Adhiban (2670) Nepomniachtchi (2741) ½-½, ½-½ ½-½, 0-1 1½-2½
Yu Yangyi 2750) Jobava (2702) ½-½, ½-½ ½-½, ½-½, 0-1, 0-1 2-4
Bruzon (2651) Nakamura (2781) ½-½, ½-½ 0-1, ½-½ 1½-2½
Lenic (2646) Caruana (2799) ½-½, ½-½ ½-½, ½-½, 0-1, 0-1 2-4
Vitiugov (2728) Najer (2694) ½-½, ½-½ 0-1, 0-1 1-3
Wei Yi (2748) Rapport (2675) ½-½, ½-½ 0-1, ½-½ 1½-2½
Sevian (2610) Li Chao (2745) ½-½, ½-½ ½-½, 0-1 1½-2½
Mamedyarov (2797) Kuzubov (2688) ½-½, ½-½ 0-1, 0-1 1-3
Wang Hao (2701) Gelfand (2737) ½-½, ½-½ 1-0, ½-½ 2½-1½
Kravtsiv (2670) Ding Liren (2771) ½-½, ½-½ 0-1, ½-½ 1½-2½

Alexander Onischuk was the first player to score an upset in today's tiebreak. The American grandmaster, who turned 42 on the second day he was supposed to play his round one game (but won by default because of a no-show), defeated the 30-year-old Radek Wojtaszek in the second rapid game. 

Onischuk said that he wasn't doing well out of the opening: "I was quite worried about my position. But then I equalized, and he started playing for a win in an equal position. I guess this is how stronger players lose matches from time to time; they just overpress. That's what happened in this game."'s interview with Onischuk.

Onischuk's opponent will be Peter Svidler, who eliminated the young Hungarian grandmaster Viktor Erdos, also in two rapid games. The first was especially nice, and Svidler said he was "happy with that," as he got the opportunity to sacrifice a full rook for what turned out to be a winning attack. 

There was also some crazy stuff left behind the scenes, as Svidler told

"Funnily enough, once again in a game with Viktor, somebody fails to promote properly," he said. "For the first time in my life, I actually left the pawn on f8 and pressed the clock when I took e7xf8. I don't know what happened to my brain at that point."

And so, like in his game with Bassem Amin, Erdos was given two extra minutes on the clock—something that got the players laughing while the arbiter was resetting the clock. Svidler was lucky that an illegal move doesn't lose on the first instance, but only on the second.

In an interview with Svidler admitted that he was "outplayed completely" in the second rapid game, but he held that one to a draw.'s interview with Peter Svidler.

Svidler remained downstairs for the rest of the day and was mostly cheering for Maxim Matlakov, his friend and occasional second from St. Petersburg. Matlakov had a long match, and eventually eliminated Dmitry Andreikin in the 5+3 segment.

It was the first 10+10 game where Matlakov completely outplayed his opponent:'s interview with Matlakov.

Alexander Grischuk found tough resistance from Peru's Jorge Cori in the classical games, and also the first rapid encounter was drawn. But then experience defeated youth. A kind of Scheveningen Sicilian (coming from a Taimanov) followed a game Tal-Gufeld played here in Tbilisi in 1969. Black's king protecting e6 was asking for trouble, and with simple moves, Grischuk decided matters.


As expected, Sasha Grischuk reached round three as well. | Photo: Emelianova.

Dejan Bojkov already sent us the move of the day after the first series of rapid games, but it was a very safe bet. Vassily Ivanchuk and many onlookers, such as Giri and Svidler, were just astonished when Jan-Krzysztof Duda played the following combination with little time on the clock. Never have the words "study-like" been more appropriate.


An absolutely brilliant way to hold the draw by Duda. | Photo: Emelianova.

The second rapid game was drawn as well. For their first 10+10 game Ivanchuk arrived 3.5 minutes late. He apologized to both his opponent and the arbiter, and to the latter he said that it is difficult to keep track of the time when you're not allowed to bring in a watch. (This is an anti-cheating measure as smartwatches get more and more sophisticated these days.)

The arbiter was obviously right in pointing out to Chuky that outside the playing hall it's perfectly fine to wear a watch on your wrist. At the same time it is also a bit strange that neither in the playing hall nor in the hotel lobby (where most players hang out during breaks) a clock is hanging on a wall.


Vassily Ivanchuk, in one of his typical poses. | Photo: Emelianova.

In a good position Ivanchuk allowed a move repetition, so some of the older fans already started to worry about the nerves of the Ukrainian legend. However, the very next game he won convincingly, winning a pawn early in an irregular queen's pawn opening and then an exchange.

Next for Chuky? Vladimir Kramnik.

You might remember that two matches were the same as two years ago in round two. The results were the same as well.

S.P. Sethuraman again knocked out Pentala Harikrishna, this time in the rapid portion. After a draw in the first game, Sethuraman outplayed his opponent as Black in a very complicated endgame, where both had rooks and knights. Especially Black's queen's knight did an amazing job, following the route b8-c6-e7-f5-d6-b5-c3-a2-b4-d3-e5-c4-e3 while forcing White's queenside pawns to move, and weaken themselves.


Harikrishna again got eliminated by his compatriot Sethuraman, just like two years ago. | Photo: Emelianova.

Sethuraman will face Anish Giri tomorrow, who defeated Alexander Motylev, also just like two years ago. It could easily have been different in this match, because Giri was "totally lost" in the second rapid game, as he admitted himself. However, for some reason Motylev decided to give back an exchange ("I am surprised he bought this illusion," said Giri) when it was suddenly holdable.

But then Giri played two excellent 10+10 games, and won both. Especially the first one was interesting, because the endgame with an exchange for Giri wasn't very easy and there were several tactical ideas. Funnily enough, the winning bishop maneuver only came to Giri's mind when Motylev allowed it. 

"He provoked me to find the winning plan," said the winner. He was also interviewed by (check back later).'s interview with Giri.

Baadur Jobava and Yu Yangyi were on equal terms for the classical and rapid games, but in the faster time control "I was on my territory," as Jobava put it. The Georgian number-one got the local fans on the edge of their seats in the first 10+10 game as he played a beautiful knight sacrifice followed by a pawn sac and a silent rook move. Just beautiful.'s interview with Jobava.

Jobava's next match promises lots of spectacle as well, as his opponent will be Ian Nepomniachtchi. The Russian grandmaster won the second rapid game against Baskaran Adhiban, who was doing OK in a 6.h3 King's Indian but then gave an exchange for zero compensation. Strange!


Nepomniachtchi reached round three and will play Jobava. | Photo: Emelianova.

It's a pity that in a match between some of the most entertaining players in the field, one of them has to go. Chinese prodigy Wei Yi got kicked out by Richard Rapport, who drew the second rapid game but won the first—where the Hungarian showed that he knew his classics.

The endgame with rook vs bishop and three vs three on the kingside is discussed at length in Mark Dvoretsky's famous "Endgame Manual," and the pawn formation f4-g3-h4 vs f5-g6-h5 is given there with the game Radev-Pribyl, Tbilisi(!) 1971.

The exact same position appeared on the board in Rapport-Wei, and also here White found the winning idea g3-g4.


Rapport won literally a textbook endgame. | Photo: Emelianova.

Not only the two remaining Polish grandmasters got eliminated; Azerbaijan also saw its two top aces leave: both Mamedyarov and Radjabov. At least they can travel back home together, but both will feel the disappointment as they definitely had their chances today.


Radjabov and Mamedyarov, early in the day. Little did they know... | Photo: Emelianova.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov missed a winning tactic in his first rapid game with Yuryi Kuzubov, and ended up losing it, and the second as well. Can you find the win for White?


Yuryi Kuzubov will face Wang Hao in the next round. | Photo: Emelianova.

Teimour Radjabov played until the 5+3 games today. He and Vladislav Artemiev exchanged wins with the white pieces five times, but not six. Radjabov was held to a draw there, and that meant elimination. 

First Artemiev won, but Radjabov levelled the score. Then Radjabov won again, and it was the next game, that he lost from an equal position, that will haunt him. 

We have seen lots of great chess, and we haven't even mentioned the "holy trinity" of American chess yet. Caruana, Nakamura and So all went through convincingly in these tiebreaks, but it must be said that all their opponents but up a good fight.

Fabiano Caruana drew four games with Luka Lenic but then won both 10+10 games. The first finished with a nice mating net:


Caruana proved to be the strongest in the "semi-rapid" format. | Photo: Emelianova.

Hikaru Nakamura completely outplayed Lazaro Bruzon in the first rapid game, but was under serious pressure in the second. Even after holding the draw and signing the score sheets, Nakamura was shaking his head, unhappy with his play apparently.


A smooth win followed by some scary moments, but Nakamura is through. | Photo: Emelianova.

After four draws, here's how Wesley So finally managed to beat Matthias Bluebaum. (He won the second one as well.)


Bluebaum played very decent chess against second-seeded So. | Photo: Emelianova.


Sam Sevian successfully claimed a draw in his first rapid game with Li Chao, but then lost the second. | Photo: Emelianova.


Boris Gelfand was knocked out by Wang Hao, but will soon play again, in Isle of Man. | Photo: Emelianova.


Aronian won both 10+10 games vs Hou Yifan. | Photo: Emelianova.


Caruana with his second Rustam Kasimdzhanov watching other matches. | Photo: Emelianova.


The president of the Peruvian Chess Federation was supporting Jorge Cori 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.

Previous reports:

Peter Doggers

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