Two Quick Draws on First Day World Cup Semi-Finals
Discussions about the Sofia Rule dominated the first day of the World Cup's semi-finals, as both games were drawn in a bit over an hour: Dmitry Andreikin vs. Evgeny Tomashevsky was drawn after just 14 moves, and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs. Vladimir Kramnik lasted only 16 moves! Tomorrow the second game will be played in Tromsø and in case of a 1-1 score, a tiebreak on Wednesday will determine who will reach the final.
The game between Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Vladimir Kramnik started as a very interesting Nimzo-Indian where it was the former World Champion who was most familiar with the position.
"I thought my opening choice would surprise Vladimir but it turns out he is prepared for a lot of lines,"
said Vachier-Lagrave. When he took on c6, a drawish ending appeared on the board (16.Bxc6 bxc6 17.Nxc6 Rxa2 18.f3 Bd7=) and so the Frenchman decided to offer a draw, which was accepted by Kramnik.
The whole game lasted about an hour, but luckily the players did join commentators GM Nigel Short and Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam, the editor of New in Chess Magazine. Just about when they were finished explaining their game (e.g. Kramnik mentioned the line 13.h3? Bxe2! 14. Kxe2 Qd3+ 15. Ke1 a6 16. Nd6 Nd4 17. Bxd4 exd4), Dmitry Andreikin and Evgeny Tomashevsky also agreed to a draw. Kramnik was surprised:
"The position is full of life and White is slightly better. I think Andreikin is more in the mode of rapid, he just doesn't want to play classical chess anymore!"
Kramnik and Vachier-Lagrave then discussed the Sofia Rule, and said they wouldn't mind to include the 30-move rule in the regulations. When Tomashevsky joined the commentators, it turned out that had a different opinion than Kramnik about the game:
"During my preparation I planned this setup. I think Black is fine and the position is about equal."
And so the whole show was over in about an hour, leaving the online chess fans with a mixture of disbelief and disappointment. Some of the players' colleagues shared their thoughts on Twitter:
Games drawn after 14&16 moves in #chessworldcup. Easy to understand players, who need rest, hard to understand that the rules allow them to
— Magnus Øen Carlsen ( @MagnusCarlsen) August 26, 2013
Poor show in @Tromso2014 today,thanks to the "great" job of FIDE WCO Commission and the absence of Sofia Rules
— Silvio Danailov ( @SilvioDanailov) August 26, 2013
#chessworldcup Very disappointing day - two short draws. Why not play with the Sofia Rules? #chess
— Daniel King ( @DanielKingChess) August 26, 2013
#chessworldcup People making wrong conclusions, tension is building up, tomorrow the tie-break beggars are with black, then we'll see ;)
— Anish Giri ( @anishgiri) August 26, 2013
FIDE World Cup 2013 | Round 6 Results
Held every two years, the World Cup is part of the World Championship cycle. The winner and the runner-up will qualify for the 2014 Candidates Tournament. The World Cup takes place August 10th-September 3rd in Tromsø, Norway. Photos by Paul Truong courtesy of the official website; games via TWIC.