World Cup: Aronian & Grischuk Go Down in First Game Round 3

World Cup: Aronian & Grischuk Go Down in First Game Round 3

| 25 | Chess Event Coverage

Two of the biggest favorites to win the 2013 World Cup in Tromsø are in serious danger of getting eliminated: Levon Aronian of Armenia and Alexander Grischuk of Russia. On Saturday Aronian, the world's number 2 player suffered a surprising loss with the white pieces against Evgeny Tomashevsy of Russia. Grischuk also started his third round with a loss as he was gradually outplayed by Le Quang Liem of Vietnam, who eventually won by Zugzwang in a pawn ending.

After two rounds, 3/4 of the field has left the tournament and by now almost anyone can beat anyone! The difference in strength is not very big anymore, and in two-game matches anything can happen, as Vladimir Kramnik noted in yesterday's interview. Still, the losses for Aronian, top seed in Norway, and Grischuk, a finalist at the previous World Cup, came as a shock. 

Aronian faced Evgeny Tomashevsky, who played the Stonewall for the first time in his life in a classical game! (The Russian grandmaster also used it in the tiebreak against Alejandro Ramirez). This choice worked out well, as Aronian didn't play the most critical moves in the opening and offered a draw after 22.f3.

Joining the commentary after the game, Tomashevsky said that he considered to take it, but then he thought: "If I would take a draw in this position, for what am I playing chess?" Black was already better there, and with excellent play Tomashevsky scored what was one of the biggest wins of his career.


Le Quang Liem may be a dark horse for the tournament in general. The reigning World Blitz Champion and double winner of the strong Aeroflot Open seems to be in great shape. Still, Alexander Grischuk mostly has himself to blame for losing his black game. He probably underestimated the danger in the "ending" with only heavy pieces, and allowing the pawn ending was a grave error.


Hikaru Nakamura outplayed Baskaran Adhiban of India with Black from a Ruy Lopez, Exchange variation. White's whole setup seemed to be based upon 18.e5 but as Nakamura pointed out after the game, that fails to 18...Bb5! 19.Rxd8+ Kxd8 20.Rd1+ Kc8 and Black wins a pawn. White's last chance was 33.Rb1.


Boris Gelfand has made a good impression so far in Tromsø. His win over Alexander Moiseenko was a model positional game with the theme "open file". The final position has the nice point 33...Rxd5 34.Nh8+! and wins.

Gata Kamsky faced an over-aggressive Jon Ludvig Hammer, who basically started sacrificing lots of material right out of the opening! "Playing e4, I thought I was king of the world, ready to sack something to kill Kamsky in style. I may have overestimated my position!" wrote the Norwegian on Twitter. His 9.Re1!? might be repeated though, as 12.Nxf6 Bxb1 13.Nxh7! is promising for White.


14-year-old Wei Yi is still holding his own among the big guys. Against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, the world's youngest grandmaster was well prepared for the 4.Qc2 & 5.e4 Nimzo and Mamedyarov had nothing better than to allow a quick draw by perpetual check.


Maxime Vachier-Lagrave played a wonderful game against Leinier Dominguez. The Frenchman's fifth straight victory in Tromsø was so convincing that it came as quite a surprise when he revealed that he had offered a draw while playing 14.Bd5!. This bit of psychological warfare had instant success, because 14...Bb7 was already a mistake (14...Rb8 should be played). White's idea after 16...Bxf6 was 17.Nf5! exf5 18.exf5+ Kf8 19.Qxd6+ Be7 20.Qe5 with "tremendous compensation" (Vachier-Lagrave).


Peter Svidler scored a smooth win over Teimour Radjabov, who took some wrong decisions early in the game. According to Svidler, Black should go for the complications arising from 9...Nxe4 10.Nxc7 Qc6. Then, 11...cxd5 12.Bxd5 Na6 13.Rc1 Nb4 was also better. "Teimour played way below his general standard," said Svidler.


Julio Granda Zuniga is one of the surprising names to have survived the first two rounds, and he almost scored another win on Saturday against Anish Giri. The Dutch grandmaster wasn't happy with his move 14...a5; when he played it he thought 15.a4! was not possible because the white queen would be overloaded protecting both g4 and b3. But Black cannot take on g4, and so the hole on b5 was used with great effect by the Peruvian grandmaster. 51...Bxb5? was another mistake by Giri, who had missed 52.Bxd5+ Ke8 53.Qh2!, but with 54.axb5 (instead of the winning 54.Qh8+ Kd7 55.axb5 Qxf4 56.Bc6+) Granda blundered a full piece.

FIDE World Cup 2013 | Round 3, Day 1 Results

Aronian, Levon ARM 2813 0-1 Tomashevsky, Evgeny RUS 2706
Malakhov, Vladimir RUS 2707 ½-½ Caruana, Fabiano ITA 2796
Kramnik, Vladimir RUS 2784 ½-½ Areshchenko, Alexander UKR 2709
Le, Quang Liem VIE 2702 1-0 Grischuk, Alexander RUS 2785
Karjakin, Sergey RUS 2772 ½-½ Eljanov, Pavel UKR 2702
Adhiban, Baskaran IND 2567 0-1 Nakamura, Hikaru USA 2772
Gelfand, Boris ISR 2764 1-0 Moiseenko, Alexander UKR 2699
Hammer, Jon Ludvig NOR 2605 0-1 Kamsky, Gata USA 2741
Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar AZE 2775 ½-½ Wei, Yi CHN 2551
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime FRA 2719 1-0 Dominguez Perez, Leinier CUB 2757
Dubov, Daniil RUS 2624 ½-½ Korobov, Anton UKR 2720
Andreikin, Dmitry RUS 2716 ½-½ Dreev, Aleksey RUS 2668
Svidler, Peter RUS 2746 1-0 Radjabov, Teimour AZE 2733
Ivanchuk, Vassily UKR 2731 ½-½ Kryvoruchko, Yuriy UKR 2678
Granda Zuniga, Julio PER 2664 0-1 Giri, Anish NED 2737
Vitiugov, Nikita RUS 2719 ½-½ Morozevich, Alexander RUS 2739

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.

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