Four White Wins At World Cup; Mamedyarov Pleases The Crowd

Four White Wins At World Cup; Mamedyarov Pleases The Crowd

| 25 | Chess Event Coverage

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov received an applause from the audience for his crushing victory over Fabiano Caruana. Peter Svidler, Hikaru Nakamura and Ding Liren also started with wins at the FIDE World Cup today.

The difference between a week day and a Saturday or Sunday is striking: dozens of fans, young and old, came to the playing hall today to watch the World Cup action live. With just eight boards left, the organizers had made the excellent choice to turn the whole setup of spectators chairs and boards 45 degrees.

This way the fans had a great view of all the boards, and perhaps it was not a coincidence that the last Azeri in the field, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, was on one of the boards close to them. And he didn't disappoint.

Many fans were closely following Mamedyarov. | Photo courtesy of FIDE.

The game was interesting right from the start: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Bg5!? Mamedyarov had played this twice before: at the Gashimov Memorial in Shamkir earlier this year (a draw with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave) and at the World Blitz Championship in Dubai last year (a draw with Levon Aronian). 

Caruana followed Aronian's play with 3...Ne4 4.Bf4 c5, and now Mamedyarov came with a new idea: 5.Qc2. The game turned into some kind of Benoni without the f-pawns.

One critical moment (maybe the critical moment) was when Caruana allowed his knight on h5 to be taken by White's bishop. Bobby Fischer was successful with that against Boris Spassky in 1972, but for the American of this generation it backfired; Mamedyarov easily built up a devastating attack on the kingside.

A loud applease was delivered by the spectators, and another one followed in the press room when Mamedyarov finished his brief press conference in the Azeri live show. He answered one question: “I don't want this opening to be named after me. But it is quite interesting, yes!”

That was a crushing victory for Mamedyarov!

The next player to score a win was Ding Liren. The 22-year-old Chinese player, number seven in the world these days, defeated Wei Yi, who is just 16. Afterward Ding said about beating his friend and compatriot:

“I feel a bit strange, but I'm not so stressed out because there will be one [person] from China entering the next stage. (...) I was one hour up on the clock but he played much better than me!”

It was one of the most fascinating games played so far at the World Cup, so sit back and enjoy Dejan Bojkov's analysis:

Ding-Wei: certainly in the top 5 of best games so far in Baku.

Before the start of the round Hikaru Nakamura chatted a bit with Anish Giri about yesterday's Armageddon game and the appeal by Ian Nepomniachtchi. The whole situation must have had some effect of the American's mental state, but at the board he didn't show any signs.

Nakamura and Giri chatting, Paul Truong (the husband of Susan Polgar) in between.

He defeated Michael Adams convincingly when the Englishman started to drift in the endgame. Black should have been OK there, but somehow Nakamura managed to keep some initiative, and the double rook ending was probably winning from the start.

Will Michael Adams be able to make a comeback yet again?

The only winner not mentioned yet is Peter Svidler, who beat top seed Veselin Topalov. The game was a typical Hedgehog where Black was doing fine, as Svidler admitted: “All Black's pieces went to their natural pieces in one tempo.”

Topalov sacrificed a pawn with ....h5-h4 and Nf6-h5-g3 to win the bishop pair, and got some compensation but Svidler correctly avoided a move repetition. He got a strong attack, turned that into a positionally winning advantage and then... almost spoilt it!

Svidler called it a very messy game. “There are many
things about this game I don't understand at all!”

Right at the end Topalov could have drawn the game if he'd found 57...f5. The Bulgarian wasn't in terrible timetrouble, but nonetheless spent only six seconds on his decision to take on g6...

The lines given are based on Peter Svidler's press conference:

One of the four draws can hardly be called a game. Dmitry Andreikin and Sergey Karjakin reminded us of what can happen when a tournament doesn't have rules against quick draws. However, in this grueling knockout format it's hard to blame them.

Interestingly, Andreikin spent two minutes in total on his first 11 moves, and 21.5 minutes on his 12th move. The whole game lasted 12 moves and almost 45 minutes.

Andreikin and Karjakin hadn't left theory yet when they stopped the clock.

Pavel Eljanov started with six out of six in Baku, but surely didn't mind breaking that streak. He scored a draw as Black against Dmitry Jakovenko who did manage to put the Ukrainian under some pressure.

Thanks to accurate calculation Eljanov avoided serious trouble.

Anish Giri decided to give 1.e4 a try against Radek Wojtaszek. The Dutchman chose the solid 6.Be3 e5 7.Nf3 line against the Najdorf, but failed to get any opening advantage. The Polish GM got the desired draw by move 35.

Wojtaszek can be happy with such a comfortable draw.

The Najdorf is known as one of the best openings against 1.e4 at top level, and the other one is of course the Berlin. Today Wesley So used it to hold Maxime Vachier-Lagrave to a draw.

All White got was two bishops vs bishop and knight, with seven pawns each. He certainly had an edge, but not more than that.

It's extremely hard to create anything against that Berlin.

At some point during the English language commentary Vladimir Kramnik joined the studio, and gave some interesting comments. About his lost tiebreak match yesterday he said:

“I could feel already before the tiebreak that my head was very smoggy. I felt tired. He's a very strong rapid player so I understood it's bad news. I have to admit it's quite fair that I lost. I was not at my best yesterday. In this tournament, one bad day and you're out.

“I prepared a lot; I worked very hard the whole August. I was making a lot of changes in my play. Not only on my openings, also on other issues, my physical shape. The work I did was quite serious. My attitude is that you have to do your best but you are not responsible for the outcome.”

Here's the video with Kramnik:


2015 World Cup | Round 4, Day 1 Results

Left Half Right Half
Svidler 1-0 Topalov Nakamura 1-0 Adams
Ding Liren 1-0 Wei Yi Eljanov 1/2 Jakovenko
Giri 1/2 Wojtaszek Mamedyarov 1-0 Caruana
So 1/2 Vachier-Lagrave Andreikin 1/2 Karjakin

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