Michael Adams, Bu Xiangzhi and Sam Shankland are some of the players that were eliminated from the FIDE World Cup in the tiebreaks of the first round. Round two starts on Friday.
You can follow the games here as part of our live portal Chess.com/events. There is daily coverage by our Twitch partner, the Chessbrahs.
GMs Yasser Seirawan, Eric Hansen and Aman Hambleton are covering the tournament each day on their channel Twitch.tv/Chessbrah. Play starts at 3 p.m. local time, which is 12:00 (noon) CEST, 6 a.m. Eastern and 3 a.m. Pacific.
Twenty-three matches in the first round were decided on the third day, with rapid and sometimes also blitz games. These tiebreaks start with two games with 25 minutes for each player plus a 10-second increment, followed by two 10+10 games, two 5+3 games and then, if needed, an armageddon game.
None of the matches saw an armageddon, but two got close: Kacper Piorun vs Nijat Abasov and Michael Adams vs. Chithambaram Aravindh.
As one of the most experienced players in the field, the 47-year-old Adams had drawn all games with his 27-years-younger opponent before losing the second five-minute game. In the first, he got a four-vs-three rook endgame that was almost identical to the famous internet game between Jeroen Piket and Garry Kasparov, played in 2000 and won by the Dutch grandmaster.
In that game, Kasparov didn’t leave his rook on the seventh rank but moved it to e3, which turned out to be the wrong plan. Aravindh did better.
The next game was instructive as well, and in the same way: Black should have defended by doing nothing. Waiting would have been good, but instead Adams chose to become active with his pawns and this cost him when he allowed the knights to be traded:
Note that @MickeyAdamsGM already reached the final of a large @FIDE_chess knockout event back in 1997 two years before Aravindh was born! Back then he lost to @vishy64theking in the final, who then lost to a fresh Anatoly Karpov in a match.#FIDEWorldCuphttps://t.co/sqDKHS8IQV pic.twitter.com/1KUamrT1ht
— ChesscomNews (@ChesscomNews) September 12, 2019
The biggest surprise on day three was the elimination of Bu Xiangzhi, the man who had knocked out Magnus Carlsen from the previous World Cup. A former prodigy himself, the 33-year-old Bu lost to his compatriot, the 19-year-old Xu Xiangyu, who had qualified together with Lu Shanglei from the Zonal Championship in Daqing, China last year.
Black got into trouble in a sideline of the Queen’s Gambit Accepted, but kept on playing very actively and somehow got away with it. The game became a battle of who could come up with the most unexpected move:
Another upset was the 26th-seed Sam Shankland getting knocked out by the 103rd-seed Eltaj Safarli of Azerbaijan. After two draws, Safarli had won the first 10+10 game when the following happened in the second:
Safarli’s compatriot Nijat Abasov also qualified for round two, so with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Teimour Radjabov, all four native Azerbaijani players are still in. Abasov, the youngest of the four, knocked out Kacper Piorun of Poland.
Piorun managed to win on demand twice, in both the 25-minute and the 10-minute games. Eventually the five-time world champion in chess problem-solving went down in a tense, second five-minute game where both players blundered a pawn in the early middlegame:
After Maxim Rodshtein qualified in the classical portion, the other two Israeli players in the field both qualified via tiebreaks. Tamir Nabaty had a beautiful finish in his second rapid game with the Indian grandmaster Sethuraman S.P.:
The 51-year-old Israeli GM Boris Gelfand is the oldest player left in the field, after Essam El-Gindy got knocked out by Levon Aronian yesterday. A world championship candidate in 1991, Gelfand beat the aforementioned Chinese GM Lu in both 10+10 games.
The first one was tactically sharp, and should have ended in a draw until Black blundered:
The interview with Gelfand after the tiebreak.
Another upset was Dutch grandmaster Benjamin Bok eliminating Croatian GM and 2018 European champion Ivan Saric. Bok, who is studying in St. Louis, won the first rapid game and then held his own in the second, and will now face Alexander Grischuk.
Bok’s quiet but killing 21st move in the first game was easy to miss, even though it had actually been played before! Shankland also won in the same way against Vinay Bhat in a rapid game in San Francisco in 2012. Bhat resigned after 25.Qxb5; Saric played a few more moves.
Hikaru Nakamura had drawn his two classical games with Algeria’s Bilel Bellahcene, the second in just 16 moves. On the third day, the American GM justified his strategy by winning both rapid games, although Bellahcene put up a good fight in both games, especially the first. At this level, playing the solid 5.Re1 vs. the Berlin doesn’t guarantee a draw:
The interview with Nakamura after the tiebreak.
The 34th-seed Bassem Amin of Egypt didn’t survive the first round as he lost to the 18-year-old Iranian GM Amin Tabatabaei.
Their first rapid game was a classical King’s Indian, except that White suddenly switched to the unorthodox plan of attacking on the kingside himself:
The Chinese GM Wang Hao played one of the organizer’s nominees, GM Aleksei Pridorozhni, and showed his endgame technique with little time on the clock:
FIDE World Cup | Round 1 tiebreak results
|12||GM||Yu Yangyi||–||117||GM||Ghaem Maghami||1-0||0-1||½-½||½-½||½-½||1-0||.||.||.|
|24||GM||Bu Xiangzhi||–||105||GM||Xu Xiangyu||½-½||½-½||½-½||½-½||0-1||½-½||.||.||.|
The FIDE World Cup takes place Sept. 9-Oct 4 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. Each round consists of two classical games and a tiebreak on the third day. The final consists of four classical games. Both finalists will qualify for the 2020 Candidates’ Tournament. The total prize fund is $1.6 million (1.45 million euros). Sept. 19 and 29 are rest days. You can find more background info in our preview article.