ACP Cup starts today

9/13/2013 – An amazingly strong rapid knock-out tournament is about to start in Riga, Latvia. The event is hosted by the Association of Chess Professionals and it features rapid ratings for pairings rather than the standard FIDE list. With Grischuk, Morozevich, Ivanchuk, and many other strong players this will certainly be an exciting event. Report on the opening ceremony, pairings and an interesting puzzle.

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The ACP cup runs from the 13th of September to the 15th of September in Riga, Latvia. The tournament will be a rapid event with blitz tiebreaks in a knock out format. The pairings will be somewhat unusual, as the four highest rated players will be randomly paired against the four lowest rated players, consequently the players ranked fifth to eighth will be randomly paired against the players ranked ninth to twelfth. The tournament will follow FIDE rapid play rules and FIDE blitz play rules for the normal portion and the tiebreaks.

The matches will consist of 25 minutes per player at the start of the game with 10 seconds increment from move one. In case of a tiebreak the games will move to 3 minutes with 2 seconds increment. Finally, an Armageddon will be used where White starts with 5 minutes and must win against Black's 4 minutes; at the 61st move however players will begin to receive a 2 second increment.

Foreground: Fressinet, Morozevich, Nepomniatchi, Grischuk, Radjabov, Wojtaszek, Jakovenko.
Background: Shirov, Moiseenko, Svidler, Eljanov, Malakhov, Kovalenko

The tournament features an unusually strong field:

# Player Nat. FIDE Rtng Rapid Rtng
1 Alexander Grischuk RUS 2785 2830
2 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov AZE 2775 2822
3 Ian Nepomniatchi RUS 2717 2804
4 Peter Svidler RUS 2746 2761
5 Teimour Radjabov AZE 2733 2760
6 Vladimir Malakhov RUS 2707 2745
7 Alexander Morozevich RUS 2739 2742
8 Radoslaw Wojtaszek POL 2701 2735
9 Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2731 2725
10 Ruslan Ponomariov UKR 2756 2721
11 Pavel Eljanov UKR 2706 2712
12 Alexei Shirov LAT 2696 2706
13 Laurent Fressinet FRA 2708 2690
14 Dmitry Jakovenko RUS 2724 2678
15 Alexander Moiseenko UKR 2706 2669
16 Igor Kovalenko LAT 2644 2633

Pairings will be done with FIDE rapid ratings rather than with FIDE standard ratings, trying to validate the relatively new ratings that are being published but not really used.

Colors where decided in the old fashioned way, with a twist:

Instead of the arbiter holding out two hands and the top rated player choosing a pawn, it was the other way around! Alexander Grischuk reveals a black pawn and he will start with black in the first round.

The first round matches are as follows:

Alexander Grischuk vs. Laurent Fressinet

Truly a duel in which anything can happen. The Russian is currently ranked number four in the world and is a blitz player power house, so he will probably be coming in as the favorite, however Fressinet has recently shown that he can hold his own against the top players: let us not forget him massacring Kramnik earlier this year.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarovs vs. Igor Kovalenko

The local boy will be trying to hold his own against the reigning rapid world champion. Again, it seems that the favorite is clear.

Ian Nepomniatchi vs. Alexander Moiseenko

Nepomniatchi came short from bigger goals in the Tromso Olympiad as he was knocked out in the first round by Wei Yi. He comes looking for revenge and Alexander Moiseenko, a player who has not been very active in the top levels of chess recently, will be his potential victim. An interesting match that surely has the Russian star as the favorite.

Peter Svidler vs. Dmitry Jakovenko

One of the closest matches in terms of rating, even though it isn't according to rapid ratings. Jakovenko has shown incredible preparation and is a very strong chess player; but can he overcome the powerhouse that Svidler has become?

Teimour Radjabov vs. Alexei Shirov

An interesting match as neither player can particularly be considered to be "in shape". Radjabov has dropped from being close to 2800 to just "another 2700" in the span of months, while Shirov is far from being the player that beat Kramnik in 1999. The player with the biggest determination that he has something to prove will emerge victorious.

Vladimir Malakhov vs. Pavel Eljanov

Maybe these players are not as well known as some of the others, but this will be a close match up full of surprises.

Alexander Morozevich vs. Ruslan Ponomariov

Two of the big names in chess are playing here in the first round. Ex-World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov is no one to be trifled with, but at the same time he is facing one of the most creative players to have ever reached the number three spot in the world: Alexander Morozevich. A match that cannot be missed.

Radoslaw Wojtaszek vs. Vassily Ivanchuk

Wojtaszek surprisingly comes as the higher rated player in this match as his rapid rating is higher than Ivanchuk's, however it is almost impossible to say that he is the favorite. One must consider though that his work with Anand and his recent improvement in play puts him in a position where he could take out such a strong player as Ivanchuk out of the tournament.

Part of the opening ceremony and the easiest way to keep players busy: give them a fantastically difficult chess position. Can you find the true evaluation?

Vassily Ivanchuk and Igor Kovalenko seem to be enjoying themselves analyzing this exact position

The Schedule is as follows:

(The following is in Latvian time, 14:00 Riga = 15:00 Moscow = 13:00 = Central Europe = 7:00am New York)

September 13:
1/8 Finals, 1st set of games

14:00 game 1
15:15 game 2
16:30 Tiebreaks

1/8 Finals, 2nd set of games

18:00 game 1
19:15 game 2
20:30 Tiebreaks

September 14:
1/4 Finals, 1st set of games

14:00 game 1
15:15 game 2
16:30 Tiebreaks

1/4 Finals, 2nd set of games

18:00 game 1
19:15 game 2
20:30 Tiebreaks

September 15:
Semi Finals

12:00 game 1
13:15 game 2
14:30 Tiebreaks

Finals

14:30 game 1
14:45 game 2
19:00 Tiebreaks

The games will have live broadcast in Russian and English on the official tournament site

All pictures by Lennart Ootes

Links

The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


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