Baku Semis G2: Svidler in!

by Alejandro Ramirez
9/28/2015 – Giri is a player that is very solid, and he rarely loses. However he was unable to show that he is also a super player in a must-win situation. Svidler gave him no chances, and as an expert pointed out, Giri was unable to "heat up water enough to even make tea". Svidler is in the finals and the candidates. Meanwhile in the other bracket, after a fourteen move draw they go to tiebreaks.

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World Cup

10th September – 5th October

Baku, Azerbaijan

Semifinals - Game two

Two very solid draws today, two of the players are fine with the result, one is disappointed and one is extremely happy!

The game between Svidler-Giri shows why it is such a disaster to lose your first game with white. Basically one off day and it is all over between players of this character. Giri is an extremely strong player, but his fame of being a solid and drawish player is not unmerited. He very rarely loses, and it is rare to find him in must win situations.

Too solid for his own good: Anish Giri was eliminated today by Peter Svidler

Using a Caro-Kann defense, Giri was hoping to take Svidler out of some preparation. The Russian player was very smart, side-stepping every complicated line and making Giri choose into a very drawish endgame and a slightly worse position. In hindsight it seems more natural to take the slightly worse position, but can you really blame a chess player for making the best move in the position?

Finally time to go home for GM Tukmakov, Giri's second

[Event "FIDE World Cup 2015"] [Site "Baku AZE"] [Date "2015.09.28"] [Round "6.2"] [White "Svidler, Peter"] [Black "Giri, Anish"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B18"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "102"] [EventDate "2015.09.11"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. e4 c6 {The Caro-Kann does seem like a strange choice for a must win game. The reason is that White has several dull variations to play against this.} 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 (3. e5 Bf5 {lately leads to interesting and unbalanced play. Not exactly what Svidler is looking for.}) 3... dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. Nh3 {Out of the many ways you can play against the Caro-Kann, this looks like one of the best if drawing is the same as winning.} Nf6 7. Nf4 e5 {Yes, this is the best move, but how can Black hope to win such an endgame?} 8. dxe5 Qa5+ 9. c3 Qxe5+ 10. Qe2 Nbd7 11. Nxg6 hxg6 12. Bf4 Qxe2+ 13. Bxe2 Bc5 14. Bf3 O-O-O 15. O-O Nd5 16. Bxd5 cxd5 17. Rad1 {Black isn't really worse; his isolated pawn in the middle of the board isn't that hard to protect and White can't much progress against it. The problem is that he doesn't need to "make progress" at all.} Nf8 18. Rfe1 Ne6 19. Be3 {Trade all the pieces!} b6 (19... d4 20. cxd4 Bxd4 21. Bxd4 Nxd4 {is simply unacceptable for Giri.}) 20. Rd3 Kb7 21. Red1 Kc6 22. Ne2 Rh4 23. Nd4+ Bxd4 24. Bxd4 b5 25. g3 Rh5 26. Bxa7 Ra8 27. Be3 Rxa2 {Giri can try as he may, but he will never be able to create anything in this position.} 28. R1d2 Re5 29. h4 Ra4 30. Kg2 f6 31. Bd4 Rh5 32. Re3 Kd7 33. Red3 Kd6 34. Be3 Kc6 35. Rd1 Ra2 36. R1d2 Ra8 37. Rd1 Ra4 38. R1d2 Ra2 39. Kf1 Ra1+ 40. Rd1 Ra2 41. R1d2 Re5 42. Bd4 Rh5 43. Be3 Ra8 44. Rd1 Ra4 45. R3d2 Ra2 46. b3 Rxd2 47. Rxd2 b4 48. cxb4 Kb5 49. Bc5 Nxc5 50. bxc5 Kxc5 51. Ke2 g5 1/2-1/2

Svidler joins Nakamura, Caruana and Anand as the only players that have qualified for the 2016 Candidates tournament. It seems likely that Topalov and Giri will take the rating spots, but that is not for sure yet.

The other semi-final will be going into tiebreaks. Karjakin and Eljanov played 14 moves of chess and agreed to a draw. The tiebreak will determine who joins Svidler in the finals, and in the Candidates tournament!

Can Eljanov complete his Cinderella story?

[Event "FIDE World Cup 2015"] [Site "Baku AZE"] [Date "2015.09.28"] [Round "6.2"] [White "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Black "Eljanov, Pavel"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A29"] [PlyCount "27"] [EventDate "2015.09.11"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 Bb4 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O e4 7. Ng5 Bxc3 8. bxc3 Re8 9. f3 exf3 10. Nxf3 Qe7 11. e3 Ne5 12. Nh4 d6 13. d3 Ng6 14. Nxg6 1/2-1/2

Karjakin didn't see any reason to push with white: he will bank on tiebreaks again

Semifinals pairings

Player Rtg
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Peter Svidler (RUS) 2727
Anish Giri (NED) 2793
Player Rtg
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 Pts
Sergey Karjakin (RUS) 2793
Pavel Eljanov (UKR) 2744

Photos and information from the official website and their Facebook page


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Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.


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