Eight interesting match-ups from round two

by Sagar Shah
9/14/2015 – The first round of the World Cup 2015 is over. The field has been narrowed down from 128 players to 64. But there are still 32 games to follow, which is quite a bit. We bring to you the eight most interesting match-up of round two. And while you are waiting for the games to progress out of the openings maybe you would like to solve tactical puzzles from round one.

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World Cup

10th September – 5th October

Baku, Azerbaijan

Eight interesting match-ups from round two

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave – Gabriel Sargissian

The main reason why this match-up is going to be interesting is because of Sargissian’s marathon struggle yesterday which went right up to the Armageddon. While Gabriel played nearly six hours, his second round opponent Maxime Vachier-Lagrave had disposed off Ortiz Suarez in just two classical games. Maxime versus Gabriel is, if anything, going to be a test of the Armenian’s test of stamina. Will Sargissian be able to sustain himself?

Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9
Pts
Mateusz Bartel (POL) 2623
½
½
½
½
0
1
½
½
½
4.5
Gabriel Sargissisan (ARM) 2679
½
½
½
½
1
0
½
½
½
4.5

Sargissian’s first round match against Bartel went right to the Armageddon phase,
with the players making draws in all the games apart from the 5”+3’ blitz, where they traded blows

Armenians Levon Aronian and Hrant Melkumyan came to the playing hall to support their country mate

Edge of the seat action as the Sargissian family follow the game of Gabriel
[picture taken from Lianna Sargissian’s (Gabriel’s wife) facebook page with her permission]

That look of despair after fighting so hard but going back with absolutely nothing!
This screenshot was captured from the live video straming immediately after Bartel lost the match.

Although this game went right up to the wire, we were able to find a position in the first classical game, where the Polish player had excellent chances to win.

Mateusz Bartel – Gabriel Sargissian, classical game one

The game ended in a dull draw in another four moves,
but White had an opportunity here. Can you find it? White to play.

[Event "FIDE World Chess Cup 2015"] [Site "Baku"] [Date "2015.09.11"] [Round "1.1"] [White "Bartel, Mateusz"] [Black "Sargissian, Gabriel"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C45"] [WhiteElo "2623"] [BlackElo "2679"] [Annotator "Amruta Mokal"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r2r1k2/1bp1nppp/1p6/p2P4/2BP4/N7/PP3PPP/2R1R1K1 w - - 0 18"] [PlyCount "7"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "AZE"] 18. Nb5 $6 {After this move White cannot count on much of an advantage.} (18. d6 $1 {This very strong move gives White the advantage.} Rxd6 (18... cxd6 19. Bxf7 $1 $16 {[%cal Gc1c7]}) 19. Bxf7 $1 Bc6 (19... Kxf7 20. Rxc7 $18) 20. Bb3 Rad8 21. f3 $16 {White is a pawn up and has excellent chances to win this position.}) 18... Rac8 19. Na7 Ra8 20. Nb5 Rac8 21. Na7 1/2-1/2

Henriquez Villagra – Granda Zuniga

As Emil Sutovsky mentioned in the commentary: “I have to admit that I have never ever looked at a game played by Henriquez Villagra until now.” This little-known 18-year-old Chilean player was the reason why Boris Gelfand was ousted from the first round of the World Cup. The experienced Granda Zuniga now faces Henriquez, and the Peruvian will be careful not to underestimate his opponent.

The biggest surprise of World Cup 2015 was definitely Gelfand’s exit

But it was not like Gelfand was completely blanked. In the first game of their match, the Israeli had a winning position, but unexpectedly the players agreed to a draw.

Boris Gelfand – Henriquez Villagra, Classical game one

White is simply winning. There are many ways to do it. The easiest is Rc1, attacking the knight. It cannot move, as Ba3 would be very strong. And the queen on e7 also cannot really move, because the d8 rook would hang. So all in all White is completely winning – but the players agreed to a draw. Nerves. What else?!

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov – Hou Yifan

Hou Yifan was pretty rusty in her first round match against Rafael Leitao. However, she was able to overcome the Brazilian and advance to the second round, where a stronger challenge awaits her in the form of Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Mamedyarov had an easy victory in the first round against his Iranian opponent Idani Pouya.

Pouya Idani was not in the best possible health for his match against Mamedyarov

This would be the right place to mention the commentators of the event: Emil Sutovsky and Evgenij Miroshnichenko. Both great players in their own right are doing a highly commendable job of analyzing without the use of engines. Their commentary is insightful and you get to learn how top grandmasters evaluate certain positions and on what basis. While in a majority of the cases they do get their evaluations right, there are times when they are unable to see deep tactical or defensive ideas. Take for example the following position, which arose in the second rapid game between Rafael Leitao and Hou Yifan.

Black (Yifan) to play. How do you defend against the threat of Rf3-h3?

The commentators were convinced that Black is completely lost here, but Hou Yifan was able to find a very nice defensive idea starting with 24…Qe8 25.Qh6+ Kg8 26.Rf3. It seems like it’s all over until you notice the brilliant defensive idea 26…Nxe6! 27.Rg3+ Ng5!, when Black has defended her position and even stands better. This was just an example to show that the possibilities in chess are limitless and we as humans are bound to make errors. Isn’t this what makes chess really interesting? Sutovsky and Miroshnichenko’s live commentary begins at 15.00 hrs local time.

Lu Shanglei – Wang Hao

The all Chinese battle is bound to be very interesting. Wang Hao’s talent can be gauged from the fact that like Kasparov, Kramnik and Gelfand he became a grandmaster without achieving his International Master title. Now he has established himself as a permanent member of the 2700+ club and is currently world number 38. Lu Shanglei on the other hand is clearly under-rated at 2599. He is the reigning World Junior Champion (at least for another two days, as the current one is still going on in Khanty Mansiysk) and one of the many talented Chinese players. Lu Shanglei beat a much higher and experienced opponent in round one of the World Cup.

Moiseenko got the taste of Chinese talent as he bowed down to Lu Shanglei with a score of 2.5-1.5

One position which I liked from the Moiseenko-Lu Shanglei match was the following for it’s unusual and aethestic idea:

Alexander Moiseenko – Lu Shanglei, first rapid game

It’s Black to play. What would you do?

[Event "FIDE World Cup 2015"] [Site "Baku AZE"] [Date "2015.09.13"] [Round "1.32"] [White "Moiseenko, Alexander"] [Black "Lu, Shanglei"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D50"] [WhiteElo "2692"] [BlackElo "2599"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/1p3pk1/p1p4p/r1P1Kp2/5N2/4PbP1/5P1P/2R5 b - - 0 41"] [PlyCount "27"] [EventDate "2015.09.11"] {Black is a pawn up and has better chances, but his pawn on b7 is backward and weak. People say that the Chinese players are tactically very strong. What does it mean to be tactically alert? According to me it is the awareness of all the little changes that are taking place in the position. Here White's last move was Kd4-e5, which meant that the c-pawn is now pinned. Lu Shanglei's next move is an unusual theme, but very nice and logical.} 41... b5 $1 {The c-pawn is pinned and hence there is no en passant! I am trying to remember when I saw such a theme before and I have to say I am unable to recollect it. Hence, this is a rare theme. After this Black is in the driver's seat and went on to win the game.} 42. Nd3 Ra4 43. Kd6 f6 44. Nf4 a5 45. Ne6+ Kg6 46. Nd4 Rxd4+ 47. exd4 b4 48. Rb1 Be4 49. Ra1 b3 50. Re1 a4 51. f3 Bxf3 52. Ke7 b2 53. h3 a3 54. Kf8 a2 0-1

Alexander Grischuk – Vladimir Fedoseev

Both of them hail from Russia. It is going to be experience against youth in this match. Fedoseev won against the talented Indian player B. Adhiban and must be high on confidence, while Grischuk struggled against Yusup Atabayev (2428), a player rated early 300 points lower than him. Grischuk and Atabayev played six draws before the Russian was able to win both the blitz games and take the match. A great achievement for 21-year-old Turkmen players. Fedoseev might look at the strategy of playing it safe in classical time controls and going into the rapid and blitz, where Grischuk was clearly struggling with his time management.

Yusup Atabayev: holding an elite player like Grischuk to six draws is not an easy task

Hikaru Nakamura – Samuel Shankland

Hikaru is definitely the favourite to win this match, but Samuel will give everything he has in order to beat America’s number one. This all-American fight will be interesting to watch.

Pentala Harikrishna – S. P. Sethuraman

India had six players at the start of the World Cup 2015. Four of them were eliminated and only two remain. And now these two face off against each other. Harikrishna is a class act with a rating of 2737. But Sethuraman is the reigning National Champion and one of the fastest progressing youngster in Indian chess. He beat Sanan Sjugirov in round one with a score of 2-0. It will be interesting to see who wins this Indian match.

Ian Nepomniachtchi – Laurent Fressinet

Two of Magnus’s seconds take on each other in the second round. Ian is clearly a favourite if the game goes into the rapid or blitz, as his opponent is too weak, too slow. But in normal time controls both of them are evenly matched, and the game could go either way.

Three tactics from round one

Sergei Zhigalko – Ivan Bukavshin, rapid game one

White to play and finish off the game

[Event "FIDE World Cup 2015"] [Site "Baku AZE"] [Date "2015.09.13"] [Round "1.64"] [White "Zhigalko, Sergei"] [Black "Bukavshin, Ivan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B85"] [WhiteElo "2656"] [BlackElo "2657"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "3rnrk1/4qppp/p3p3/1p2P3/6N1/P4RQ1/1PP3PP/4R2K w - - 0 24"] [PlyCount "31"] [EventDate "2015.09.11"] 24. Nf6+ {Not a very difficult move to see, but the follow-up is important.} Kh8 25. Qh4 $1 h6 (25... gxf6 26. Rh3 $18 {is terminal.}) (25... Nxf6 26. exf6 gxf6 27. Rh3 $18) 26. Qe4 $1 {This is an important move that needs to be seen.} Nxf6 (26... gxf6 27. Qh4 $1 {[%cal Gh4e7] Not letting the f-pawn advance.} Kh7 28. Rh3 $18) 27. exf6 Qd6 28. Rd3 Qb6 29. fxg7+ Kxg7 30. Rg3+ {The attack on the black king crashes through.} Kh8 31. Qf4 e5 32. Qxe5+ f6 33. Qh5 Qc7 34. Qxh6+ Qh7 35. Qf4 Qxc2 36. Rh3+ Kg8 37. Qg4+ Kf7 38. Qe6+ Kg7 39. Qe7+ 1-0

Zhigalko played some fine chess to beat Bukavshin in both the rapid games, although it must be
mentioned that the latter over-stretched in game two, as he was in a must-win scenario.

Amir Zaibi – Fabiano Caruana, classical game two

Black to play

[Event "FIDE World Cup 2015"] [Site "Baku AZE"] [Date "2015.09.13"] [Round "1.3"] [White "Zaibi, Amir"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B12"] [WhiteElo "2330"] [BlackElo "2808"] [Annotator "Amruta Mokal"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "4rrk1/1pq3b1/2p1p2p/N1Pp1bp1/PP1Pnn2/4B2P/4BPPN/2RQ1RK1 b - - 0 21"] [PlyCount "29"] [EventDate "2015.09.11"] 21... e5 {While Caurana's move is not bad, he clearly had a stronger continuation at his disposal.} (21... Nxh3+ 22. gxh3 {doesn't really work.}) ( 21... Bxh3 $1 $17 {was the winning move with the following tactics.} 22. gxh3 ( 22. Bf3 Bf5 $17) (22. Bxf4 Qxf4 23. gxh3 Nxf2 $19) 22... Nxh3+ 23. Kg2 (23. Kh1 Rxf2 $1 24. Ng4 (24. Bxf2 Nhxf2+ 25. Rxf2 Nxf2+ 26. Kg2 Nxd1) 24... Ng3#) 23... Nhxf2 24. Bxf2 Rxf2+ $1 25. Rxf2 Qg3+ $19) 22. Bxf4 gxf4 23. Nb3 Ng5 24. dxe5 Qxe5 25. Bg4 Bxg4 26. Qxg4 f3 27. Nxf3 Nxf3+ 28. gxf3 Rf4 29. Qg3 Qf6 30. Rfe1 Rxe1+ 31. Rxe1 Rxf3 32. Qb8+ Kh7 33. Nc1 Qg5+ 34. Kf1 Qh4 35. Qh2 Rxh3 0-1

Fabiano now faces Rauf Mamedov in round two

Nguyen Ngoc Truongson – Robert Kempinski

A final easy one to end this article. White to play.

Solution: 31.Rxd5! Of course

Photos and information from the official website

Next Round Pairings

Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
V. Topalov (BUL) 2816
 
             
Sergei Zhigalko (BLR) 2657  
 
           
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Shanglei Lu (CHN) 2599
 
             
Hao Wang (CHN) 2712
 
             
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Peter Svilder (RUS) 2727  
 
           
LiviuDieter Nisipeanu (GER) 2678
 
             
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Teimour Radjabov (AZE) 2738
 
             
Ilia Smirin (ISR) 2655  
 
           
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Ding Liren (CHN) 2782  
 
           
Ernesto Inarkiev (RUS) 2660
 
             
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
David Navara (CZE) 2728
 
             
Gadir Guseinov (AZE) 2634
 
             
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Levon Aronian (ARM) 2765
 
             
Alexander Areschenko (UKR) 2661  
 
           
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Wei Yi (CHN) 2734  
 
           
Yuri Vovk (UKR) 2628  
 
           
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Anish Giri (NED) 2793  
 
           
Alexander Motylev (RUS) 2649
 
             
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Peter Leko (HUN) 2707
 
             
Wen Yang (CHN) 2620
 
             
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Cristobal Henriquez Villagra (CHI) 2511  
 
           
Julio Granda Zuniga (PER) 2667  
 
           
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Radoslaw Wojtaszek (POL) 2741  
 
           
Vladislav Artemiev (RUS) 2675
 
             
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Wesley So (USA) 2773
 
             
Csaba Balogh (HUN) 2657
 
             
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Nikita Vitiugov (RUS) 2725  
 
           
Le Quang Liem (VIE) 2697
 
             
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Evgeny Tomashevsky (RUS) 2758  
 
           
Ngoc Truong Son Nguyen (VIE) 2634
 
             
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Maxime VachierLagrave (FRA) 2744
 
             
Gabriel Sargissian (ARM) 2679  
 
           
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Hikaru Nakamura (USA) 2814  
 
           
Samuel Shankland (USA) 2656
 
             
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Laurent Fressinet (FRA) 2702
 
             
Ian Nepomniachtchi (RUS) 2705  
 
           
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Michael Adams (ENG) 2742
 
             
Viktor Laznicka (CZE) 2676  
 
           
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Leiner Dominguez Perez (CUB) 2732  
 
           
Hrant Melkumyan (ARM) 2622  
 
           
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Alexander Grischuk (RUS) 2771
 
             
Vladimir Fedoseev (RUS) 2674
 
             
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Pavel Eljanov (UKR) 2717  
 
           
Alexander Ipatov (TUR) 2625  
 
           
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Dmitry Jakovenko (RUS) 2491  
 
           
Amin Bassem (EGY) 2636  
 
           
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Vassily Ivanchuk (UKR) 2726
 
             
Maxim Rodshtein (ISR)    
 
           
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Fabiano Caruana (USA) 2808
 
             
Rauf Mamedov (AZE) 2657
 
             
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Sandro Mareco (ARG) 2599
 
             
Anton Kovalyov (CAN) 2616  
 
           
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
P. Harikrishna 2737  
 
           
S.P. Sethuraman (IND) 2640  
 
           
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE) 2736
 
             
Hou Yifan (CHN) 2632  
 
           
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Vladimir Kramnik (RUS) 2777  
 
           
Lazaro Batista Bruzon (CUB) 2659
 
             
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Dmitry Andreikin (RUS) 2720
 
             
Anton Korobov (UKR) 2700  
 
           
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Sergey Karjakin (RUS) 2762
 
             
Alexander Onischuk (USA) 2662  
 
           
Player Rtg
G1
G2
G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 Pts
Yu Yangyi (CHN) 2721  
 
           
Igor Lysyj (RUS) 2671
 
             

Links

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Sagar Shah is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant and would like to become the first CA+GM of India. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder of the ChessBase India website.
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ex0 ex0 9/15/2015 08:18
In the final puzzle, what happens after 31.Rxd5! if black plays 31.exd5, with the queen now protecting f6? Is the finish Qe7+, and then after king moves, you win the knight and still have a big initiative and/or a mating attack? Or is there something more crushing that i'm missing, like a forced mate after Rxd5?
flachspieler flachspieler 9/14/2015 04:54
Fantastic photo of the Sargissian family. It looks a bit like an old (famous) black-white photo of the Tolstoi family.
Hamsuns Hamsuns 9/14/2015 12:57
great picture of the Sargissian family btw
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