FIDE WCC R2-1: A Grecian tragedy

by ChessBase
6/22/2004 – Imagine what this must feel like: in round two of the FIDE knockout world championship Super-GM Nigel Short outplayed his opponent on the white side of a Sicilian, then spent 79 moves nursing an exchange advantage towards victory. Finally, on move 121, fate struck a devastating blow... We have found a possible explanation...

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Round two, game one

The FIDE Knockout World Championship has, in its second round, been reduced to 64 players. With the participants battling it out on 32 boards we are able to start presenting a full results list (see table below).

In the first of two games in round two top seed Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) defeated his compatriot Alexander Delchev, with the black pieces at that.

Another hot favourite, Alexander Grischuk, outwitted his Greek opponent Kotronias after the latter had done a satisfactory job in the opening.

We witnessed a tragedy of Grecian proportions in the above game. Super-GM Nigel Short outplayed his Polish opponent Michal Krasenkow, and spent 79 moves nursing a rook for knight-and-pawn advantage to a win.

Short,N (2712) - Krasenkow,M (2609) [B33]
FIDE WCh KO Tripoli LBA (2.1), 21.06.2004

In this position Nigel played 121.Re6??, simply dropping the rook. We have no information on how or why this happened, no pictures of the look on Krasenkow's face when he played 121...Nxe6. White resigned one move later. This is how he had maneuvered his king during the game:

We offer as a possible explanation of the above aberration a passage from Nigel Short's Sunday Telegraph column that appeared a month ago (you need to register to read the entire text). Nigel wrote:

"It is an undisputed fact that no healthy man ever lost a game of chess. I scorn those simpletons, those naive buffoons, who think that innate stupidity or insufficient practice could be the cause of my defeats; obviously there has to be a medical explanation.

One gasping May, five years ago, I dragged myself to hospital where I was diagnosed as being massively allergic to olive trees. This is ironic because we own a field full of them near our country house in Messinia.

Even in Athens, branches wave menacingly below my bedroom window. Removing the root of my debilitation is not easy; avoiding olive trees in Greece is like avoiding snow in Greenland. Given the impracticality of living in a hermetically sealed environment, medication offers the best respite.

The drawback is that even the mildest of antihistamines seems to impair my mental faculties. A minor drop in performance can be catastrophic for a chess player.

Alas, other pollens also afflict my feeble constitution. Even olive-free Sarajevo provides no sanctuary at this time of the year. Given the necessity of obtaining match practice for the World Championship in Libya next month, what then should I do?

The answer is obvious: try another hemisphere. Go south, young man! Brazil or Botswana, not Bosnia is where I should be. Now if only I could find a nice little tournament in Gaborone..."

We will miss you, Nigel...

The youngest player in the Tripoli tournament is now 16-year-old Hikaru Nakamura of the US, the oldest is Alexander Beliavsky, 50. The average age, as computed by FIDE, is 30.

The above pictures are from the event's picture gallery page and are brought to you be courtesy of FIDE (©

Here are the results of the top 24 boards. Full results can be found on the FIDE site.

1 Delchev, Aleksander (BUL) Topalov, Veselin (BUL) 0-1
2 Elarbi, Abobker (LBA) Smirnov, Pavel (RUS) 0-1
3 Asrian, Karen (ARM) Adams, Michael (ENG) 1/2
4 Grischuk, Alexander (RUS) Kotronias, Vasilios (CYP) 1-0
5 Harikrishna, Pentala (IND) Ivanchuk, Vassily (UKR) 1/2
6 Short, Nigel D. (ENG) Krasenkow, Michal (POL) 0-1
7 Dominguez, Lenier (CUB) Malakhov, Vladimir (RUS) 1/2
8 Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter (ROM) Tiviakov, Sergei (NED) 1-0
9 Kharlov, Andrei (RUS) Sokolov, Ivan (NED) 1-0
10 Dreev, Alexey (RUS) Felgaer, Ruben (ARG) 1-0
11 Adianto, Utut (INA) Akopian, Vladimir (ARM) 1/2
12 Ye, Jiangchuan (CHN) Ni, Hua (CHN) 1/2
13 Anastasian, Ashot (ARM) Neelotpal, Das (IND) 1/2
14 Azmaiparashvili, Zurab (GEO) Lastin, Alexander (RUS) 0-1
15 Sadvakasov, Darmen (KAZ) Bacrot, Etienne (FRA) 0-1
16 Gurevich, Mikhail (BEL) Kozul, Zdenko (CRO) 0-1
17 Iordachescu, Viorel (MDA) Rublevsky, Sergei (RUS) 1/2
18 Radjabov, Teimour (AZE) Nielsen, Peter Heine (DEN) 1/2
19 Nakamura, Hikaru (USA) Aleksandrov, Aleksej (BLR) 1-0
20 Beliavsky, Alexander G (SLO) Kobalia, Mikhail (RUS) 1/2
21 Almasi, Zoltan (HUN) Vallejo Pons, Francisco (ESP) 1/2
22 Bologan, Viktor (MDA) Moiseenko, Alexander (UKR) 1/2
23 Sulskis, Sarunas (LTU) Sakaev, Konstantin (RUS) 0-1
24 Kritz, Leonid (GER) Leitao, Rafael (BRA) 0-1
25 Lputian, Smbat G (ARM) Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar (AZE) 1/2
26 Graf, Alexander (GER) Tkachiev, Vladislav (FRA) 1/2
27 Wojtkiewicz, Aleksander (USA) Zvjaginsev, Vadim (RUS) 1/2
28 Kasimdzhanov, Rustam (UZB) Ghaem Maghami, Ehsan (IRI) 1-0
29 Filippov, Valerij (RUS) Van Wely, Loek (NED) 1-0
30 Hamdouchi, Hichem (MAR) Kudrin, Sergey (USA) 1/2
31 Aronian, Levon (ARM) Guseinov, Gadir (AZE) 1-0
32 Acs, Peter (HUN) Movsesian, Sergei (SVK) 1-0

General information

The FIDE site, which is being hosted by Libya Telecom And Technology, looks well equipped to handle live coverage of the event. The schedule, list of players, results tree and games are all in place, there are reports and picture galleries. The start page is and

Live coverage

The live game transmission from Tripoli, apparently of all games, requires you to have Java Virtual Machine installed on your PC. This program is distributed free of charge by Sun Microsystems (and is useful for many other applications). Visit the Java check page to see if you have everything required for the live coverage and install Java if you don't. To follow the games click on "Live coverage" in the link list above. There is a "View" button behind each pairing of players. Many of the key games will also be covered and discussed on the server.


Note that local time in Tripoli is the same as in Central Europe. The start of the games is generally at 14:30h, which is GMT + 2 and translates to 13:30 London, 8:30 a.m. New York, 16:30 Moscow, 18:00 New Delhi, 20:30 Hong Kong, 21:30 Tokyo, 22:30 Melbourne, and 03:00 a.m. (on the next day) in the French Polynesia-Marquesas Islands of Taiohae.

World Chess Championship 2003-2004
18 June - 13 July 2004 – Schedule
Date Day Events Games Time
18 June Friday Opening Ceremony
Players' Meeting
19 June Saturday Round 1 Game 1 14.30
20 June Sunday Round 1 Game 2*
21 June Monday Round 2 Game 1 14.30
22 June Tuesday Round 2 Game 2*
23 June Wednesday Round 3 Game 1 14.30
24 June Thursday Round 3 Game 2* 14.30
25 June Friday Rest Day    
26 June Saturday Round 4 Game 1 14.30
27 June Sunday Round 4 Game 2* 14.30
28 June Monday Round 5 Game 1 14.30
29 June Tuesday Round 5 Game 2* 14.30
30 June Wednesday Rest day    
1 July Thursday Round 6 Game 1 14.30
2 July Friday Round 6 Game 2 14.30
3 July Saturday Round 6 Game 3 14.30
4 July Sunday Round 6 Game 4 14.30
5 July Monday Round 6 Tie-Breaks 14.30
6 July Tuesday Final Match Game 1 14.30
7 July Wednesday Final Match Game 2 14.30
8 July Thursday Final Match Game 3 14.30
9 July Friday Rest Day    
10 July Saturday Final Match Game 4 14.30
11 July Sunday Final Match Game 5 14.30
12 July Monday Final Match Game 6 14.30
13 July Tuesday Final Match Tie-breaks 12.30
13 July Tuesday Closing Ceremony   18.00
* Tie-breaks at 20:30h

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