FIDE World Cup 2017: Ten 2700+ players knocked out

by Sagar Shah
9/9/2017 – The tiebreak of the second round of the World Cup 2017 witnessed some games going down to the wire. Matlakov and Artemiev won marathon encounters against Andreikin and Radjabov. Ten players rated above 2700 were knocked out from the event in the round two tiebreaks. We bring you many interesting positions and games, as well as video interviews with chess boards which helps you to understand the thought process of all the top players! We started with 128, now only 32 remain in Tbilisi. | Photos: Amruta Mokal

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Young Russian Brigade on the rise

World Cup

Soft music played in the background as a relaxed Maxim Matlakov spoke with his friend Nikita Vitiugov and enjoyed his soup. It calmness that Maxim radiated could make anyone feel that he had come back from a nice swim or a visit to the spa. But in reality, he was fighting tooth and nail against his compatriot in a match that lasted for eight games and was filled with innumerable ups and downs.

A relaxed Maxim Matlakov with Nikita Vitiugov at the dinner table

A qualifier to the third round of the World Cup 2017 wins USD $12,800 (USD $16,000, less 20% FIDE fee) and I think they thoroughly deserve each and every bit of that money; the pressure that they go through in order to win their matches is simply unparalleled. A match that began calmly in the classical and longer rapid section with four draws between Matlakov and Andreikin became a blood bath as the players exchanged wins in short rapid format and then Maxim being able to win both the blitz games. However, in the first blitz game Andreikin was completely winning and it was only because of some inexplicable decisions that he had to throw in the towel. 

First blitz game

In the second blitz game Andreikin had to win with the black pieces, but Matlakov was just too solid. The match ended in Maxim's favour and the 2013 World Cup finalist was eliminated.

It was a battle between two future champions of Russia and this time Maxim Matlakov (right) emerged victorious over Dmitry Andreikin

Another match that went on for eight games was the one between Teimour Radjabov and Vladislav Artemiev.

Teimour had his back against the wall after he lost the first 25'+10" rapid game. However, he bounced back and scoring a win in the second game and also taking the first short rapid game. But Artemiev was not the one to bow down so easily. He won the second 10' + 10" rapid game and was able to seal the match by scoring 1½-½ in the blitz section.

Heartbreak for Radjabov who was showing some very interesting chess at the event

Artemiev showed that he is extremely dangerous in shorter time conrols

If we thought that we would witness most of the 2700+ players going through to the third round, we were in for a big surprise! Ten players rated 2700 and above were eliminated. The biggest surprise being Shakhriyar Mamedyarov being knocked out by Yuri Kuzubov.

Ten 2700+ players who were eliminated from round two of the World Cup 2017

Yuri Kuzubov has always been a strong player, but to eliminate a rapid expert like Mamedyarov and that too with a score of 2-0, now that's unexpected


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After losing game one of the rapid, Mamedyarov was in a must win situation with the black pieces. He got the position he would have desired — complex with full of tactical possibilities. But he wasn't able to trick his opponent. In the end Kuzubov calculated accurately and forced a draw. Mamedyarov was quite upset at this fact and let his opponent mate him rather than agreeing to a draw.


Yu Yangyi getting eliminated in the second round was a big surprise

In an interview two days ago Baadur Jobava mentioned that playing in his home city Tbilisi was special, but there was also a lot of pressure. However, it seems like Baadur is managing his pressure quite well as he eliminated China's number two Yu Yangyi. Baadur played splendid chess in the first rapid game sacrificed his knight in Tal-like style!


Much to the delight of the local fans, Jobava also won the second rapid game and qualified for the third round.

The end of the match between Baadur Jobava and Yu Yangyi

When Yu Yangyi resigned in the second rapid game, the spectators in the playing hall erupted in applause. While it was not ideal for the other guys, it just goes to show how much everyone loves Baadur here in Tbilisi.

Wei Yi was knocked out in round two. This was not a huge surprise as Richard Rapport is a world class player as well, but a 2748 player being eliminated is always news!


The answer to the above question can be, just keep playing and sooner or later White will win. Well, it is true for many positions where a side has a material advantage, but not this one. If White is not able to do something, he won't be able to win this position. The main reason being that Black's pawn configuration is ideal for the bishop. The bishop can always keep attacking White's pawns. The winning method is quite instructive.

  1. White pushes his pawn to f4. The threat of playing f5, forces Black to play ...f5.
  2. Bring your king to the e6 square.
  3. And now the most important part — go for g4! Yes it's true. Without this move, you will not be able to win.

Now let's have a look as to how Richard Rapport put all of these three points into practice.


In the battle between two Indians, it was the lower rated Sethuraman who repeated his feat of World Cup 2015, as he beat Harikrishna and advanced to round three

The analysis of the critical game (second 25' + 10") was sent to us by a talented Indian youngster 13-year-old Prithu Gupta.


"This is my first good performance after winning the Asian Championship in 2016!"

Bu Xiangzhi against Etienne Bacrot

Bu Xiangzhi against Etienne Bacrot was an evenly balanced match on the paper, and also things progressed in a similar fashion on the board, before Bu scored the crucial victory. The Chinese player will face Magnus Carlsen in the next round.

Bu Xiangzhi speaks about his match with Bacrot and facing Magnus Carlsen in round three

Top Polish player Radoslaw Wojtaszek was eliminated by Alexander Onischuk

The final handshake — an absolute delight for the winner and a nightmare for the loser

Wang Hao played a very good match against Boris Gelfand and beat him 2½-1½. He was worse in the second classical game, but apart from that he was always able to put Boris on the backfoot. When after the match he was asked what were the weaknesses that he focused on while preparing against Gelfand, Wang Hao mentioned energy and his opponent's narrow opening repertoire. In the video below, Wang Hao explains what happens in the match. Don't miss it.

Don't miss this analysis of all the four games by Wang Hao

Jan-Krzysztof Duda lost to Vasily Ivanchuk. After the match Ivanchuk in an interview spoke highly about his opponent and said that the young Polish player has a bright future ahead of him.

Yes, I like checkers, but right now I am concentrating on chess!


Another interesting position that occured in the final position of game was the following:


Favourites who advanced to round three

The way he sat was unusual, but there was nothing unusual about his play! Wesley So managed to beat Matthias Bluebaum

Lazaro Bruzon fought hard, but in the end lost to Hikaru Nakamura

Hikaru speaks about his win and also about the elimination of Anand and Adams from his group

Alexander Grischuk managed to beat Jorge Cori of Peru with a score of 2½-1½

Fabiano Caruana faced some resistance from Luka Lenic but was able to overcome it

Anish Giri was on the verge of elimination as he had a bad position in the second rapid game against Alexander Motylev, but he managed to survive it and advanced to the next round

Anish speaks about his match against Motylev, his next opponent Sethuraman and Indian talents like little Pragg and Nihal Sarin

Levon Aronian and Hou Yifan analyze after a game, in which Yifan put up a strong fight, but to no avail

David Navara was able to win against Ivan Cheparinov



Pairings for round three:

If I had to single out one match that would be the most interesting from the 16 that will take place over the next three days, it has to be Vladimir Kramnik against Vassily Ivanchuk.

Magnus Carlsen Bu Xiangzhi
Peter Svidler Alexander Onischuk
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave Aleksandr Lenderman
Alexander Grischuk David Navara
Vladimir Kramnik Vasily Ivanchuk
Anish Giri Sethuraman
Levon Aronian Maxim Matlakov
Daniil Dubov Vladislav Artemiev
Wesley So Vallejo Pons
Nepomniachtchi Baadur Jobava
Hikaru Nakamura Vladimir Fedoseev
Anton Kovalyov Maxim Rodshtein
Fabiano Caruana Evgenvy Najer
Richard Rapport Li Chao
Yuri Kuzubov Wang Hao
Ding Liren Vidit Gujrathi

Replay all the games of the tiebreak:



Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. 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 and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


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