FIDE World Cup 2017: Anand and Karjakin knocked out

by Sagar Shah
9/8/2017 – It might be appropriate to call this an end of an era. After nearly two decades, we will not be seeing Vishy Anand fighting for the Candidates as he was knocked out in the second round of the World Cup 2017 by Anton Kovalyov. Defending champion Karjakin did not fare better as his opponent Dubov showed deep preparation which led to a convincing win. Michael Adams is another world class player who was eliminated. Ten players qualified for round three, 22 matches go into the tiebreaks. | Photos: Amruta Mokal

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Ten players qualify for round three

22 matches go into tiebreaks

World Cup

Violent winds were blowing outside the tournament hall. So much so that the organizers had to relocate the smoking area as opening the door would create havoc inside the playing hall. Well, perhaps this was a sign of what was to come in the round. It was perhaps the bloodiest round of the World Cup 2017. Three big names were eliminated: five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand, World Championship Challenger Sergey Karjakin and super-solid Englishman Michael Adams.

The round will start in 17 minutes and 23 seconds and only one player is there: Vassily Ivanchuk!

Baadur Jobava asks broadcast expert Anna Burtasova what the violent wind means for the smokers.

Only ten of the 64 players who made it to round two are going to enjoy September 8th as a rest day (this is assuming that the ten people who got eliminated are not enjoying!). 44 players have to go into the tiebreaks. 22 tiebreak-matches will be played, the same number we had in round one (with 128 players!) This just goes to show how cautious players were.

How was Sergey Karjakin eliminated?

In the first game between Sergey Karjakin and Daniil Dubov, Karjakin had White but Dubov equalized easily and the game ended in a draw. When Dubov had White he once again showed excellent preparation. In an English both players were well versed with opening theory and blitzed out the first moves. But on move 18 Dubov pushed his pawn to a5 and confidently got up from the board where Sergey Karjakin was sitting deep in thought.

Radjabov and Nakamura come to the board to see what is going on. Both are keen to know the opening moves, but Dubov's handwriting...

...made them throw a glance over Karjakin's shoulder!

Soon Boris Gelfand paid a visit to the board and after a few minutes...

...Alexander Grischuk cast an inqusitive glance!

It's not so easy to attract the attention of these top players, who are so well prepared. So, what caught the attention of everyone?


White is an exchange up, but the pawn on f2 is quite strong. The question is what exactly is the pawn on a5 doing? Can it not be taken? But the position is complex and the better prepared player surely has an edge over his opponent. One cannot be certain who was better prepared, but one thing is sure: Dubov remembered the analysis better.

Yes, Rxa5 would have been equal, as Dubov later showed in his analysis (check the video below). Karjakin's move led to a complex position which the young Russian was able to navigate better than his opponent who is famed for his defensive skills. In a wonderful feat Dubov managed to outplay Karjakin.


Daniil Dubov shows his thought process, preparation and calculations

Knocking out the defending champion! Now that's some achievement by Daniil Dubov.

Anand out of the World Championship cycle

This is the first time in my memory that Anand is out of the World Championship cycle entirely. He is not playing the Grand Prix, he cannot qualify for the Candidates via rating, and now he was knocked out from the World Cup. There is still some hope that he might get the FIDE President's nomination for the Candidates, but that is a long shot.

Anand came casually dressed to the game: in a t-shirt

Anand lost the first game against Anton Kovalyov after unnecessarily sacrificing a knight on c5. Afterwards, Anand called the move "ridiculous", and said that "it was totally uncalled for in a kockout format. Sometimes your head isn't just screwed to the right place." In the second game Kovalyov proceeded in a very solid way and was able to draw without too many difficulties. This meant that Anand was knocked out of the World Cup 2017.


Kovalyov knocked out Anand, but didn't learn his lesson from World Cup 2015. Which lesson? He tells us in the video!

Anand blames his decision to try Nc5 in game one for his elimination

Decisive games in round 2.2

Ivan Cheparinov was the only player who had lost game one and could level the score.

Players who are already qualified for round three:

1 Magnus Carlsen
2 Maxime Vachier Lagrave
3 Aleksandr Lenderman
4 Vladimir Kramnik
5 Daniil Dubov
6 Francesco Vallejo Pons
7 Vladimir Fedoseev
8 Anton Kovalyov
9 Maxim Rodshtein
10 Vidit Gujrathi

A routine day in the life of Magnus Carlsen

Magnus had won his first game against Dreev and a draw would have been enough for him to reach round three. However, he wanted more. He played a relatively safe line of the Sicilian Rossolimo and didn't let his advantage slip after Dreev made a few errors.

Carlsen always gets his glasses entangled in some way while is playing and he likes to adjust his knights in a way that they are facing sidewards

Here's the unannotated game of Carlsen's victory over Dreev. If you wish to see some high class analysis check out Daniel King's Powerplay video below the game.


Daniel King analyzes Carlsen against Dreev

With this win Magnus is the only player with a score of 4.0/4! After the game ended, Carlsen asked the arbiter to give him the scoresheet. His game will be online everywhere so why does he need the scoresheet? Perhaps someone is collecting them! In any case, after the game ended, Magnus strolled around in the tournament hall to watch the games that were still in progress.

No one can escape the watchful eye of the world champion!

Papa, that was easy!

Then Carlsen had dinner with his father and with his second Peter Heine Nielsen

Kramnik came well prepared to the game, but his opponent gave him no time to eat the chocolate or the banana!

The other minor shock of the day was Vladimir Kramnik's draw against Anton Demchenko. Not the result in itself, but the fact that Demchenko who was trailing in the match offered a draw on move ten. Why? Perhaps he was not feeling well or he just didn't believe in himself.

Well, what can I do? I had to accept the draw! Vladimir Kramnik speaks to official commentator Ivan Sokolov.

Vladimir Kramnik speaks about qualifying to round three, opening preparation and how age plays a role in such gruelling events.

Kramnik's ChessBase-DVD "My path to the top" has been a bestseller. I learned a lot from it. When I mentioned this to Kramnik, he said that he should plan a trip to Hamburg and record another DVD soon for ChessBase. Well, for all those who haven't seen this classic, don't miss it.

My Path to the Top

On this DVD Vladimir Kramnik retraces his career from talented schoolboy to World Champion in 2006. With humour and charm he describes his first successes, what it meant to be part of the Russian Gold Medal team at the Olympiad, and how he undertook the Herculean task of beating his former mentor and teacher Garry Kasparov.

Hou Yifan held her own against Levon Aronian in both classical encounters (By the way, if you look closely, you will see that the colour combination of Aronian's trousers and chair is the same as the Armenian flag!)

Hou Yifan speaks about her games against Levon Aronian

A big upset of the day was Israel's Maxim Rodshtein win against Michael Adams.


Aleksandr Lenderman is in great form. After knocking out Pavel Eljanov in round one, he now got the better of Aryan Tari. We are wondering what is it that Aleksandr is carrying with him to the game and put next to the banana?

Perhaps a better view can help!


Francesco Vallejo Pons was able to knock out Evgeny Tomashevsky by playing a sideline in the Ruy Lopez


Vladimir Fedoseev has a light moment with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Mamedyarov's second Rauf Mamedov. Fedoseev was able to knock out Ernesto Inarkiev.

The stormy day came to an end, but weather predictions say that the next day the wind will be even stonger!

Video Gallery:

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave beats Boris Grachev in their mini-match 1.5-0.5 and reaches round three

India's number three Vidit Gujrathi beats Le Quang Liem and makes it to round three

Sopiko Guramishvili speaks about the life of a wife of a top player, a mother and her future ambitions!

All results


All games of round 2


What to expect in the tiebreaks of round two?

We have divided the 32 boards into eight sections of 4 encounters. Let's have a look at the players and the tiebreaks of round two. 

Bu Xiangzhi against Etienne Bacrot is a well balanced match but Peter Svidler and Radoslaw Wojtaszek are surely the favourites against Vikor Erdos and Alexander Onischuk.

 Matches 1-4 (click or tap to expand the brackets)

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave will face Lenderman in round three. In the interview above Vachier-Lagrave mentioned that no player n the World Cup is an easy opponent, but that it is better to play against Lenderman or Tari than against Carlsen or Gischuk.

Matches 4-8 (click or tap to expand the brackets)

All three tiebreaks are highly interesting. Ivanchuk, Giri and Harikrishna have the better ratings, but their opponents are all quite strong.

Matches 9-12

Although Aronian seems to be the big favourite, Hou Yifan can never be discounted.

Matches 13-16

Wesley So has not been able to break through the defenses of Bluebaum in the classical format. Nepomniachtchi against Adhiban and Yu Yangyi against Baadur Jobava are quite well balanced matches.

Matches 17-20

With the elimination of Anand and Adams, Nakamura must be quite happy that his path to the quarter finals has been eased, but first he must beat Bruzon and then Fedoseev!

Matches 21-24

Nothing can be more interesting than Wei Yi against Richard Rapport. Both are aggressive, but the Chinese likes to play by the book, while Rapport is more of a wild attacker. All the games in this group are undecided.

Matches 25-28

Will Mamedyarov be able to break through the defences of Kuzubov? And will Gelfand be able to overcome Wang Hao? Interesting matches here.

Matches 29-32

Replay all the games:



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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