FIDE World Cup starts in Khany-Mansiysk

11/27/2005 – It used to be known as the FIDE Knockout World Championship, now it is the World Cup, featuring 128 of the world's strongest players, who will play for a $1.5 million purse. 127 of them made to Khanty, 2250 km east of Moscow. We bring you a full report of round one, with results, games and pictures directly from this Siberian winter event.

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The FIDE World Chess Cup is being stage from November 26th to December 18th, 2005, in Khanty-Mansyisk, Russia. This event replaces what was known as the "FIDE Knockout World Championship", as played in Groningen/Lucerne (1998), Las Vegas (1999), Delhi/Teheran (2000), Moscow (2002) and Libya (2004), producing the world champions Karpov, Khalifman, Anand, Ponomariov and Kasimdzhanov. Now the 128-player knockout serves as a qualifier for the Candidates stage of the world championship, but it will also produce a Knockout or World Cup Champion, who will be distinct from the FIDE or general world champion. The prize fund is US $1.5 million, with President Ilyumzhinov providing $300,000 for organisational costs.


Report by Geoffrey Borg
Pictures by Frits Agterdenbos (fa) and Galina Tiviakova (gt)

The World Cup is underway and 128 players (well 126 anyway) sat down to battle their way down to the last man. For some reason Akopian-Lane did not get off the ground and there was no information on the official site at the time of writing as to which of the players did not turn up. From the information we appear to have, it seems that Akopian is missing.

First stop on the was to Khanty: Moscow, Sheremetyevo Airport (fa)

But some came via Vnukovo Airport in Moscow (gt)

Out of the 63 games actually played we had 27 draws, with the majority of these (17) coming from the bottom half. Out of the 36 wins, 23 were with the white pieces. This is to be expected of course since the tournament pairings are based on a folding in the middle. This means that number 1 (Ivanchuk) plays number 128 (Sibariev) just around 500 points less than him.

The players Hotel Yugorskaya Dolina, in the snow (fa)

Sergey Tiviakov, Eugene Atarov, Ahmed Adly and Oleg Korneev (gt)

Warm and inviting – inside the hotel lobby (gt)

When I first queried this practice, it was explained to me that the idea was to protect the top players as much as possible and ensure their progress in the tournament.

Arrival: FIDE officers Zurab Azmaiparashvili, Florencio Campomanes, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov (gt)

The main element which many of the top players will be looking at is how easily they dispatch their lower rated opponents. In general it gives an idea as to whether they are in form or not. Ivanchuk, Bacrot and Aronian all had reasonably good wins, but Grischuk struggled to win against the President’s wild card – 15-year old Gaston Needleman from Argentina.

Gary Lane (bye against Akopian) and his second Lee Jones, both from Australia (fa)

We also had our fair share of surprises and starting from the top boards Ponomariov was given a bit of a scare by teenage GM Ahmed Adly from Egypt. Adly loves his Najdorfs and both players went for each other in a wild game. It appeared that Ponomariov had a good advantage after 26.Nd5 Qd8 27.b4 Bxd5 28.bxa5! and rather than get squeezed Adly struck out with 31...g5?!! to which Ponomariov came out with the equally risky 32.Rd3 Rg8 33.g4?!!

Well prepared for Khanty: Boris Gelfand from Israel (fa)

After this it was all mayhem and Ponomariov will probably ruse the several chances he missed to clinch the point. He went on to err with 51.Qxg4+? (51.Rxd5 was much better) and then found himself in a much worse (probably losing) position.

FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov speaks (gt)

On board 18, another teenager, Shaki Mamedyarov, fresh from his juggernaut win in the World U20 Boys Championship was unseated against GM Nurlan Ibraev of Kazakstan. We had a Classical line of the KID with the Bayonet attack (9.b4) and I can imagine both players blitzed out the opening since it has been played very frequently in international tournaments. Ibraev tried 24.a4 in a theoretical position.

Ali Frhat and Adly Ahmed (African champion), both from Egypt (fa)

As such the move does nothing much in the position and Ibraev was obviously happy with sharing the point. Mamedyarov, luckily for chess, has got a fighting instinct and tried to complicate with 28…Rd4 offering an exchange but this was quite risky and while white stayed his hand Mamedyarov went on self destruct with 30…Rd3? Which was just too much.

GM Sergey Tiviakov and photographer Frits Agterdenbos (gt)

On the next board Vallejo could have been influenced by all this since after building up a nice advantage he could have continued to build up the pressure with 28.Kc3 and Kd4. Instead he decided to breakthrough on the queen side and after 28.Ra1 Be8 29.b5?! g5 30.Rd4 axb5 31.cxb5 Bd7 white started to overpress. Shilong Li played a nice intermediate move with 36…d4+ and after taking the pawn on g2 this diagonal proved the decisive factor in the game.

Players Alexey Shirov (middle) and Gata Kamsky (right)

Other ‘surprise’ games were Sang Cao’s win over Volokitin and the Ukrainian was never really in the game. Similarly, Ganguly beat American-favourite Nakamura in a game where the young American prodigy had little chances to win and it was only up to white to try. White kept on manouevering against the f7 square and built up various threats until finally Hikaru was forced to give up a pawn on the 39th move with 39…e3 since Rf5 was being threatened by white. Black struggled but the Indian player played very accurately and nursed the point home.

The Ukraines: Karjakin, Volokitin and Ponomariov (gt)

Of course, at this level there are no really surprises. The rating difference is not so significant in the middle part of the table and 2500+ GMs will have good possibilities of upsetting 2600+ GMs particularly given the fact that these are two game matches. Players who lose in the first game have great psychological pressure to remain in the tournament and have to take risks in the second game.

Alekseev, Sadvakasov, Dolmatov on a morning stroll (fa)

14 year old Magnus Carlsen (who by the way celebrates his 15th birthday on the 30th of November) also played very well and gave GM Azmajaparasvili no respite in a QGD Exchange variation. Zurab chose a line which gives an inferior pawn structure but without queens on the board. He had played this before and had made a quick draw against Yermolinsky. Magnus had other plans and slowly improved his position. Zurab tried to break out eventually with 30…c5 and in the ensuing tactics, Magnus picked up a pawn and a winning position.

Dutch GM Loek van Wely with his wife Marion

One other upset, more than a surprise, was Vadim Milov’s loss to Levan Pantsulaia. However, a word of caution is needed and Pantsulaia is a very promising young Georgian player and has been shooting up the rating list recently and also showing some great perfomances in international tournaments this year. So some great fighting chess in the first game of the first round.

Geoffrey D Borg is a Fide Master who was quite active a number of years ago, winning a silver medal on Board 1 in the Thessaloniki Olympiad in 1984. He still enjoys playing on the Internet, but today he is more active on the tournament organisation and building initiatives such as the Mediterranean Chess Association of which he is the General Secretary. Geoffrey is also the Campaign Director for the Dutch-Turkish bid for the FIDE Presidency, and the web master for the official campaign site.


Round 1 Game 1 – Sunday November 27, 2005

match    White Result    Black match
1  Ivanchuk, Vassily (UKR) 1-0  Sibriaev, Aleksandr (RUS) 1-0
2  Chumfwa, Stanley (ZAM) 0-1  Bacrot, Etienne (FRA) 0-1
3  Aronian, Levon (ARM) 1-0  Frhat, Ali (EGY) 1-0
4  Needleman, Gaston (ARG) 0-1  Grischuk, Alexander (RUS) 0-1
5  Gelfand, Boris (ISR) 1-0  Kobese, Watu (RSA) 1-0
6  Kuderinov, Kiril (KAZ) 1/2  Shirov, Alexei (ESP) ½-½
8  Flores, Diego (ARG) 0-1  Radjabov, Teimur (AZE) 0-1
9  Ponomariov, Ruslan (UKR) 1/2  Ahmed, Adly (EGY) ½-½
10  Belkhodja, Slim (TUN) 0-1  Tiviakov, Sergei (NED) 0-1
11  Sokolov, Ivan (NED) 1-0  Stefanova, Antoaneta (BUL) 1-0
12  Charbonneau, Pascal (CAN) 0-1  Dreev, Alexey (RUS) 0-1
13  Kamsky, Gata (USA) 1-0  Zhao, Yun (CHN) 1-0
14  Matamoros, Carlos (ECU) 0-1  Bologan, Viorel (MDA) 0-1
15  Lautier, Joel (FRA) 1/2  Pridorozhni, Aleksei (RUS) ½-½
16  Kabanov, Nikolai (RUS) 0-1  Bruzon, Lazaro (CUB) 0-1
17  Bareev, Evgeny (RUS) 1-0  Rodrigo, Vasquez (CHI) 1-0
18  Ibraev, Nurlan (KAZ) 1-0  Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar (AZE) 1-0
19  Vallejo Pons, Francisco (ESP) 0-1  Li, Shilong (CHN) 0-1
20  Arencibia, Walter (CUB) 1/2  Smirin, Ilia (ISR) ½-½
21  Harikrishna, Pentala (IND) 1/2  Yu, Shaoteng (CHN) ½-½
22  Wang, Hao (CHN) 1/2  Malakhov, Vladimir (RUS) ½-½
23  Sakaev, Konstantin (RUS) 1-0  Lima, Darcy Gustavo (BRA) 1-0
24  Cao, Sang (HUN) 1-0  Volokitin, Andrei (UKR) 1-0
25  Moiseenko, Alexander (UKR) 1-0  Kuzubov, Yuriy (UKR) 1-0
26  Iljushin, Alexei (RUS) 1/2  Sasikiran, Krishnan (IND) ½-½
27  Eljanov, Pavel (UKR) 1-0  Kudrin, Sergey (USA) 1-0
28  Ganguly, Surya Sekar (IND) 1-0  Nakamura, Hikaru (USA) 1-0
29  Zvjaginsev, Vadim (RUS) 1/2  Shulman, Yuri (USA) ½-½
30  Balogh, Csaba (HUN) 1/2  Karjakin, Sergey (UKR) ½-½
31  Timofeev, Artyom (RUS) 1/2  Agrest, Evgenij (SWE) ½-½
32  Carlsen, Magnus (NOR) 1-0  Azmaiparashvili, Zurab (GEO) 1-0
33  Krasenkow, Michal (POL) 1/2  Ammonatov, Farrukh (TJK) ½-½
34  Hamdouchi, Hichem (MAR) 0-1  Sutovsky, Emil (ISR) 0-1
35  Areshchenko, Alexander (UKR) 1-0  Stripunsky, Alexander (USA) 1-0
36  Inarkiev, Ernesto (RUS) 1/2  Khalifman, Alexander (RUS) ½-½
37  Milov, Vadim (SUI) 0-1  Pantsulaia, Levan (GEO) 0-1
38  Markus, Robert (SCG) 1/2  Gurevich, Mikhail (TUR) ½-½
39  Rublevsky, Sergei (RUS) 1-0  Dao, Thien Hai (VIE) 1-0
40  Minasian, Artashes (ARM) 0-1  Van Wely, Loek (NED) 0-1
41  Ye, Jiangchuan (CHN) 0-1  Xu, Jun (CHN) 0-1
42  Erenburg, Sergey (ISR) 1/2  Izoria, Zviad (GEO) ½-½
43  Navara, David (CZE) 1-0  Nikolic, Predrag (BIH) 1-0
44  Adianto, Utut (INA) 0-1  Vescovi, Giovanni (BRA) 0-1
45  Asrian, Karen (ARM) 1/2  Wang, Yue (CHN) ½-½
46  Leitao, Rafael (BRA) 1/2  Jakovenko, Dmitry (RUS) ½-½
47  Najer, Evgeniy (RUS) 1-0  Ghaem, Maghami Ehsan (IRI) 1-0
48  Kotsur, Pavel (KAZ) 1/2  Naiditsch, Arkadij (GER) ½-½
49  Onischuk, Alexander (USA) 1-0  Popov, Valerij (RUS) 1-0
50  Ivanov, Alexander (USA) 1-0  Granda, Julio (PER) 1-0
51  Efimenko, Zahar (UKR) 1/2  Macieja, Bartlomiej (POL) ½-½
52  Bocharov, Dmitry (RUS) 1-0  Smirnov, Pavel (RUS) 1-0
53  Movsesian, Sergei (SVK) 1/2  Paragua, Mark (PHI) ½-½
54  Zhang, Zhong (CHN) 1/2  Kobalia, Mikhail (RUS) ½-½
55  Miroshnichenko, Evgenij (UKR) 1-0  Korneev, Oleg (RUS) 1-0
56  Roiz, Michael (ISR) 1/2  Motylev, Alexander (RUS) ½-½
57  Alekseev, Evgeny (RUS) 1/2  Kazhgaleyev, Murtas (KAZ) ½-½
58  Jobava, Baadur (GEO) 1/2  Beliavsky, Alexander G (SLO) ½-½
59  Kotronias, Vasilios (GRE) 1-0  Ni, Hua (CHN) 1-0
60  Kaidanov, Gregory S (USA) 1/2  Felgaer, Ruben (ARG) ½-½
61  Istratescu, Andrei (ROM) 1/2  Ftacnik, Lubomir (SVK) ½-½
62  Sadvakasov, Darmen (KAZ) 1-0  Milos, Gilberto (BRA) 1-0
63  Kempinski, Robert (POL) 1/2  Vaganian, Rafael A (ARM) ½-½
64  Fedorov, Alexei (BLR) 1/2  Cheparinov, Ivan (BUL) ½-½
26 november Opening Ceremony   19:00
26 november Players' Meeting   21:00
27 november Round 1 Game 1 15:00
28 november Round 1 Game 2 15:00
29 november Tie-breaks   15:00
30 november Round 2 Game 1 15:00
1 december Round 2 Game 2 15:00
2 december Tie-breaks   15:00
3 december Round 3 Game 1 15:00
4 december Round 3 Game 2 15:00
5 december Tie-breaks   15:00
6 december Round 4 Game 1 15:00
7 december Round 4 Game 2 15:00
8 december Tie-breaks   15:00
9 december Round 5 Game 1 15:00
10 december Round 5 Game 2 15:00
11 december Tie-breaks   15:00
12 december Round 6 Game 1 15:00
13 december Round 6 Game 2 15:00
14 december Tie-breaks   15:00
15 december Round 7 Game 1 15:00
16 december Round 7 Game 2 15:00
17 december Tie-breaks   15:00
17 december Closing Ceremony   20:00

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