Armenian Lion vs Chinese Dragon and tour of Tbilisi

by Sagar Shah
9/23/2017 – Both of them have qualified for the Candidates 2018 by reaching the finals of the World Cup 2017. But as Aronian put it, "The main goal has been achieved, how about a little bonus!" Winning a major event like FIDE World Cup would be a great addition to the resume. We have the statistics of previous encounters between Aronian and Ding Liren and also a poll for you to let us know your opinion. Finally, do not miss the rest day pictures of the Jvari monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral.

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Levon Aronian vs Ding Liren

World Cup

Format of the finals

The finals of the World Cup 2017 has a different format from the other rounds. Instead of the usual two classical games, we will witness four. And in case of a 2-2 tie, the match will go into the tiebreaks on 27th of September. Levon Aronian has the white pieces in game one. The winner takes home USD 120,000 (net 96,000) and the runner-up receives 80,000 (net 64,000). 

Make your predictions

A word of caution: Ding Liren after his win against Wesley So told us that he saw the predictions of his semi-final match and was not pleased to see only 25% of people thought he could win! Of course, the Chinese player proved himself by playing some fantastic chess. Noting his form in this tournament and his past record against the Armenian grandmaster, do you still think Aronian is the favourite?


A look back

When Ding Liren finished his semi-final game and was interviewed by ChessBase, the game between Aronian and MVL was in progress. Ding Liren was asked,"Who is it that you would prefer to play against in the finals?", he replied, "Against Aronian I have a plus score, while against MVL I have done very badly." It was obvious that he preferred to play against Aronian. And this is how well Ding has done against Aronian:

Ding Liren has three wins — all in classical chess, against Aronian's none, and four draws

Levon Aronian won a thriling contest against MVL in the Armageddon and qualified to the finals. Of course, we let Aronian know Ding Liren's thoughts about his final opponent. To which Levon Aronian said, "It's true I have a bad score against Ding Liren, but this is a chance to improve it!"

The two players and their path to the finals

Replay all games between Ding and Aronian


Rest day and a small tour of Tbilisi

The 18th of September was a rest day at the World Cup 2017, in Tbilisi. A rest day after 15 days of work! Everyone was relieved including the players, arbiters, organizers, journalists and I guess to some extent even the viewers all around the world. It was a perfect day to refuel your energy levels and get ready for the last week of the event.

Zurab Azmaiparashvili and his team organized an excursion. The players were also invited, but seeing the things that are at stake here, all of them decided to stay back at the hotel and keep their rhythm intact. You could see them going to the gym, or eating their meals along with their seconds. So a few arbiters, FIDE officials and journalists decided to go on the excursion. After all, these are the people who have worked non-stop for 15 days to ensure that tournament functions smoothly. They did deserve a break!

A sixteen seater bus was arranged for the trip

On the way you could see the Tbilisi reservoir from the bus

That's how the Tbilisi reservoir looks on the google maps

The Tbilisi sea or Tbilisi reservoir is an artificial lake in the vicinity of Tbilisi that serves as a reservoir. The lake has a length of 8.75 km and a width of 2.85 km. It was opened in 1953 and has become a popular recreation spot. It is planned to develop the Tbilisi sea into a recreational park with various sports facilities.

The first stop was the Jvari Monastery — the place where Christianity originated in Georgia in the 6th century A.D.

FIDE Vice President D.V. Sundar, experienced arbiter Ashot Vardepetyan and chief arbiter Tomasz Delega enjoy a relaxed conversation

Looking down from the Jvari Monastery

Saint Nino

The Jvari Monastery stands on the rocky mountaintop at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, overlooking the town of Mtskheta, which was formerly the capital of the Kingdom of Iberia.

According to traditional accounts, on this location in the early 4th century Saint Nino, a female evangelist credited with converting King Mirian III of Iberia to Christianity, erected a large wooden cross on the site of a pagan temple. The cross was reportedly able to work miracles and therefore drew pilgrims from all over the Caucasus.

A small church was erected over the remnants of the wooden cross in c.545 named the "Small Church of Jvari".

Inside, you will find an icon of Saint Nino, widely revered by the more than 80% of the people in Georgia who are Christians.

The present building, or "Great Church of Jvari", is generally held to have been built between 590 and 605 by Erismtavari Stepanoz I.

Sophie, our tour guide, explains the significance of Jvari and mythological stories related to it. The audio is affected due to the wind, but you can enjoy the view!

Next up was Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. This view of the cathedral is from the Jvari Monastery.

The road leading up to Svetitskhoveli Cathedral has some nice shops selling local products

Blades and artistic cups to drink wine

Clothes, footwear and dolls made up of wool

Local honey and jam

Everyone was quite excited to buy the Churchkhela

Churchkhela is a traditional Georgian candle-shaped candy. The main ingredients are grape must, nuts and flour. Almonds, walnuts, hazel nuts and sometimes raisins are threaded onto a string, dipped in thickened grape juice or fruit juices and dried in the shape of a sausage.

The Svetitskhoveli Cathedral

The Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, literally the Cathedral of the Living Pillar, is an Eastern Orthodox cathedral located in the historic town of Mtskheta, Georgia, to the northwest of the Georgian capital Tbilisi. A masterpiece of the Early Middle Ages, Svetitskhoveli is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It is currently the second largest church building in Georgia, after the Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Sophie explains the history of the Svetitskhoveli cathedral

Did you know: the famous chess couple Sopiko Guramishvili and Anish Giri married each other at the Svetitskhoveli cathedral! Here's their wonderful wedding video, in which the cathedral is seen in ample measure:

The wedding video of Anish and Sopiko. In case you love Bollywood music, you would surely like to see the same video with a different background song.

At the lunch table, we are taught how to eat a Khinkali!

Khinkali is a Georgian dumpling, which originated in the Georgian mountain regions of Pshavi, Mtiuleti and Khevsureti. Varieties of khinkali spread from there across different parts of the Caucasus. The fillings of khinkali vary with the area. 

The full group of chess officials, journalists and organizers who went to the excursion


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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