FIDE World Cup 2017: Eljanov out; 22 tiebreaks!

by Sagar Shah
9/5/2017 – The biggest news of day two was 2015 World Cup hero Pavel Eljanov bowing down to Aleksandr Lenderman with a score of 2-0. The next biggest casualty was former FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov. 42 players have qualified for the next round and the same number have been knocked out. 44 players will play in the tiebreaks on 5th of September. It is going to be exciting as we will see some big names like Karjakin, Yu Yangyi, Ivanchuk, Adams etc. in action. | Photos: Amruta Mokal

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Tiebreaks in over a third of matches

World Cup

Let's start with the following position for consideration:


As you can see, Black is completely winning. He has many ways to convert his two pawn advantage into a win. The easiest would be to get the rook to b4, then push the pawn to e4 and then just bring the king over. However, the player with the black pieces got a bit eager. He pushed the pawn to a3, obviously seeing that Rxa3 would be met with Rh3+, winning an entire rook. And the white player did take the pawn with Rxa3. And it was only then that Black realized what he had done. Rh3+ would be met with Ke4 and Rxa3 results in...


Yes, this is a trap that you would find in many basic endgame manuals, but the player who made the error is no ordinary player.

GM Basim Amin

He was Bassem Amin, winner of the Lake Sevan 2017 and Abu Dhabi Masters 2017 tournaments the highest rated player in Africa. In fact if Amin had won this game against Viktor Erdos he would have not only qualified for round two of World Cup 2017, but also become the first African to cross 2700 Elo.

Oh my God! How could Baseem miss that?

Such an error is gut wrenching in any tournament, but in the World Cup the pain is even more acute. The reason is simple: players have to struggle extremely hard for every half point. Even the World Champion had to invest over four hours to overcome his 2255 rated opponent. All the players are extremely motivated to do well, and prove to the world that they can compete with the best. It will remain to be seen if Amin is able to overcome this traumatic result and win the tiebreaks.

When the second game of round one began, four players above 2700 were trailing by one full point:

 (Clockwise from top left) Pavel Eljanov, Harikrishna Pentala, Wei Yi and Vladimir Fedoseev

If you want to succeed in a knockout format like the World Cup you have to master the art of making comebacks. If you are able to win the game when you are trailing by a full point, you not only equalize the match, but also have the momentum with you. And three out of the above four players were able to win their game and take the match into tiebreaks.

Vladimir Fedoseev was the first one to win. When I went to have lunch, I saw Vladimir standing outside the hotel, just walking around. He wasn't talking to anyone, he wasn't smoking, he was simply walking. When I asked him after the game as to what exactly was he doing in the 2 p.m. afternoon heat, he said, "I was motivating myself for the game."

A quick chat with Fedoseev after he won his game against Yusnel Bacallao


The ABC of the Caro-Kann

The ABC of the Caro Kann describes a repertoire for Black which will stand the test of time and the main ideas and themes of the opening are explained in Andrew Martin‘s usual friendly, accessable style. The Caro-Kann is a permanent defence to 1 e4!

Getting in the right frame of mind is just so very important. For a player like Harikrishna, it was imperative to cut himself off from everyone in order to prepare for this encounter. He was not to be seen in the restaurant for lunch and he came to the game just a few minutes before it was about to begin. He wanted to remain as focussed as possible and keeping public interaction to the minimum helped him get into the groove.

For Yuri Gonzalez (Hari's opponent) too this was a big day — a half point and he would have scored the biggest upset of his career

Gonzalez came to the board beore everyone else. He filled out his scoresheet, adjusted his pieces and spoke to his Cuban friends (mainly Bruzon Batista). He had played a fine game in round one to beat Harikrishna.

Harikrishna used the tried and tested Ruy Lopez and the players had a discussion in the Breyer variation. The Indian GM turned out to be better prepared and managed to outplay his opponent.

Harikrishna earns a clutch win


Wei Yi had the white pieces, did not panic, and beat his opponent Bator Sambuev to level the score

Bator Sambuev played an inspired game of chess yesterday when he beat Wei Yi. He kept up his level of play and managed to create some huge problems for the Chinese player. Wei Yi managed to trick him towards the end with some nice fireworks. Overall it was a very interesting game.


Top players advancing to round two:

Anish Giri: "I would like to improve my score against Magnus in classicial chess, but first I must do something about my -10 score against Vladimir Kramnik"

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave advances after a nice win over Muhammad Khusenkhojaev and speaks about the tournament favourites as well as draws with lower-rated opponents affecting his Elo race with Carlsen, among others

Teimour Radjabov did beat Helgi Ziska in round two, and explains why he agreed to a fifteen move draw with the white pieces in game one

First 2700 exit

The only 2700+ player to be eliminated from the tournament was Pavel Eljanov. In a must-win game he played the Dutch against Lenderman's 1.d4. He got a decent position, but the pressure of a must-win game got to him.

Pavel Eljanov is out


The other big upset of the round was Indian player S.P. Sethuraman knocking out the former FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov.

S.P. Sethuraman



A short chat with S.P. Sethuraman

Almost all the top players made it to round two. A few big names who will have to fight it out in the tiebreaks tomorrow are Sergey Karjakin, who drew both his games against youngster Anton Smirnov, Nepomniachtchi, who made a nine move draw with Mladen Palac, Yu Yangyi, who wasn't able to break through the defenses of his Iranian opponent, Michael Adams, Vassily Ivanchuk and a few more.

Other boards had just made their initial moves, but Ian is already calling the arbiter!

Anton Smirnov 

Youngster Anton Smirnov can be proud of himself that he was able to hold Sergey Karjakin in both the games and that too without too many issues. When asked what he thinks about his chances in Rapid and Blitz, the young Australian said, "He's of course stronger than me, but I think with shorter time controls, I will have more chances to beat him."

Short chat with the future star of Australian chess

Talking about young talents, there was another boy who gave a five-time world champion a run for his money. 17-year-old Yeoh Li Tian almost beat Vishy Anand and levelled the scores. Anand somehow managed to wriggle out of the mess and qualified for the next round.


Caro Kann was the interesting choice of Yeoh Li Tian to put Vishy in trouble!

A brief chat with Yeoh Li Tian

The talent is for everyone to see, but the boy needs right direction. Currently he doesn't have a full time trainer, but having one can help him progress towards his aim of becoming a world class player faster.

Magnus Carlsen managed to beat his Nigerian opponent Balogun Oluwafemi, 2-0

Fabiano Caruana managed to score 2-0 against Kenny Solomon

The tournament began with two women players and now we are down to one, as Hou Yifan managed to beat her strong opponent Kacper Piorun

Piorun is out but Wojtaszek and Duda keep the Polish flag flying!

Cori Jorge scored a mini-upset by beating Gawain Jones, who was clearly better in the game today, until a one move blunder robbed him of any tiebreak chances

Talented German player Matthias Bluebaum was able to eliminate Argentinian Mareco Sandro 

Two-time Indian national champion Karthikeyan Murali created a flutter by defeating his first 2700+ rated opponent in his chess career Francesco Vallejo Pons, sending the match to a tiebreak

Levon Aronian getting some tips about married life from Grischuk and Karjakin! Levon will be getting married in 25 days from now on 30th of September!

Ana Topuridze (2nd from left) has set up a stall outside the playing arena with chess boards collected by her father Karlo Topuridze, who was a chess lover. Next to Ana are Tatia Darsavelidze, WCM Lali Bibilashvili and Nina Gumberidze.

Players who are in tie-breaks

These are the players who reached the tiebreaks by making two draws. Total 17 games.

1  Karjakin Sergey (RUS)
1  Smirnov Anton (AUS)
2  Palac Mladen (CRO)
2  Nepomniachtchi Ian (RUS)
3  Yu Yangyi (CHN)
3  Pourramezanali Amirreza (IRI)
4  Batchuluun Tsegmed (MGL)
4  Adams Michael (ENG)
5  Ivanchuk Vassily (UKR)
5  Kazhgaleyev Murtas (KAZ)
6  Bacrot Etienne (FRA)
6  Fier Alexandr (BRA)
7  Tomashevsky Evgeny (RUS)
7  Antipov Mikhail Al. (RUS)
8  Goganov Aleksey (RUS)
8  Andreikin Dmitry (RUS)
9  Howell David W L (ENG)
9  Tari Aryan (NOR)
10  Hovhannisyan Robert (ARM)
10  Rodshtein Maxim (ISR)
11  Nisipeanu Liviu-Dieter (GER)
11  Sevian Samuel (USA)
12  Salgado Lopez Ivan (ESP)
12  Jobava Baadur (GEO)
13  Erdos Viktor (HUN)
13  Amin Bassem (EGY)
14  Adhiban B. (IND)
14  Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (VIE)
15  Dubov Daniil (RUS)
15  Fridman Daniel (GER)
16  Melkumyan Hrant (ARM)
16  Grachev Boris (RUS)
17  Lenic Luka (SLO)
17  Fressinet Laurent (FRA)

Tiebreaks where wins were exchanged:

These are players who reached a score of 1:1 by winning one game each. 5 games.

18  Wei Yi (CHN)
18  Sambuev Bator (CAN)
19  Gonzalez Vidal Yuri (CUB)
19  Harikrishna P. (IND)
20  Fedoseev Vladimir (RUS)
20  Bacallao Alonso Yusnel (CUB)
21  Karthikeyan Murali (IND)
21  Vallejo Pons Francisco (ESP)
22  Areshchenko Alexander (UKR)
22  Demchenko Anton (RUS)

Players who qualified to round two

The numbers on the right of the player are the points they scored:

1  Carlsen Magnus (NOR) 2
2  So Wesley (USA) 1.5
3  Caruana Fabiano (USA) 2
4  Kramnik Vladimir (RUS) 1.5
5  Aronian Levon (ARM) 2
6  Mamedyarov Shakhriyar (AZE) 1.5
7  Nakamura Hikaru (USA) 2
8  Vachier-Lagrave Maxime (FRA) 1.5
9  Grischuk Alexander (RUS) 2
10  Anand Viswanathan (IND) 1.5
11  Ding Liren (CHN) 1.5
12  Giri Anish (NED) 1.5
13  Svidler Peter (RUS) 2
14  Wojtaszek Radoslaw (POL) 1.5
15  Li Chao b (CHN) 1.5
16  Radjabov Teimour (AZE) 1.5
17  Le Quang Liem (VIE) 1.5
18  Navara David (CZE) 2
19  Lenderman Aleksandr (USA) 2
20  Gelfand Boris (ISR) 1.5
21  Matlakov Maxim (RUS) 1.5
22  Vitiugov Nikita (RUS) 1.5
23  Bu Xiangzhi (CHN) 2
24  Najer Evgeniy (RUS) 1.5
25  Duda Jan-Krzysztof (POL) 2
26  Wang Hao (CHN) 1.5
27  Inarkiev Ernesto (RUS) 1.5
28  Cheparinov Ivan (BUL) 1.5
29  Vidit Santosh Gujrathi (IND) 1.5
30  Artemiev Vladislav (RUS) 2
31  Sethuraman S.P. (IND) 1.5
32  Onischuk Alexander (USA) 2
33  Rapport Richard (HUN) 2
34  Motylev Alexander (RUS) 1.5
35  Kravtsiv Martyn (UKR) 1.5
36  Kovalyov Anton (CAN) 1.5
37  Cori Jorge (PER) 1.5
38  Bruzon Batista Lazaro (CUB) 1.5
39  Kuzubov Yuriy (UKR) 1.5
40  Hou Yifan (CHN) 1.5
41  Bluebaum Matthias (GER) 1.5
42  Dreev Aleksey (RUS) 2

Players who are eliminated

The numbers on the right of the player are the points they scored:

1  Balogun Oluwafemi (NGR) 0
2  Ruiz Castillo Joshua Dani (COL) 0.5
3  Solomon Kenny (RSA) 0
4  Dai Changren (CHN) 0.5
5  Cawdery Daniel (RSA) 0
6  Liu Guanchu (CHN) 0.5
7  Mollah Abdullah Al Rakib (BAN) 0
8  Khusenkhojaev Muhammad (TJK) 0.5
9  El Gindy Essam (EGY) 0
10  Yeoh Li Tian (MAS) 0.5
11  Haddouche Mohamed (ALG) 0.5
12  Dzagnidze Nana (GEO) 0.5
13  Vakhidov Jakhongir (UZB) 0
14  El Debs Felipe de Cresce (BRA) 0.5
15  Krysa Leandro (ARG) 0.5
16  Ziska Helgi Dam (FAI) 0.5
17  Kunin Vitaly (GER) 0.5
18  Hjartarson Johann (ISL) 0
19  Eljanov Pavel (UKR) 0
20  Stupak Kirill (BLR) 0.5
21  Sadorra Julio Catalino (PHI) 0.5
22  Kulaots Kaido (EST) 0.5
23  Flores Diego (ARG) 0
24  Aleksandrov Aleksej (BLR) 0.5
25  Pantsulaia Levan (GEO) 0
26  Sengupta Deep (IND) 0.5
27  Mchedlishvili Mikheil (GEO) 0.5
28  Mastrovasilis Dimitrios (GRE) 0.5
29  Delgado Ramirez Neuris (PAR) 0.5
30  Bok Benjamin (NED) 0
31  Ponomariov Ruslan (UKR) 0.5
32  Zherebukh Yaroslav (USA) 0
33  Cordova Emilio (PER) 0
34  Xiong Jeffery (USA) 0.5
35  Kovalenko Igor (LAT) 0.5
36  Akobian Varuzhan (USA) 0.5
37  Jones Gawain C B (ENG) 0.5
38  Anton Guijarro David (ESP) 0.5
39  Zhigalko Sergei (BLR) 0.5
40  Piorun Kacper (POL) 0.5
41  Mareco Sandro (ARG) 0.5
42  Bachmann Axel (PAR) 0
Time controls of the tiebreaks:

1) 2 games of 25'+10"
2) 2 games of 10'+10"
3) 2 games of 5'+3"
4) Armageddon with five minutes to white player and four for the black with no increment until move 60. Three second increment after that. White must win the game to qualify, while draw favours black.

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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