World Cup: Plenty of decisive results

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
7/19/2021 – More than half the games in both sections of the World Cup finished decisively on Sunday, which means plenty of players need a win in the second classical encounter of round 3 to remain in contention. In the biggest upset of the day, Haik Martirosyan (pictured) beat Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. | Photo: Eric Rosen

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Martirosyan beats Mamedyarov

The usual criticism to knockout events is that too many players tend to take the battle to the tiebreaks by signing quick draws in the classical encounters. For now, this has not been at all a problem at this year’s edition in Sochi, though, with more than half the games on the first day of action in round 3 finishing decisively.

With 19 players in the open section and 9 players in the women’s tournament forced to win on Monday to remain in contention, exciting chess is certain to be on the menu in the second classical games of the third round. Moreover, many of the players needing a win on Monday are the favourites rating-wise.

Sunday’s upsets in the open section:

  • Kacper Piorun (POL, 2608) beat Jorden van Foreest (NED, 2701)
  • Velimir Ivic (SER, 2581) beat Matthias Bluebaum (GER, 2669)
  • Amin Tabatabaei (IRA, 2613) beat Yu Yangyi (CHN, 2705)
  • Ante Brkic (CRO, 2592) beat Saleh Salem (UAE, 2682)
  • Haik Martirosyan (ARM, 2648) beat Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE, 2770) 

Amin Tabatabaei, Yu Yangyi

Amin Tabatabaei stunned Yu Yangyi | Photo: Anastasiia Korolkova

Mamedyarov played an overly ambitious move against Martirosyan instead of simplifying into an equal endgame.


Black’s structure has been compromised on the kingside, so it was high time to play a move like 23...Be2, pushing for simplifications — e.g. 24.Rxc8 Rxc8 25.Qxb6 Bxb6 26.Rb1, and the position is balanced. Shakh went for 23...e5 instead, looking for counterplay, but after 24.Bd5 White gets a massive initiative on the light squares.

The rest was easy for Martirosyan: 24.Bg5 Kd7 25.Bxf7 Rf8 26.Rxc8 Rxc8 27.Bxh5 Rf8 28.Bf3


Resignation came after 28...Qa6 29.Rc1

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Chess is tough — Shakhriyar Mamedyarov | Photo: Anastasiia Korolkova

All games - Round 3, Day 1


Replay all the games from the World Cup at

In the women’s section, the biggest surprise was given by 17-year-old American IM Carissa Yip, who defeated Georgian star Nana Dzagnidze with the black pieces. Dzagnidza actually had the better position by move 22.


Dzagnidze’s 22.Rf7 was too optimistic. Black now has 22...Nce5, not only attacking the rook but also threatening ...Nxc4. Of course, the Georgian star had foreseen this move, and her plan was to continue with 23.Rxg7+ Kxg7 24.Bd4, pinning the knight.

This is how the position looked after 24...Bc6 25.Bxe4 Nf6


Yip’s last retreating move with the knight had been a mistake, and Dzagnidze would have regained the advantage with the strong 26.Qf4 — while her 26.Bg2 was another tactical error. White’s initiative had disappeared, and Yip began to untangle her pieces. In the ensuing struggle, not only was the youngster up material, but she also had the safer king. Dzagnidze resigned on move 36.

Carissa Yip

Carissa Yip | Photo: Eric Rosen

All games - Round 3, Day 1


Replay all the games from the World Cup at

Endgame analyses

GM Karsten Müller looked at two remarkable endgames played on Sunday. First, a mistake by Nihal in a position with light-squared bishops and five pawns per side cost him the game against Dmitry Andreikin.


Nihal erred with 36.Bb1, as it allows 36...f4+, and the black king will infiltrate via d4.

In his second annotated game of the day, GM Müller shows why grabbing the knight on b4 was the losing mistake by Alexei Shirov in the following position.


What did Black need to do to save a half point instead of 41...Kxb4?


Select an entry from the list to switch between games

Dmitry Andreikin

Dmitry Andreikin was the runner-up at the 2013 World Cup | Photo: Anastasiia Korolkova


Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.


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