2013 Chess World Cup (Round 2)

Well folks the first round of the 2013 World cup has completed and there have been some quite interesting results. There were some very shocking results and developments in the first round including:

  • GM Alexander Moiseenko won his first round which isn’t all the shocking except for the fact that his opponent GM Ahmed Adly didn’t show up due to obligatory service in the Egyptian Army.
  • GM Jorge Cori lost to GM Teimur Radjabov which isn’t terribly surprising except Cori forfeited one game when he arrived 2 minutes late to the third tiebreak game. Personally I believe that Radjabov was lucky to escape this match and I hope he can put it behind him and play better in his future matches.

The Upsets:

  • GM Judit Polgar (2696) was knocked out by Cuban GM Isan Reynaldo Ortiz Suarez (2609).
  • GM Sergei Movsesian (2699) was knocked out by Norwegian invitee Jon Ludvig Hammer (2605)
  • GM Ian Nepomniachtchi (2723) was knocked out by Chinese GM Yi Wei (2551)
  • GM Alexander Riazantsev (2708) was knocked out by Argentinian GM Ruben Felgaer (2586)
  • GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek (2701) was knocked out by Brazilian GM Alexandr Fier (2595)
  • GM Evgeny Alekseev (2710) was upset in dramatic fashion after losing a game on time when he had mate in 3 against Indian GM Baskiran Adhiban.

Perfect Scores (ones in bold were a bit of a shock):

  • GM Levon Aronian (2813) defeated Mikhail Markov (2304) 2-0
  • GM Nikita Vitiugov (2719) defeated GM Conrad Holt (2539) 2-0
  • GM Alexander Grischuk (2785) defeated IM Igor Bjelobrk (2341) 2-0
  • GM Quang Liem Le (2702) defeated GM Oliver Barbosa (2571) 2-0
  • GM Francisco Vallejo Pons (2706) defeated GM Diego Flores (2578) 2-0
  • GM Dmitry Jakovenko (2724) defeated GM Mark Paragua (2565) 2-0
  • GM Etienne Bacrot (2714) defeated GM Simen Agdestein (2567) 2-0
  • GM Leinier Dominguez Perez (2757) defeated GM Essam El Gindy (2487) 2-0
  • GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2719) [as predicted] defeated GM Alexander Shabalov (2546) 2-0
  • GM Vladimir Kramnik (2784) defeated FM Gillan Bwalya (2310) 2-0
  • GM Ray Robson (2623) defeated GM Andrei Volokitin (2688) 2-0
  • GM Hikaru Nakamura (2772) defeated WGM Cori T., Deysi (2434) 2-0
  • GM Daniil Dubov (2624) defeated GM Sergey A. Fedorchuk (2669) 2-0

Most anticipated match ups of the second round:

1. (19) Ivanchuk Vs. (83) Robson

Vassily Ivanchuk has been a household name since he broke onto the chess scene in the late 80’s. Considered to be a genius by many he is one of the strongest players in the world and has been for the last 20 years. With chucky (as he is commonly known) comes a breathe of experience rivaled by very few in the tournament. Unfortunately with that experience comes the baggage. Chucky has that typical “Always the bridesmaid and never the bride” syndrome. He typically makes early exits from these sorts of tournaments due to his highly erratic play. This was evident from the London candidates tournament where he lost a number of games on time; then magically showed up to the last round to defeat Vladimir Kramnik and ruin his chances of becoming the challenger (a draw would have allowed Kramnik the half point he needed to win the tournament) something for which we all owe a debt of gratitude.

Ray Robson became a GM in January of 2010. Since then he has played in a number of high profile events including the US championship as well as the last iteration of the Chess World Cup. Ray is also one of the youngest players in the tournament.

Why this match matters: Like Beliavsky – Yu from the first round this is a classic pairing of youth vs experience. Ivanchuk has been plagued by poor results in these knockout events and this could be the year he manages to overcome them… or it could be the year he goes down in flames, again. Ray has a lot to prove as he is the torch barer for the next generation of elite US hopefuls.

Likely Outcome: Christ who knows at this point. Both are prone to time pressure but Robson did get past the first round by thumping his higher rated opponent 2-0. In the end I believe Chucky’s experience will outweigh Robsons youthful vigor.

2. (13) Svidler Vs. (52) Bologan

Peter Svidler is a strong player from Russia who is frequently overlooked when people talk about the best players in the world. As no stranger to this format (or the success it can bring) he won the last iteration of this tournament outright by defeating Alexander Grischuk 2.5-1.5.

Victor Bologan is a Grandmaster from Moldova. He first appeared on my radar when I purchased his autobiography (a fantastic read). I quite enjoyed his prose and his ideas on openings and chess in general. Largely regarded as one of the most “optimistic” players on the circuit he is probably one of the most tenacious players in the tournament (he is responsible for some of the greatest swindles I’ve ever seen). In 2003 he shocked the chess world by winning the Dortmund tournament ahead of Anand, Kramnik and many other well known names. Lately he hasn’t been among the elite players and his rating has fallen quite a bit since his former glory days.

Why this match matters: These two are not strangers to this sort of pressure or to each other. They have met 9 times according to my database with Svidler having the upper hand. This match is probably going to be one of the highest quality matches in this round, both of these guys are rock solid and neither give up easily.

Likely outcome: I don’t rate Bologan’s chances very high although I love the way he plays. Svidler is just too solid and his chess is just on another level at this point (despite his lackluster first round performance). Like every player though if Bologan hits his stride at the correct moment or gets a better position things could become very unpleasant for Svidler.

3. (28) Jakovenko Vs. (37) Eljanov

Dmitry Jakovenko is a Russian Grandmaster who at one point was coached by Kasparov.

Pavel Eljanov is a Ukranian Grandmaster who has won numerous events and has earned an individual silver medal at the chess olympiad.

Why this match matters: Everyone loves a good rivalry right? These two have met over the board 12 times according to my database. In those (classical) games they are tied 1-1 with 8 draws between them. The last time these two played was in the ACP World Rapid Cup in 2010 where Jakovenko defeated Eljanov playing the white side of the advanced Caro-Kann.

Likely Outcome: This one is going to be very close. I anticipate we are going to see a lot of grueling tie-breaks towards the end and the match will be decided on a blitz game. In the end I believe Jakovenko will win based on the fact that he’s got momentum on his side because of a 2-0 first round win over Paragua.

4. (26) Bacrot – (39) Moiseenko

Etienne Bacrot is the number one ranked Grandmaster in France. In 1997 he became the youngest ever Grandmaster at the age of 14 years and 2 months (a record later broken by Ruslan Ponomariov). He hasn’t really lived up to the promise of his early success. Bacrot tends to do pretty well in these events, in 2011 he lost in the third round to Teimur Radjabov and in 2009 he was knocked out in the fourth round by Ruslan Ponomariov.

Alexander Moiseenko is a Ukrainian Grandmaster. Also no stranger to this event in 2011 he was knocked out in the third round by David Navara. For whatever reason he didn’t qualify/play in the tournament in 2009 or 2007 but in 2005 he was knocked out by Loek Van Wely in the second round.

Why this match matters: Both of these guys have a lot to prove. Bacrot has to try and shake the claim that he is an underachiever and is qualified to compete at the highest level. Moiseenko needs to prove that he too can compete in the high level tournaments and deserves invitations to such events. In addition to that both players have played against each other nine times according to my database the last time being 12 days ago in Biel where Moiseenko won the rapid playoff.

Likely Outcome: I am leaning towards Bacrot in this one. He won his first match 2-0 which should give him some momentum. In addition to that Moiseenko hasn’t played a game of chess yet and his first round opponent didn’t show up to play which I believe is a bit psychologically damaging to a player. The score is currently 1-0 for Moiseenko and he beat him as recently as 12 days ago in a blitz playoff.

5. (91) Fier Vs. (102) Adhiban

Alexandr Fier is a Grandmaster from Brazil. In the first round he upset his higher rated Polish opponent Radoslaw Wojtaszek 2.5-1.5.

Baskaran Adhiban is a Grandmaster from India. In the first round he upset his higher rated Russian opponent Evgeny Alekseev in dramatic fashion when Alekseev flagged in a position where he had mate in three and a completely trivial endgame. His first round was a real nail biter and only won in the tiebreaks.

Why this match matters: You’ve probably never heard of these two and I hadn’t either before I started looking for games to discuss for this round. Both of these guys upset their higher rated first round opponents and this match is actually the lowest rated match in the round which makes it a bit unique.

Likely Outcome: I like Fier’s chances in this one. It is generally held that players from Asia (China and India especially) are usually underrated because of their lack of chances to play in international tournaments. Adhiban played good chess yesterday against a “stronger” opponent but I believe his luck will run out this round.

So there you have it, the most anticipated matches of the second round. Stay tuned for a recap and following the tournament I will do some analysis of the games of the tournament.

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