Round two has completed and the third round is going to commence this weekend. In this fast paced event it’s been tough to keep up with all the action going on. Here are some of the more shocking developments from the second round:
- In the first round game between Wang Hao and Aleksey Dreev there was a three-fold repetition claim made by Hao (who was in a technically lost ending). Unfortunately Hao did not claim the draw according to the correct procedure (as described by the international rules). Hao then made the correct claim (writing his move first and then claiming the draw to the arbiter) for which he was granted a draw based on the three-fold repetition rule.
- GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is now 4-0 in 4 games which is a crazy win streak at this level.
- GM David Navara (2715) was knocked out by the only organizing committee invitee left in the tournament GM Jon Ludvig Hammer (2599)
- GM Alexei Shirov (2696) was knocked out by the 14 year old Chinese phenom GM Yi Wei (2557)
- GM Hao Wang (2752) was knocked out by GM Aleksey Dreev (2668)
- GM Peter Leko (2737) was knocked out by Peruvian GM Julio Granda Zuniga (2679)
- GM Michael Adams (2740) was knocked out by GM Yuriy Kryvoruchko (2678)
- GM Ruslan Ponomariov (2756) was knocked out by GM Daniil Dubov (2638)
Perfect Scores (ones in bold have remained perfect throughout the tournament (4-0))
- GM Anish Giri (2734) defeated GM Chao b Li (2686) 2-0
- GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2719) defeated GM Isan Reynaldo Ortiz Suarez (2612) 2-0
- GM Vassily Ivanchuk (2733) defeated GM Ray Robson (2628) 2-0
Most Anticipated match-ups of the third round:
1. (13) Svidler Vs. (20) Radjabov
Teimour Radjabov burst onto the scene in 1999 when he won the European Under 18 Championship. In 2003 he gained real notoriety by defeating Kasparov, Anand and Ponomariov with the black pieces which made him the first player to have beaten three former and current FIDE champions with black in one year. In addition to that He defeated Kasparov who at that time hadn’t lost a classical game with white in SEVEN FUCKING YEARS AND DIDN’T LOST A SINGLE ONE AFTER THAT (just think about that for a moment). Okay enough about Kasparov, Radjabov lately has been in a dramatic slump which started at the London candidates tournament where he was beaten seven times and won only one game finishing dead last in the tournament. Since that tournament he’s been in a bit of a tailspin finishing close to last in his last three tournaments and losing a combined 59 points… which is huge at his level.
Why this match matters: This match is a grudge match in the truest sense of the word. These two have played around 30 games together the last time being in the 2013 Norway Chess Tournament (blitz) where Svidler won. This one has the potential to come down to the wire and I expect to see some good chess.
Likely outcome: I have to take Svidler again on this one. Radjabov has just been too inconsistent lately. I believe this probably won’t get past the classical games with Svidler winning 1.5-.5.
2. (1) Aronian Vs. (32)Tomashevsky
Levon Aronian is the highest rated Armenian player today. In addition to that he is the number one seed in the tournament. He became part of the chess “elite” in 2005 when he bolted up to fifth place in the world rankings. His play is dynamic and full of intrigue. He is one of the most exciting players today, described by Boris Gelfand as “the most striking player around, with the highest creative level, in terms both of openings and original ideas in the middlegame.”
Why this match matters: Yet another stylistically intriguing match-up. Aronian is the creative tactical player to the more positional and patient Tomashevsky. Like the Ramirez – Tomashevsky match this could make for some wild and exciting games. These two have met twice and both games were drawn.
Likely outcome: Aronian is a man on a mission, and lately he seems fairly indestructible. His chess is good and he has had some solid results lately, finishing first at the Alekhine Memorial. In addition to this I also believe that Aronian just knows more about chess than Tomashevsky does, and is a more universal player.
3. (6) Nakamura Vs. (102) Adhiban
Hikaru Nakamura is one of the strongest American grandmasters right now. He is known for his off-beat openings and dynamic tactical play. He is renowned and feared for his aggressive style and relentless determination. In addition to all of this he is arguably the best blitz player in the world frequently winning tournaments on ICC (the internet chess club) by wide margins.
Why this match matters: This match has all the makings of a classic match-up. You’ve got the Cinderella Adhiban going against the perennial favorite Nakamura. Adhiban has accomplished quite a lot by getting this far in the tournament. He shocked his first round opponent Alekseev in the blitz portion of the match and has proven a great deal thus far in the tournament.
Likely outcome: I think this will be the end of the road for Adhiban. He proved me wrong last round by defeating Fier, but I believe Nakamura wants this opportunity too much to let it slip by him. Nakamura is determined and I believe he is going to demolish Adhiban, maybe even 2-0. This is probably going to be one of the more lopsided matches of the round but I believe the games will be instructive.
4. (18) Giri Vs. (50) Granda-Zuniga
Anish Giri is a Dutch Grandmaster who became a grandmaster at the ripe old age of 14. Since 2009 he has rocketed to the top of the rating chard and has become an elite grandmaster. In addition to that in 2011 Giri defeated Magnus Carlsen (world number 1) with black in 22 moves.
In addition to Adhiban Julio Granda-Zuniga has been the talk of the tournament so far. He is currently the oldest participant still playing in the tournament (at age 46) and the only participant left from South America. He qualified for the tournament by winning the American Continental Championship in Bolivia (although he had already qualified by doing well in the 2012 version of the event). In the second round he defeated Peter Leko in classical play and had Leko on the ropes most of the game with black.
Why this match matters: I know many of you are getting tired of this trope but, “Youth vs Experience”. If Granda-Zuniga can pull this off he will be the most celebrated chess player on the whole continent. Both are vying for that next round and it is clear that they are both playing well.
Likely outcome: I have Giri in my final four on my bracket and honestly I don’t think that Granda-Zuniga is going to cause him too many problems (despite his amazing play up to this point). Plus old guys tend to get tired and don’t typically have that youthful vigor that is needed when playing in a grueling event like this.
5. (8) Kamsky Vs. (89) Hammer
In the 1990’s Gata Kamsky was one of the most dominant young players in the world. In 1996 due to a split with FIDE and the PCA (lead by Garry Kasparov) Kamsky played a 20-game match against FIDE champion Anatoly Karpov losing 7.5-10.5. After his match with Karpov, at the height of his career (up to that point) he baffled the chess world by deciding to stop playing chess and pursue an education. From 1996-2004 he played two classical games losing in the first round of the 1999 knockout tournament to eventual winner Alexander Khalifman. In 2004 he decided to put the pieces back together and continue his chess career. Since 2004 he has re-joined the chess elite and has been within a game or two of challenging the world champion losing to Topalov in their challenger match.
Jon Ludvig Hammer is a Norwegian Grandmaster who is the only player to be nominated by the organizing committee left in the tournament. A hometown favorite he too has eschewed professional chess in favor of educational studies and is studying economics.
Why this match matters: Gata Kamsky is an aging legend and this may be one of the last times that he is going to realistically be able to compete for a spot to challenge the world champion one final time. Hammer has proven a lot thus far in the tournament and this could be yet another chance to prove that he is the real deal and is serious about becoming a champion.
Likely outcome: I believe Kamsky is going to wrap this kid up. I don’t think their going to get out of the classical games with Kamsky winning 1.5-.5 but I’ve been wrong before. Kamsky is a one of a kind player who has accomplished a great deal in his career; he avoids complications and slowly grinds people down in complex technical positions. I just don’t think Hammer has an answer for this kind of player, but who knows; it could be “Hammer time”.
(I’m so terribly sorry for that last one). #sorrynotsorry