Round 1 - Game 2. Fast and furious action on day 2 in the world cup.

28 chess matches will be decided tomorrow in the tie-breaks

Tuesday, July 13th, 2021 – This afternoon at 3 pm sharp, FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich inaugurated the second day of the World Chess Cup, performing the initial move of the game between GM Marie Sebag (France) and Penelope Drastik (Australia).

A few minutes earlier, Dvorkovich had presented Mr. Sami Khader with the “Vasily Smyslov” award for the best academy in the world, the FIDE Asia Chess Academy, located in Amman (Jordan). In addition to Sami, several other players and coaches have also received awards for their achievements and results during 2020-2021.

They are Berik Akkozov (from Kazakhstan), Melikset Khachiyan (USA), Ye Jiangchuan, Ni Hua and Xie Jun (all from China), Yakov Geller and Sergey Zagrebelny (both from Russia) and Rustam Kasimdzhanov (from Uzbekistan).

President Dvorkovich was kind enough to speak to the Press Officer of the event for the FIDE Youtube Chess Channel, in which he spoke highly of the World Cup’s organization.

But let’s dive in on the chess action this afternoon which has been fast and furious, as some of the favourites who lost the first of the two games of their match have had to step it up to make a come-back on the scoreboard and force the rapid games tie-break.

Perhaps the most significant result was GM Vadim Zvjaginsev’s (2608) on-demand win against IM Ravi Haria (2440), who had beaten him in the first game. The key moment of the game was move thirty-three: instead of 33… Bf4? which allowed 34.Nf5! (with the strong idea Ne7-g6), the Englishman would have been able to seal the deal and move on to the next round with the simple 33… Rg8, threatening… Rxe6 as well as… b3.

A tough moment for Haria who will have to get this game out of his mind quickly to compete at 100% tomorrow for a chance to advance.

But undoubtedly the biggest surprise of the day in the open group was the victory of IM Chitumbo Mwali from Zambia, rated only 2281, who defeated Armenian GM Haik Martirosyan (2632), tying the match and forcing tomorrow’s tie-break.

In a very complicated position, with both kings in troubled waters, the Armenian player went onto the attack with 33… Ne4? trying to create some threats against Mwali’s monarch. The Zambian remained calm and sensibly played 34.Re2!, parrying the threats of his opponent (the key is 34… Qe5 35.Qd4! winning), netting a piece and the game.

A huge achievement for the African player and a reminder that there is no easy game in the World Cup!

In the Open Cup, a total of 59 players have advanced directly to the second round, while another 38 players (19 boards) will battle it out tomorrow in the tie-breaks. Among those who have defeated their first-round opponents by a clear 2-0 score I would highlight the young Norwegian GM Aryan Tari (rated 2639), GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov (2634) of Uzbekistan and GM Samuel Sevian (2647) of the United States of America.

Among those also showing good form is tough Indian player GM B. Adhiban (rated 2660), especially in the second game, alongside the strong Ukrainian GM Yuriy Kuzubov (2653) and the veteran Russian player GM Alexander Motylev (2639), who should also be mentioned.

However, most of the favourites who won their first game have played it safe today to secure the win in the match and move on to the next stage of the tournament, where they are already going to play in very high-level match-ups. The young Indian wonder boy GM Praggnanandhaa R has taken this approach, although he did have some winning chances in the second game.

In the Women's World Cup, the two favourites who had a bad day yesterday, GM Anna Ushenina and WGM Pauline Guichard, have made a huge comeback today, forcing the tiebreaks and maybe ascertaining a certain psychological advantage.

However, the Ukrainian WGM Nataliya Buksa (2413) will have to wait until tomorrow to try to advance to the second round, after losing her game to WIM Sabrina Latreche (2076) this afternoon.

The player representing Algeria severely punished Black’s tactical error 22… Nc5? with the decisive central advance 23.d5! winning piece. A big surprise at a crucial moment of the tournament!

A total of 9 matches (18 players) will be decided at the tie-breaks tomorrow but another 38 players have already advanced directly to the second round, some of them endorsing their opponents a clear 2-0 score. Some faces to look out for among them are WGM Carissa Yip (USA 2430), Laura Unuk (Slovenia 2407) and Olga Badelka (Belarus 2418).

However, the main surprise result in my opinion was WIM Turmunkh Munkhzul (Mongolia 2278) who defeated her strong opponent WGM Marina Brunello (2379) from Italy by 2-0 in one of the big upsets of the first round in the women’s event.

The full pairings tree and day-by-day results can be found on the World Cup website along with the tie-break rules for tomorrow.

Finally, it should be noted that reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen has won the Gligoric award for fair play, which will be given to him on Thursday before the start of his game in the second round.

About the tournament:

Scheduled to take place from July12th (Round 1) to August 6th (finals), the 2021 FIDE World Cup will gather together in Sochi (Russia) 309 of the world’s best chess players, with 206 of them playing in the Open World Cup (and 103 participants in the first ever Women’s World Cup.

The top two finishers in the tournament, aside from World Champion Magnus Carlsen who is also participating, will qualify for the 2022 Candidates Tournament, in addition to winning the 110.000 USD first prize (80.000 USD for the runner-up).

Organisers: International Chess Federation (FIDE), Chess Federation of Russia, Russian Ministry of Sports, and Government of Krasnodar Krai.
Gazprom – general partner
Nornickel – general partner
PhosAgro – general partner
Chessable – event’s partner
Rosatom– event’s partner
Aeroflot – CFR’s partner
Educational centre “Sirius”