Chess World Cup 2017: Second Round
The Chess World Cup continues at its “No Country For Old Men” pace and after the second round only 32 players remain. The matches are more and more balanced, so much so that current world champion Magnus Carlsen is the only chess player with 4 wins in 4 games (Note from GM Rafael Leitão: this article was written before the Carlsen’s loss against Bu). Among the eliminated, we highlight the squad composed by: Viswanathan Anand, Sergey Karjakin, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Boris Gelfand.
[World Chess Cup 2017: “No Country For Old Men”]
The former world champion Vishy Anand proved to be not in his top form, sacrificing a piece unnecessarily against Anton Kovalyov, from Canada. He was duly punished for his over ambitous play.
Sergey Karjakin failed to win the Russian derby against Daniil Dubov, with his messianic 2666 rating. Boris Gelfand, also a former world championship contender and Mamedyarov (always a crowd favourite), succumbed in the rapid matches against the Chinese Wang Hao (2701) and the Ukrainian Yuriy Kuzubov (2688) respectively.
[Anand: Where did I go wrong?]
The last of the Mohicans…
The South American hope in the second round was all on the shoulders of the Peruvian Jorge Cori (2648). The “last of the Mohicans” played well in the classical games, with two draws against Alexander Grischuk (2788). However, unfortunately for Cori, in the rapid matches Grischuk won by 1,5 – 0,5.
The French Defense in the World Cup!
With the absence of Brazilians at this stage, a small part of the Academy staff adopted the German Matthias Bluebaum (2633) to cheer. The reason is simple, he only plays the French Defense! The idol of the fanatics for this opening held, with the French, the GMs Sandro Mareco (2649) and Wesley So (2792). However, to the sadness of those who would like to see more “French” in the World Cup, Bluebaum was eliminated by So in the blitz games.
[Matthias Bluebaum, French on them!]
Hou Yifan’s Strong Performance
Also striking was the Chinese chess player, Hou Yifan (2670). She proved tha facing the best players in the world in equal terms is not just a mission for Judit Polgár. The 23-year-old Chinese fought hard against Levon Aronian (2802) from Armenia. After four draws, the elimination came only in the blitz games.
[Hou Yifan fought well against the feared Aronian]
The Russian Empire
It should also be noted that the Russian domination is still alive in the international chess scenario. Even though they don’t have having the current world champion, Russia has the highest number of chess players among the top 32. In all, nine Russians are in the competition. A weight cast consisting of none other than: Kramnik, Svidler, Grischuk, Nepomniachtchi, Artemiev, Fedoseev, Najer, Matlakov and Dubov.
[Were the Chinese haunted? How many Russians around here…]
The fight goes on! Who do you think will prevail by the end of the World Cup?
Written by Rafael Leitão Chess Academy on 09/09/2017
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