Tough Part 2 of the first round of the Chess World cup ended in 3 African fates namely: lose on aggregate and you pack and go, win on aggregate and you proceed to round 2, draw on aggregate and you go into tie breakers, it was the latter that attracted a lot of attention and the one that affected Africa most.
Something to make Africa smile, Super GM Hikaru Nakamura has been dragged to tie breaks by the Algerian menace GM Bellahcene Bilel (2540), where the latter has to answer a few questions in the rapid tie-breaker. Their drawn second game, which was contested in the Caro Kann defence was completely devoid of violence; it was such a short movie of only 18 moves.
According to the tournament rules, the players on tie breaks will play two 25-minute time control rapid games with a 10 minute increment per move from move one, and the one with the better score will scrape through to round 2. If the rapid ends in a tie again, then they will venture into a 10 minutes blitz tie breaker. If the 10 minutes blitz fails to separate them, they will venture into a 5 minutes blitz and if the 5 minute blitz also fails, then 1 sudden death game will follow.
In the game of good hope for Africa, Africa’s darling GM Dr Amin Baseem welcomed GM Tabatabaei M.amin’s (2642) queen pawn opening with the Grunfeld defense to trod in drawish lines all the way to the drawn 36th position. The draw drags them into the tie breaker as it means their encounter ended in a one all deadlock. Last World Cup, GM Dr Amin Baseem was ousted by GM Erdos Victor of Hungary by means of the tie breaker in the first round.
In the other game, wounded IM FY Rokotomahoro Antenaina of Madagascar, who was a debutant in this event, couldn’t survive the jaws of the “Shark” GM Shakhriyar Mamedyerov for the second time to concede 2 -0 to the GM. This means the Malagasy Radar has been booted out of the World cup but people have commended him for a gallant fight put up. “We can even offer to help him carry his luggage at the Airport”, commented one of his fans.
IM Daniel Anwuli of Nigeria got wounded again, this time in a Ruy Lopez parade with GM Vachier Lagrave Maxime of France. It was a rather quiet Ruy Lopez until move 19, when he started responding to serious positional and tactical questions. But it was the outside passed pawn that was created that finished him off. Nevertheless, people have commended him for a promising World Cup debut. Overall, he has lost 2-0 to the menace from Paris.
While in the game of the day, GM Essam Elgindy versus defending champion GM Levon Aronian, Elgindy marshaling the white pieces enjoyed an utopia position for most part of the middle game, before Aronian played (27)…Rxg4 , exchanging his Rook for a Knight to give Elgindy’s position some discomfort. But perhaps that was not a big problem, the big problem was gonna be his isolated pawns which were clearly a positional burden to look after. As predicted, it was this that killed him, and sent him packing from the World cup from losing by an aggregate of 1.5 to 0.5.
Africa former champion, Ahmed Adley had to wait until a marathon of moves to know his fate. His draw with grandmaster GM Ivan Cheparinov (2670) meant that the aggregate of their match was 1.5 -0.5 in favour of GM Ivan. This means the Africa Champion has been eliminated from the World Cup. Adley has been to the World Cup since 2007, when he was World Junior Champion.
In upsets of the first round so far, GM Radek Wojtaszek (2739) has been ousted by lower rated John Sebastian Christiasen(2558) after going down 2-0.
We may have a lot more casualties after the tie breakers which will be played tomorrow.
The FIDE World cup will go on up to 4th October. With the absence of the world’s highest rated player, world champion, Magnus Carlsen and his number 2 Fabiano Caruana, Chinese chess cyborg Ding Liren is the highest rated player at this year’s World Cup.
All rounds will be starting at 3 PM local time.
In last World Cup 2 years ago, Grandmaster Levon Aronian of Armenia won.