Levon Aronian wins the FIDE World Cup 2017 Print
Wednesday, 27 September 2017 16:51

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Closing Ceremony of the FIDE World Cup 2017

The closing ceremony took place in the Biltmore Hotel in Tbilisi on 27th of September 2017. The players and guests were greeted by the Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia Tariel Khechikashvili, the ECU President Zurab Azmaiparashvili, the President of Georgian Chess Federation Giorgi Giorgadze, the former Women’s World Chess Champion Nona Gaprindashvili and the FIDE Vice President Gulkiz Tulay. The FIDE Vice President Gulkiz Tulay declared the World Cup closed.

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President of Georgian Chess Federation Giorgi Giorgadze

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Chief Arbiter Tomasz Delega

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Former Women’s World Chess Champion Nona Gaprindashvili

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The FIDE Vice President Gulkiz Tulay declared the World Cup Closed.


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Levon Aronian wins the FIDE World Cup 2017


The tie-break games of the World Cup final match between Levon Aronian (Armenia) and Ding Liren (China) were played in Tbilisi on 27th September.

Playing the first game with Black pieces, Ding Liren misplayed the opening and Levon Aronian got the better position. This time the Armenian Grandmaster didn’t let his opponent escape and won the game in 30 moves.

Ding Liren had to win on demand in the second rapid game and he got a clear advantage out of the opening.

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Levon Aronian admitted that 21…Nef6 was a bad move but he thought it was his best chance to survive. It turned out Ding Liren was confused by it and he missed the precise way to keep the advantage. Suddenly the tables were turned and Levon Aronian won the second game of the tie-break match too.

The final score became 4-2 and Levon Aronian won the FIDE World Cup for the second time (he was the winner of the World Cup in 2005).

Both finalists have qualified for the FIDE Candidates Tournament, which will take place in March 2018.

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The score is level after four games of the final


The fourth game of the World Cup final match between Levon Aronian (Armenia) and Ding Liren (China) was played in the Biltmore Hotel in Tbilisi.

Ding Liren had White pieces but same as in the second game of the match it was Levon Aronian, who played for the victory. The Armenian Grandmaster managed to surprise his opponent and Ding Liren was in trouble from the early stage of the game. Levon Aronian transferred the game into the ending with extra pawn but Ding Liren was defending well and managed to hold his opponent for a draw.

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In a post game interview Ding Liren explained he was happy to find the idea with 41.Be4 and was sure the position is drawish after that. The Chinese Grandmaster admitted he had problems to fight for advantage in all classical games against Levon Aronian and he hopes to play better with shorter controls on the tie-break.

The score in the match remains level.

The final tie-break match and the Closing Ceremony will take place on September 27. Levon Aronian will have white pieces in the first rapid game.

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According to the regulations of the World Cup tiebreaks two rapid games are played at a rate of 25 min+10 seconds. If the score is still tied two accelerated rapid games are played with a time control of 10 min + 10 sec. If the score is still deadlocked two blitz games are then played at 5 min + 3 sec. Finally, if a winner has still not been determined a sudden death Armageddon game takes place.

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After the third game the score is tie


The third game of the World Cup final match was played in the Biltmore Hotel in Tbilisi on 25th of September.

Playing with White pieces Levon Aronian got pleasant position out of the opening. There were many different perspective lines for White which would put long-term slight pressure on Black.

After the game the Armenian Grandmaster was not sure about his decision to play 21.Rc2. He could have tried to keep pressure by playing Bf3 or Ra4-Rb4.

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When all rooks left the board the position with opposite color Bishops and Queens became completely level and after 30 moves the players agreed on a draw.

The fourth game will be played on 26th of September at 3 pm local time. Ding Liren has White pieces.

The final match consists of four games with classical time control. If the score after four games is tied, the winner will be determined on tie-break with quicker time controls on 27th of September.

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Ding Liren escaped in the second game of the final


The second game of the final match of the World Cup finished in a draw after 5 and half hours of play.

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Levon Aronian managed to equalize with Black pieces against Ding Liren and after most of the pieces were traded it seemed the players were about to sign a peace. Surprisingly Ding Liren went for a very risky line 30. Ncb3 allowing Aronian to have a dangerous pass pawn on a5 in the ending.

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Ding Liren underestimated Black’s chances in that ending even though he saw the idea b6-ba. Levon Aronian slowly outplayed his opponent but in the time trouble didn’t chose the most precise way to win the game.

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“Of course we know it must be winning, but I didn’t find a clear way for him…I was lucky today,” commented Ding Liren on his miraculous escape.

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After 53…Nb3 54. Bb3 Kb3 55.Nd2 Kb4 56. Ne4 Kc4 and Black’s King goes to the King’s side to grab all pawns. Levon chose another winning option 53…Nf3 instead but lost his track after 59…Ke5 60. Nd5 Bf5 allowing white pieces to regroup and take a-pawn. After 75 moves the game ended in a draw.

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The first game of the final finished in a draw


The final match of the FIDE World Cup started in the Biltmore Hotel in Tbilisi on 23rd of September.

Levon Aronian (Armenia) and Ding Liren (China) are competing for the first place in the World Cup in a 4-game match with classical time control (90 minutes for 40 moves, then 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with 30 seconds added after each move).

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The Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia Tariel Khechikashvili made the first move in the first game of the final.

If the match ends in a tie, the winner will be determined on tie-break on 27th of September.

The organizers moved the playing venue to a beautiful and historical place in the Biltmore Hotel. Located on Rustaveli Avenue, the city’s main thoroughfare, the hotel occupies the historical Soviet-era building IMELI (the branch of Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute), constructed in the 1930s, and a 32-floor skyscraper, built in the 2010s.

It housed the Parliament of Georgia from 1992 to 1995. It was where the Georgia’s first post-Soviet constitution was adopted on 25 August 1995. Later, it served as the Constitutional Court of Georgia and the Central Election Commission office.

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Many spectators came to visit the first game of the final match which ended in a draw after three and half hours of play.

Playing with White pieces Levon Aronian was not expecting the line 7…d4 from his opponent. “My reaction was a safe one but I knew there was nothing for White there. I think I managed to create some chances but then perhaps the idea with b4 is not correct,” said Levon after the game.

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One of the critical moments of the game. The Armenian Grandmaster had a feeling that after 29.f5 he should be better but after careful consideration he realized that Black had at least a draw. The line which Levon was calculating during the game would lead to an equal position: “29. f5 ef 30. Nf5 Rf7 31. Nd4 Rg4 32.Nb5 Ne6 33. d4 c6 34. Ra3 cb 35. d5 looks very interesting but Black just can ignore it and play 35…Rf2”.

The second game of the final match will start at 3 pm local time on 24th of September.

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Ding Liren and Levon Aronian proceed to the final


The semifinal tie-breaks started with 2 matches on the 21st of September at 3 pm local time.


Ding Liren-Wesley So

In the first rapid game Ding Liren had absolutely winning position against Wesley So.

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In the current position White Knight is pinned and Black does not need to force anything but can improve the position of his King. Ding Liren let his opponent to regroup his pieces and Wesley So managed to survive.

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Ding Liren and his coach could not hide their disappointment after the first rapid game.

The Chinese Grandmaster felt frustrated after the first game and was surprised when So accepted his draw offer after 9 moves in the second rapid game. He thought Black had already slightly better position and So could have tried to use his psychological advantage.

During the long break Ding Liren came back to his room and prepared first for the second game with 10min+10sec time control in case if he needs to win on demand and only after that he checked some lines with Black for the first game. The Chinese Grandmaster defeated the American in the first game and it was Wesley So who had to equalize the score. In the second game Ding Liren played very confidently and didn’t give his opponent any chance to play for victory. After 46 moves the game finished in a draw and Wesley So was eliminated from the World Cup.


Maxime Vachier-Lagrave – Levon Aronian

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave outplayed Levon Aronian in the first rapid game.

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Qe6! The final position looks really nice.

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Levon Aronian won the second game game on demand and their match went to the games with 10min+10sec time control which finished also in a draw. The fate of the match was not decided in blitz as well. The evaluation in the first blitz game changed two times from winning for Levon, to winning for Maxime until the game eventually finished in a draw. The French Grandmaster was pressing in the second game but it finished in a draw too.

The first “sudden death” game of the World Cup became a reality.
Levon had White pieces and 5 minutes in the last game of this dramatic match and had to win the game, while Maxime had 4 minutes and would win the match in case of a draw. “You have to be lucky. There are no recipes!” commented Levon Aronian on his victory in Armageddon. He also added it would be a disaster for him to be eliminated on the Independence Day of Armenia.

Ding Liren and Levon Aronian will play in the final of the World Cup. Both of them have qualified for the FIDE Candidates tournament which will take place on March 2018. The winner of the Candidates tournament will play in the World Championship Match against Magnus Carlsen. 22nd of September is a free day.

The final of the World Cup will be held in the Biltmore Hotel in Tbilisi. Levon Aronian has White pieces in the first game which starts at 3 pm local time on 23rd of September.

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Both matches are tied after two games of the semifinal


In the return game of the semifinal clash Levon Aronian and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave agreed for a draw after 19 moves and extended the match to the tie-break.

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Playing White Ding Liren got better position out of the opening against Wesley So. After queens exchange the Chinese Grandmaster slowly tried to increase the advantage but his opponent was defending well.

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In this position and one move earlier Ding Liren could have tried to break through with f5. It`s hard to say if the ending is winning but White has definitely more chances.

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During the post-game interview Ding Liren said he missed Black’s idea 32…Nb8 and Nb6 and thought the position was drawish after that. However, there was an interesting tactical option, which he didn’t consider: 37.Rh8 Rc7 38. Rd8 Rc5 39.e5 f5 40. Rb8! And Black has to play 40…Rc8 immediately or after Rc3. White has better chances in the rook ending. Ding Liren chose 37.Rc6 instead and the game finished in a draw.

The matches are tied, and the outcome will be determined on tie-breaks on 21st of September.

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Two draws in the first day of the semifinal


The semifinal matches of the World Cup started in the Hualing Hotel on 19th of September.

Four players continue competing in the World Cup: Levon Aronian (Armenia) had white pieces against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France), while Wesley So (USA) played with White against Ding Liren (China).

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Levon Aronian and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave followed the theoretical line in Grunfeld which both of them obviously knew very well and played pretty fast.

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Surprisingly, Levon Aronian played 24.Rbc1 and left his pawn on e4 undefended. After the game the Armenian Grandmaster admitted he simply blundered a pawn but even though the position remained balanced. Few moves later players agreed on a draw.

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Wesley So was pressing the most of the game against Ding Liren. The Chinese Grandmaster offered him a draw on the 14th move but Wesley decided to play “a few more moves”. After queens exchange he got a pleasant position and the game continued. Wesley could not figure out if he had a chance to win a-pawn and decided to break through on the King’s side. The American Grandmaster was not sure if he chose the right moment to play 38.g5, as according to his estimation, his opponent got enough counterplay to make a draw.

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Wesley So considered 41.Rb3 but he thought it was still drawish after 41…ab 42. gf gf 43.Kc3 or 43.Rg7. He was sure Black had enough counterplay on the second rank. However, it seems Rb3 was the best chance for Wesley So to continue the game, as Ding Liren has to play very precisely. 43 Rg7 Rh2 44.Rc3 Ra2 45.Rc7 Kd8! (45.Kb8 loses) 46. Rc6 Rab2 was one of the possible lines.

The second game of semi-final will be played at 3 p.m. local time on 20th of September.

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Round 5 Tie-breaks: MVL defeats Svidler


The fifth tie-break of the World Cup was played in Hualing Hotel on September 17. Only two players Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Peter Svidler returned to the venue to determine the fourth semi-finalist. The first rapid game ended in a draw and Vachier-Lagrave won the second one.

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In the first rapid game Maxime got substantial advantage but could not make it work. He pressed as much as he could but the Russian Grandmaster defended precisely and made a draw.

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70…Ng4! and after 71.Kg4 Re4 72. Rf8 Kh7 73. Rf8 Kh7 74. Kg4 Re4 75.Rf4 Rf4 White has no chances to win.

In the second rapid game Peter Svidler went for the same line which happened in the first classical game of the match. In a post-match interview Maxime called it more or less dubious one. He was happy to find a move 21…Kc7 which stopped all threats of White and few moves later he got a pleasant endgame. He felt Peter could have defended better but admitted that with knight on e3 his position should be dominant.

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September 18 is the tournament’s free day. The first game of the semi-finals will be played on 19th of September.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave will play against Levon Aronian, Wesley So will face Ding Liren.

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Round 5 Game 2: Aronian, So and Ding proceed to the semifinal


The second games of the World Cup Quarterfinals were played on September 16. After the tense fights Vassily Ivanchuk, Richard Rapport and Vladimir Fedoseev leave the tournament.

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Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Peter Svidler made a draw in the second game as well as in the previous one and extended the match to the tie-breaks.

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Ding Liren became the first semifinalist of the World Cup after his victory over Richard Rapport in the second game. The Chinese Grandmaster was prepared in the opening until 9.Re1. In a post-game interview he called Black’s 9…a6 as a very strange move: “Perhaps the idea behind this move was to wait until I play 10.Qc2 and to take my bishop on d2 after. I realized what his plan was and played 10.Ne5. I think he should have played 12…c5 instead of 12…d6 which is too passive.“

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“17.e5 is a critical moment of the game and I spent a lot of time there. I didn`t calculate 18…cd as I thought I was winning after 20.Qe4 immediately but missed his answer Qc6. Fortunately the position was still much better for me and I could play very simply. The rook endgame was very unpleasant for him,“ explained Ding Liren.

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Levon Aronian held Vassily Ivanchuk for a draw and won the match. The Ukrainian tried hard to equalize the score on demand but was never close to do so. “Such games are always tense. I knew I had to have the intensity to pass through”, said the winner of the match.

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It seemed the game So – Fedoseev will finish relatively quickly in a draw as many pieces were traded right after the opening and the position looked rather simple. According to Wesley So, his opponent started to play too aggressively and after 21…g5 he found the idea h4 and felt he had better position after that. The American Grandmaster transferred the game into the rook&bishop ending and tried to figure out how to break through. Under the time pressure he realized the bishop ending should be winning for him and was happy to convert his advantage into the full point.

Wesley So will face Ding Liren in the semifinal, while Levon Aronian will play with the winner of the match Svidler – Vachier-Lagrave.

The tie-break between Peter Svidler and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave will take place in the Hualing Hotel on 17th of September.

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Round 5 Game 1: Aronian defeats Ivanchuk


The Quarterfinals of the World Cup started in the Hualing Hotel in Tbilisi on the 15th of September. Eight players continue their quest for the places in the final. They are to play short two-game matches with the classical time control. If the match is tied 1-1, it is continued on the tie-break with quicker time controls.

The only decisive game happened in the match Aronian-Ivanchuk. Playing White the Armenian Grandmaster was better prepared in the opening and his opponent realized he is in trouble already after move 10.

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The Ukrainian spent 42 minutes on his move 10…c5 and finally played it. In a post-game interview Aronian called this critical move as a bit suicidal.

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According to Aronian, by that moment Ivanchuk realized he misplayed the opening because Black is not able to play c5. If Ivanchuk doesn’t play c5 he was planning to continue with Ne5, Rd1, Bg5 with very pleasant position for White. It would have been more practical for Black to proceed with passive 10…Nf6 but It was principal decision as Black has done everything to play c5 and if he doesn’t play it he is still in trouble.

Black’s position was getting worse and after 24 moves Vassily Ivanchuk decided to resign.

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The games Fedoseev-So and Rapport-Ding Liren finished peacefully rather quickly.

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Peter Svidler managed to get a pleasant advantage with White against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave but the French Grandmaster was defending precisely and after three hours of play the game also finished in a draw.

The second game of quarterfinals will be played at 3 p.m. local time on 16th of September. Vassily Ivanchuk needs to win on demand with white pieces against Levon Aronian if he wants to continue the match on tie-breaks.

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Round 4 Tie-breaks


The fourth round tie-breaks started with 5 matches on the 14th of September at 3 pm local time. After two rapid games 4 encounters were over.

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Georgian chess legends Maia Chiburdanidze and Nona Gaprindashvili as well as many chess fans came to support their local hero Baadur Jobava but his opponent Wesley So won the first game and claimed draw through threefold repetition in the second one to win the match.

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Richard Rapport drew the first game and defeated Evgeniy Najer in the second one.

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Two Russian players Peter Svidler and Vladimir Fedoseev won their matches with 2:0 score. Maxim Rodstein had clear advantage in the second game. He was close to equalize the score in the match against Fedoseev for the second time but missed his chances.

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Peter Svidler checkmated his opponent’s king on the middle of the board in the first game and Bu Xiangzhi didn’t manage to create real problems for the Russian in the second rapid game of the match.

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Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Alexander Grischuk drew two rapid games and the match was decided with 10 min +10 sec time control. The French Grandmaster outplayed the Russian in the first game but Alexander was very close to equalize the score in the second encounter. After the end of the game both players agreed that White should have played 44.h3 in order not to allow Black to push their pawn on g3. After 94 moves the game finished in a draw and Alexander Grischuk was eliminated from the tournament.

8 players remain in the World Cup.

1/4 pairings: Aronian – Ivanchuk, So – Fedoseev, Ding Liren – Rapport, Svidler – Vachier-Lagrave.

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Round 4 Game 2: Vassily Ivanchuk, Levon Aronian and Ding Liren are in quarterfinals


The second games of the fourth round of the World Cup were completed in the Hualing Hotel in Tbilisi.

Vassily Ivanchuk defeated Anish Giri, the Chinese derby finished with a victory for higher rated Ding Liren, Levon Aronian outplayed Daniil Dubov.

Therefore, Aronian will play against Ivanchuk in the next round, while Ding Liren will know his opponent after the tie-break match between Najer and Rapport.

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The games Grischuk-Vachier-Lagrave and Svidler-Bu finished relatively quickly and the fate of their matches will be decided tomorrow. The second games between So – Jobava and Rapport - Najer lasted longer but the outcome was the same – both matches will continue with tie-breaks too. Maxim Rodshtein struck back in the match against Vladimir Fedoseev after his loss in the first game.

After his victory in the previous game Vassily Ivanchuk had a winning position in the second encounter against Anish Giri. However, he decided to force a draw and became the first quarter finalist in the World Cup.

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Ding Liren got a pleasant advantage against Wang Hao out of the opening. He transferred the game into a better ending and slowly outplayed his opponent.

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In a post-match interview Levon Aronian was obviously not satisfied with his play and explained that he blundered the queen exchange in the opening and Black’s move 17...f6. His practical draw offer was declined by Daniil Dubov. Immediately after the Russian player missed a strong continuation 19...Rac8 and therefore his advantage.

Eventually they got into the endgame with an exchange up for White. Levon didn’t remember what was the right way to convert his advantage in the position, which he was analyzing a few years ago, but kept on trying and eventually succeeded in defeating his opponent on move 97.

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Daniil Dubov missed the last chance to make a draw after 92. Rb2. 92…Ke5 93.Kf7 Kf4 94. Rb4 Kg4! 95. Re4 Kf3=

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Round 4 Game 1: Two decisive games


Only 16 out of 128 participants remained in the World Cup in Tbilisi. In the first game of the fourth round Vassily Ivanchuk defeated Anish Giri, while Vladimir Fedoseev outplayed Maxim Rodshtein. All other six games finished in a draw.

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Anish Giri went for the position with opposite-side castling and both players seemed ready for a tough fight on both sides of the board. Ivanchuk’s 15.h3 was a dubious decision as it helped his opponent to advance his pawns and open g-file. However, the Dutch Grandmaster did not play precisely and let Ivanchuk to exchange a few pieces which converted the game into the winning ending for the Ukrainian.

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The last move Qf4 was the crucial mistake from Anish Giri. Black had good chances to hold with queens on the board.

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Playing Black Vladimir Fedoseev sacrificed a pawn in order to get more space for his pieces and fight for initiative. During a post-game interview he was not sure if he had enough compensation or not but he believed in Black’s position and felt it was not easy for Maxim to defend under the time pressure. White’s position collapsed after a big blunder 35.Nc4.

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After 35…e3! 36. Bd5 Qf2 37.Kh1 Qf1 38.Kh2 Bg5 39. Be6 Kg7 White has to give up his queen not to get mated.

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Levon Aronian missed a good chance to fight for a victory in the game against Daniil Dubov.

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36.Ne8! leads to a force draw but this line could not work out if Levon took on b2 one move earlier (34…Rb2).

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Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Alexander Grischuk played a very interesting and sharp game which eventually finished in a draw. Alexander managed to surprise Maxime in the opening with a7-a6-a5 move order and Maxime felt he didn't get anything with White. The French Grandmaster decided to create an attack on the King's side but the Russian bravely chose the most principal lines and could have tried to keep material advantage and play for a victory after 28.e5.

The second game of 1/8 of the final will be played at 3 p.m. local time on 13 of September.

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Round 3 Tie-breaks: Caruana, Nepo leave the tournament


The third round tie-breaks started with 8 matches on the 11th of September at 3 pm local time. After two rapid games 5 encounters were over and Baadur Jobava, Richard Rapport, Evgeniy Najer, Ding Liren and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave qualified for the next round. To finish the game with a checkmate is a rare chance for top players but that is what happened in the Caruana-Najer encounter where by winning the second game the Russian Grandmaster eliminated one of the top seeds.

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Maxime Vachier-Lagrave won the first game against Alexander Lenderman and after some adventures made a draw in the second game.

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After defeating Wei Yi Richard Rapport upset another Chinese Grandmaster Li Chao. The Hungarian Grandmaster won the first game and secured his place in the fourth round by offering a draw in a winning position.

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The local hero Baadur Jobava won the third match today, after his opponent Ian Nepomniachtchi blundered a rook in an unpleasant but definitely not lost position.

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After two decisive games in rapid Anish Girl outplayed Sethuraman in both ‘10min+10sec’ encounters. In a post-match interview the Dutch Grandmaster noted that he was really lucky during this round: “It doesn’t matter who is strong or weak. You have to be lucky and it helps to have good nerves, but it’s not necessary. Just be lucky!”

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Alexander Grischuk was in trouble in the first rapid game against David Navara but after two draws the winner was decided in “10min+10sec” games. After they drew the first game, the Russian Grandmaster dominated in the second encounter and managed to convert his advantage into a full point.

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The match between Levon Aronian and Maxim Matlakov lasted 6 hours and finished the last. After two draws in rapid, Levon Aronian won the first “10min +10 sec” game but once again Maxim Matlakov equalized the score. The fate of the match was decided in blitz after the Armenian won the first game and drew the second one.

The matches of the 4 round: Svidler – Bu Xiangzhi, Vachier-Lagrave – Grischuk, Giri – Ivanchuk, Aronian – Dubov, So – Jobava, Fedoseev – Rodshtein, Najer – Rapport, Wang Hao – Ding Liren.

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Round 3 Game 2: Carlsen, Nakamura, Kramnik leave


World Champion Magnus Carlsen leaves the World Cup after he drew his second game against Bu Xiangzhi. In a must win situation he tried to find some resources to complicate the game but the Chinese Grandmaster sacrificed a rook to force a draw by a perpetual check. Vladimir Fedoseev defeated another top seed – Hikaru Nakamura, who most probably mixed something in the opening and was in trouble from the early stage of the game.

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Vassily Ivanchuk outplayed his lifelong opponent Vladimir Kramnik. Back in 2013 it was Kramnik, who eliminated the Ukrainian player and later on became the winner of the World Cup. This time Vassily Ivanchuk proceeds to round 4 to play against Daniil Dubov. After a draw in the first game, Peter Svidler won the second encounter against Alexander Onischuk and will play against Bu Xiangzhi in the fourth round. "It's difficult to be unhappy about this, frankly. Playing Magnus is interesting, but also difficult!" commented his next opponent Peter Svidler.

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Daniil Dubov eliminated his compatriot Vladislav Artemiev by winning the second game.

After the victory in the previous encounter Wesley So made a draw against Francisco Vallejo Pons to secure his place in the tournament.

Yuri Kuzubov decided to exchange his piece for 3 pawns in the game against Wang Hao but it proved to be a dubious decision. After his victory over the Ukrainian Grandmaster Wang Hao proceeded to the 4th round.

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Anton Kovalyov did not appear for the second game and Maxim Rodshtein advanced to the fourth round.

Maxim Matlakov equalized the score against Levon Aronian and the winner of the match will be determined on tie-break. In a post-game interview Russian player explained that during the game he was surprised by Levon`s choice 15.Nd7, which allowed him to get quite promising position.

The epic battle between Sethuraman and Giri finished in a draw after 78 moves of play. The Indian Grandmaster had winning position but Anish kept on looking for chances and managed to save the game.

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8 tie-breaks will be played on 11th of September: Vachier-Lagrave - Lenderman, Li Chao - Rapport, Nepomniachtchi - Jobava, Caruana - Najer, Grischuk - Navara, Ding Liren - Vidit and Giri – Sethuraman, Matlakov – Aronian.

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Round 3 Game 1: Bu Xiangzhi defeats Carlsen, Kovalyov loses by forfeit

32 players came to the playing venue today to compete in the third round of the World Cup in Tbilisi.

10 minutes before the start of the games the Chief Arbiter Tomasz Delega asked GM Anton Kovalyov to observe the dress code set out in the regulations and requested that he change his shorts accordingly but the Canadian Grandmaster explained he could not do it. The Chairman of the Organizing Committtee GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili had another conversation with the player after which Anton Kovalyov left the playing hall and did not come back for the game. After the maximum default time of 15 minutes the match arbiter stopped the clock and Kovalyov`s opponent Maxim Rodshtein won by forfeit.

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World champion Magnus Carlsen surprisingly lost with White pieces against Bu Xiangzhi.

According to the Chinese Grandmaster, the sacrifice on h3 was tempting and he saw that after 17.Qf3 he had a perpetual check Bh2-Bg3. After 19…f5 he felt he had good chances to win the game. Magnus Carlsen has Black pieces in the second game and needs to strike back to equalize the score.

Fransisco Vallejo Pons chose an aggressive line in Caro Kann against Wesley So today. In the post-game interview the winner of the encounter Wesley So doubted the decision of his opponent to sacrifice an exchange. He was sure that after 20…Qb2 White has not enough compensation for the material.

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Levon Aronian defeated Maxim Matlakov with White pieces. Armenian Grandmaster didn’t give any chances for counterplay for his opponent by playing on both sides of the board.

12 games finished in a draw today including the games Nepomniachtchi – Jobava, Najer – Caruana, Vachier-Lagrave – Lenderman, Nakamura – Fedoseev, Onischuk – Svidler, Artemiev – Dubov, Ivanchuk – Kramnik, Giri – Sethuraman, Ding Liren – Vidit, Li Chao – Rapport, Grischuk – Navara and Wang Hao – Kuzubov.

The second game of the third round of the FIDE World Cup starts at 3 p.m. local time.

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The second round tie-breaks started with 22 matches on the 8th of September at 3 pm local time. After two rapid games 14 encounters were over and Ding Liren, David Navara, Yuriy Kuzubov, S.P. Sethuraman, Alexander Onischuk, Wang Hao, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Alexander Grischuk, Hikaru Nakamura, Evgeniy Najer, Peter Svidler, Richard Rapport, Li Chao and Bu Xiangzhi went through to the next round.

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A few rating favorites leave a tournament including former World Rapid Champion Shakhriyar Mamedyarov who lost to Yuriy Kuzubov, Radoslaw Wojtaszek who was eliminated by Alexander Onischuk and Pentala Harikrishna who was defeated by his compatriot S.P. Sethuraman.

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In one of the most dramatic matches of the tournament Adhiban-Nepomniachtchi Indian player missed another good chance to defeat his opponent in the first rapid game and after it ended in a draw, Ian Nepomniachtchi outplayed his opponent in the second game.

Wesley So, Fabiano Caruana, Levon Aronian, Baadur Jobava, Vassily Ivanchuk and Anish Giri won their ’10min+10sec’ matches.

Former Women’s World Champion Hou Yifan made 4 draws in classical and rapid games against Levon Aronian but lost 2:0 with `10 min+10sec` format.

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The matches Andreikin-Matlakov and Radjabov-Artemiev were decided in blitz.

After 2 draws in rapid Maxim Matlakov defeated his opponent in 10+10 time control. However, the finalist of the World Cup 2013 Dmitry Andreikin managed to equalize the score. But already in the next blitz game he lost in an absolutely winning position and could not make a comeback after such a tough blow.

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Teimour Radjabov lost the first rapid game but made a comeback by equalizing the score. He also outplayed his opponent in the first game with “10+10” time control. Suddenly, the tables were switched and in a must win situation Vladislav Artemiev defeated Teimour and then dominated in blitz.

Vladislav Artemiev and Maxim Matlakov qualified for 1/16.

The third round of the FIDE World Cup starts at 3 p.m. local time on the 9th of September. 32 participants continue playing in the World Cup.

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Round 2 Game 2: Anand, Adams and Karjakin leave

The return games of the second round of the World Cup were completed in the Hualing Hotel in Tbilisi. Despite the elimination of 64 players in the first round, tomorrow we are going to see the same number of tie-break matches as in the previous tie-break day - 22.

Magnus Carlsen defeated Alexei Dreev and is the only player, who won his match with 2:0 score in round 2.

From the other top seeds Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Valdimir Kramnik, who started the round by winning against lower rated players, preserved the advantage to advance to the next round. The opponent of Kramnik, Anton Demchenko surprisingly offered a draw after only 10 moves.

Former World Champion Viswanathan Anand didn’t manage to tie the score in the second game against Anton Kovalyov and has to leave the tournament.

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Another notable result is a loss of the winner of the World Cup 2015 Sergey Karjakin to Daniil Dubov. Michael Adams was also eliminated after the round 2 by Maxime Rodstein, who outplayed him in the second game with black pieces.

Francisco Vallejo Pons, Aleksandr Lenderman, Santosh Vidit and Vladimir Fedoseev won their matches as well to qualify for the 3rd round.

Ivan Cheparinov won the second game against David Navara and equalized the score in the match which will be decided on tie-break.

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Indian GM Adhiban had chances to finish the match against Ian Nepomniachtchi today but the fate of their encounter will be decided tomorrow as well as Li Chao - Sevian, Aronian - You Yifan, Najer - Vitiugov, Caruana - Lenic, Giri - Motylev, Yu Yangyi - Jobava, Harikrishna - Sethuraman, Wang Hao - Gelfand, Grischuk - Cori, Onischuk - Wojtaszek, Ding Liren - Kravtsiv and Mamedyarov – Kuzubov, Erdos - Svidler, Rapport - Wei Yi, Sо - Bluebaum, Nakamura - Bruzon, Andreikin - Matlakov, Ivanchuk - Duda, Radjabov - Artemiev, Bacrot - Bu Xiangzhi.

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Round 2 Game 1: Anton Kovalyov defeats Vishy Anand

32 participants of the World Cup returned today to the venue to play the first games of the second round. Only 7 games were decisive, while 25 finished in a draw.

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Magnus Carlsen defeated Alexey Dreev, David Navara won against Ivan Cheparinov, in two Russian derbies Vladimir Kramnik and Vladimir Fedoseev won against Anton Demchenko and Ernesto Inarkiev accordingly, Boris Grachev lost to Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Le Quang Liem lost to Vidit Santosh.

The biggest surprise of the second round was a victory of Anton Kovalyov from Canada over former World champion Viswanathan Anand. Indian player decided to sacrifice a piece in a better position 23.Nc5 but his opponent found a precise way to defend and kept his extra material. Vishy needs to win tomorrow with Black pieces to continue playing in the tournament.

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The games Hou Yifan – Aronian, Motylev – Giri, Bacrot - Bu Xiangzhi, Karjakin - Dubov, Duda - Ivanchuk, Harikrishna - Sethuraman, Lenic - Caruana, Mamedyarov - Kuzubov, Matlakov - Andreikin, Sevian - Li Chao, Tari - Lenderman, Wei Yi - Rapport, Yu Yangyi - Jobava, Adhiban - Nepomniachcthi, Svidler - Erdos, Rodshtein - Adams, Bruzon - Nakamura, Tomashevsky - Vallejo Pons, Onischuk - Wojtaszek, Cori - Grischuk, So - Bluebaum, Kravtsiv - Ding Liren, Artemiev - Radjabov, Wang Hao - Gelfand and Vitiugov - Najer finished peacefully.

The second game of the second round of the FIDE World Cup starts at 3 p.m. local time on 7th of September.

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Round 1 Tie-Break Matches


The third day of the FIDE World Cup has finished and all the results of the first round are in. The remaining 22 matches continued with playoffs after two classical games.

According to the regulations of the World Cup tiebreaks two rapid games are played at a rate of 25 min+10 seconds. If the score is still tied two accelerated rapid games are played with a time control of 10 min + 10 sec. If the score is still deadlocked two blitz games are then played at 5 min + 3 sec. Finally, if a winner has still not been determined a sudden death Armageddon game takes place.

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13 players were eliminated after two rapid games and the majority of the rating favorites, including Sergey Karjakin, Vladimir Fedoseev, Dmitry Andreikin, Evgeny Tomashevsky, Yu Yangyi, Wei Yi, Etienne Bacrot, Boris Grachev, Vassily Ivanchuk, Michael Adams, Maxim Rodshtein and Francisco Vallejo Pons, advanced to the second round. American player Samuel Sevian was the only “underdog”, who defeated a bit higher rated opponent Liviu Dieter Nisipeanu at this stage. The youngest participant of the World Cup Anton Smirnov from Australia, who made 2 draws in the games with classical control against Sergey Karjakin, lost the first rapid game and did not manage to equalize the score in the second one.

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Aryan Tari, Daniil Dubov, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Pentala Harikrishna, Baskaran Adhiban, Anton Demchenko, Luka Lenic were stronger with 10 min + 10 sec time control. Norvegian GM Aryan Tari defeated 2700+ GM David Howell from England by winning the last game after 5 draws in the previous encounters.

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The last match of the round 1 between Georgian player Baadur Jobava and Ivan Salgado Lopez obviously attracted enormous attention of local spectators and was decided in blitz. Baadur outplayed his opponent in the 8th game and remains the only Georgian player, who managed to proceed to the next stage.

The second round of the FIDE World Cup starts at 3 p.m. local time on 6th of September. 64 participants will continue playing but same as before only half of them will advance to the next stage.


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Top seeds advance to round two, while 22 matches will be decided on tie-breaks

The second games of the first round were played in Tbilisi on 4th of September.

The majority of the top seeds proceeded to the second round by defeating much lower rated opponents.

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42 players won their matches after two classical games: Carlsen Magnus (NOR), So Wesley (USA), Caruana Fabiano (USA), Kramnik Vladimir (RUS), Aronian Levon (ARM), Mamedyarov Shakhriyar (AZE), Nakamura Hikaru (USA), Vachier-Lagrave Maxime (FRA), Grischuk Alexander (RUS), Anand Viswanathan (IND), Ding Liren (CHN), Giri Anish (NED), Svidler Peter (RUS), Wojtaszek Radoslaw (POL), Li Chao b (CHN), Radjabov Teimour (AZE), Le Quang Liem (VIE), Navara David (CZE) , Lenderman Aleksandr (USA), Gelfand Boris (ISR), Matlakov Maxim (RUS), Vitiugov Nikita (RUS), Bu Xiangzhi (CHN), Najer Evgeniy (RUS), Duda Jan-Krzysztof (POL), Wang Hao (CHN), Inarkiev Ernesto (RUS), Cheparinov Ivan (BUL), Vidit Santosh Gujrathi (IND), Artemiev Vladislav (RUS), Sethuraman S.P. (IND), Onischuk Alexander (USA), Rapport Richard (HUN), Motylev Alexander (RUS), Kravtsiv Martyn (UKR), Kovalyov Anton (CAN), Cori Jorge (PER), Bruzon Batista Lazaro (CUB), Kuzubov Yuriy (UKR), Hou Yifan (CHN), Bluebaum Matthias (GER), Dreev Aleksey (RUS).

Amin Bassem (EGY) lost his chance to win the match against Erdos Viktor (HUN) today after he missed a stalemate trick in a completely winning ending.

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The biggest surprise of the round one was the elimination of the previous World Cup semifinalist Pavel Eljanov. The Ukrainian player had an absolutely winning position in the first game but after few mistakes he eventually lost. In a must win situation he tried to find some chances to complicate the position but his opponent Alexander Lenderman (USA) won also the second game. Another Ukrainian player and former World champion Ruslan Ponomariov also leaves the tournament after his loss against Sethuraman S.P. (IND).

Anton Demchenko, Vladimir Fedoseev, Pentala Harikrishna, Wei Yi and Murali Karthikeyan made comebacks by winning their second games and will continue to play tomorrow on tie-breaks.

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44 players will return to the tournament hall on 5th of September to decide who will qualify for the next round.

According to the tournament regulations, after a new drawing of colours, two tie-break games with the time control 25min + 10sec will be played.

If the scores are still level, then, after a new drawing of colours, a match of two games with the time control 10min + 10sec will be played.

In case of a level score, another match of two games will be played, with a blitz time control of 5min + 3sec.

If still there is no winner, one sudden-death game will be played. The player who wins the drawing of lots may choose the colour. The player with the white pieces shall receive 5 minutes, the opponent with the black pieces shall receive 4 minutes whereupon, after the 60th move, both players shall receive an increment of 3 seconds for each move from move 61. In case of a draw the player with the black pieces is declared the winner.

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ROUND 1 Game 2 results


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World Chess Cup started in Tbilisi, Georgia

Round 1 Game 1


The 2015 FIDE World Chess Cup began today at the Hualing Hotel in Tbilisi, Georgia, with 128 of the world's top players fighting for the 1,6 million USD prize fund.

FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos made the first move in the game between the World champion Magnus Carlsen (NOR) and Oluwafemi Balogun (NGR).

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According to the pairings, the favorites in the higher half of the draw met significantly lower rated opponents. The top seeds won their games relatively easily, but there were also surprising losses by rating favorites, including Wei Yi of China against Canadian Bator Sambuev, Pavel Eljanov of Ukraine against Alexander Lenderman of USA, Pentala Harikrishna of India against Cuban Grandmaster Yuri Gonzalez Vidal and Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia against Yusnel Bacallao Alonso of Cuba.

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One of the favorites of the tournament and number second chess player in the world ranking Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France made a draw today. His opponent was International Master Muhammad Khusenkhojaev (TJK).

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Another notable result is the draw in the game between Sergey Karjakin of Russia, the loser of the last World Championship and the youngest participant of the tournament, Anton Smirnov of Australia.

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Alexander Onischuk moved to the second round without a fight. His opponent, Yaroslav Zherebukh (USA), was not able to leave his country and participate in the Chess World Cup because he was still waiting for his US Green Card. Today is Onischuk’s birthday and thus he received a nice present.

Tomorrow is the second game of the first round and the participants will be fighting hard to progress to the next round.

The organizers of the World Cup are FIDE, the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia, the Check In Georgia Sports, the Georgian Chess Federation, Organising Committee of The 2018 World Chess Olympiad and Tbilisi City Hall. The title Sponsor is SOCAR.

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ROUND 1 Game1 results


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Magnus Carlsen chose White pieces at the Opening Ceremony of the World Cup

The opening ceremony took place at the Funicular restaurant in Tbilisi on 2nd of September 2017. The players and guests were greeted by the Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia Tariel Khechikashvili, the ECU President Zurab Azmaiparashvili, the President of Georgian Chess Federation George Giorgadze and the FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos.

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The Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia Tariel Khechikashvili welcomed all the guests to Tbilisi:

“Dear guests, leaders of the international chess federation, organizers and participants of the Tbilisi World Chess Cup!

For the first time our country holds a tournament of such a high category, and Georgian chess players are deservedly proud of their past. Georgia chess faces a big challenge as there will be the World Chess Olympiad in 2018 in Batumi. We hope that everything will be held at the highest level. I wish all participants successful games.”

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FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos delivered his opening speech:

“The FIDE World Cup 2017 is going to be an historical chess event as it is the toughest event we have in FIDE. The particpation of 15 top rated players, including the exceptional case of the World Champion himself, makes this event the strongest in history. In order to win such tournament you should be a good player, have a good form and be a great fighter. Nobody can be sure about his own result here and this is why I really admire the decision of the World champion Magnus Carlsen to participate in this tournament. He writes his own history and he gives a message how the World Champion should be. I thank him for playing here and for the promotion of chess and this important FIDE event.

Georgia is a great country with a huge chess history, especially because of their great women players with some of them being here with us today. I would like to thank the Minister of Sport of Georgia Tariel Khechikashvili for his support, ECU President Zurab Azmaiparashvili, the President of Gerogian Chess Federation Giorgiy Georgadze and his people for the organization of the World Cup and the coming Olympiad.

Recently there were some political statements in media that could have hurt Georgian people. On behalf of FIDE I would like to apologise for this. We are one family in FIDE because we do not allow our chess community to be divided for political, religious or racial reasons. I would like to ensure Mr. Minister that we will continue keeping to this principle. “ At the end of the speech Mr. Makropoulos declared the World Cup Open.

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The opening ceremony included dance and sung performances by the Georgian national ballet "Sukhishvili" and musical band “Ursa” and was enjoyed by the participants and guests of the tournament.

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Chief Arbiter Delega then proceeded with the drawing of colors. He invited the top seed of the tournament, the World Champion Magnus Carlsen from Norway to pick one of the traditional Georgian wine vessel 'Kvevri'. Magnus Carlsen will play the first game of the match against Oluwafemi Balogun from Nigeria with the white pieces.

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After the end of the opening ceremony all the players came back to the official hotel and attended the technical meeting.

The organizers are FIDE, the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia, the Check In Georgia Sports, the Georgian Chess Federation, Organising Committee of The 2018 World Chess Olympiad and Tbilisi City Hall The title Sponsor is SOCAR.

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