Reports | May 10, 2009 19:08

President's Cup: FIDE World crushes Azerbaijan

President's CupThe President's Cup in Baku yesterday ended in a crushing victory for the FIDE World team, who defeated Azerbaijan 21.5-10.5. Especially Vladimir Kramnik showed great form, scoring 6.5/8. All games are now available for replay - some of them truly great fights!

President of the Azerbaijan Chess Federation Elman Rustamov making the first move in the game Gashimov-Kramnik, with FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov watching | Photo courtesy of

The 2009 President’s Cup took place May 7th to 9th in the "UNS" Creative Stage theatre in Baku, Azerbaijan. The event was an 8-round rapid match (Scheveningen system) between the strongest players of Azerbaijan (Teimour Radjabov, Vugar Gashimov, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Gadir Guseinov and Rauf Mamedov - the latter only played two games, losing 1.5-0.5 against Anand) against a “FIDE World” team with World Champion Viswanathan Anand, former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, 2007 World Cup runner-up Alexei Shirov and 2009 Corus winner Sergey Karjakin.

It must have been a great event, and from looking at the games it surely was, but not for the thousands of fans who wanted to follow the rapid games of the world's best players live. Because that's what we're talking about: arguably the best format to follow games live, and with the World Champ and the man who beat Kasparov playing! The broadcast of the games was a total failure and this is especially strange when you realize that only a year ago the first FIDE Grand Prix was held in Baku, where thirteen rounds of live games were covered.

President's Cup logoBut perhaps it's too easy to criticize the local organizers, when it's actually the material, being used in all those big events, that's not perfect, to say the least. My own club happens to own ten DGT boards and after two years we keep on having trouble with the terrible software that's delivered together with the very nice boards, so I understand a little bit of the problems they were having in Baku. In fact the US Championship also decided to switch from DGT to Monroi yesterday because of similar problems.

It takes hours and hours of trial and error, and at some point the technical guy realizes that one shouldn't use the latest version of the DGT software because it's worse that the previous version, and a few hours later (or days, if he's not a very experienced webmaster) the poor guy realizes that he should only use it for creating PGN files and a viewer out of the boards, but not the FTP part, it's absolutely necessary to use a separate FTP program... Well, I'll save you more details. They're nice guys at DGT, and they've served the chess world well, but I think this bit of criticism should be said, at least once, to trigger them to improve their stuff, or anybody else who's good in designing game viewers.

In our first report we covered the first two rounds, after which the FIDE World team was leading by a point. In the end it turned out that this specific line-up FIDE World team was just overkill for the Azeri's, who will have to consider it an interesting training match with lots of instructive moments! And lots of great fights - to name a few that shouldn't be missed: Mamedyarov-Karjakin (round 2), Shirov-Radjabov (3), Kramnik-Guseinov (5), Shirov-Mamedyarov (7), Radjabov-Karjakin (8) and Mamedyarov-Kramnik (8).

All games



Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


steven's picture

And furthermore, Kramnik acknowledges his losses and doesn't start attacking
his opponents off the board.
Recently the bulgarian ringleader Danailov insulted WC Anand,
saying he doesn't deserve the chess oscar and only got it because "the
russians" didn't want to give it to Topalov.
Of course it was the Kremlin who ordered the oscar to be given to Anand,
if not 64-chess magazine would have been closed down, the pimp stated.

patyolat's picture

I have just noticed it, thanks...

bakusun's picture

thisisdont rule.the best chessplayer of azerbaijan isnt guseynov gashimov mamedyarov radjabov . azerbaijan have more interesting chessplayers.they wants rating turnnaments and real play.they are morestrong than anand kramnik shirov and ets

Arne Moll's picture

@Jonas. If Kramnik plays interesting chess it's because it's rapid. If he wins with the Petroff it's because his opponents went too far. If he wins the World Championship it's because he uses a computer. How many more excuses do we have to hear before we can acknowledge that Kramnik's simply a great player?!

Lucas's picture

Kramnik is playing very well. Even better than Anand!

Tom's picture

... & with 1.e4 too :)

Didn't he say after his World Championship loss, he knew what he needed to work on to improve, or something like that? I wonder if this is the first fruit of that...

patyolat's picture

How come this event is not rated? I have just checked on , it was refreshed today but no changes in ratings for any of the players...

Thomas's picture

Patyolat, that's easy to answer: it was a rapid event (only games at slower time controls are rated).
@Tom: Maybe more importantly, Kramnik seems trying to change his style a bit, not being afraid of entering tactical complications. To me this was already apparent during the Amber tournament, arguably more relvant because of the stronger overall field.

Jonas's picture

@ Arne Moll
Sorry but i never said that Kramnik is a bad player. He's great when he plays chess. But for some reason he don't play chess, most of the time he just push wood in the same drawish openings and offers/agrees to a draw around move 20...
And the only player who might have used computer in top chess is topalov at least i think that was the reason for all the lies and insults he made to Kramnik in Elista.
And looks like he succeeded. Before Elista no one talked about Kramnik like that: "If he wins the World Championship it’s because he uses a computer."

Thomas's picture

I agree with Jonas' first sentence: Kramnik will have to prove/confirm at other occasions that he is still a force to be reckoned with - I think Dortmund is next on his agenda !?
But I also agree with everything Arne Moll wrote. To add just one thing: Kramnik (or anyone else) did not become world champion, top 10 or even top 100 just with "very short and uneventful draws" ... .

Jonas's picture

Don't make conclusions about Kramnik only after few rapid games.
Kramnik is famous for very short and uneventful draws in normal time control.

Manindra's picture

Kramanik learnt well after loss to Anand !!

Victor's picture

So much with Krmnik, he only wins the softened Dortmund cause there he doesn't play difficult opposition, there's always only 1 difficult player but nothing more, also Dort. is short enough for him to endure it. He can't win the real long stuff, i.e. Corus or Mtel, where everybody plays to kill, or a real Linares, no drawfests like 2004, IMO.

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