Reports | September 02, 2011 22:19

World Cup R2 tie-break: Adams, Vachier-Lagrave & Vallejo eliminated

On Friday the tie-breaks of the World Cup's second round were played, and Michael Adams, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave & Paco Vallejo are the strongest players who were eliminated.

General info

The 2011 FIDE World Cup is a 128-player knock-out taking place August 27-September 20 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Siberia. The tournament delivers three participants for the next Candidates tournament/matches, as part of the new World Championship cycle. Except for the final, all rounds have 2-game matches at the FIDE time control: 90 minutes for 40 moves followed by 30 minutes to finish the game, with a 30-second increment from the first move. In case of a 1-1 tie, on the third day of the round there's a tie-break with rapid games and if necessary blitz games and an Armageddon. More info here. Tournament bracket

Tie-break round 2

The second tie-break day was a rather short one, with no less than 11 of the 13 mini-matches being decided in the two rapid games already. As the official website notes, neither player of those six who lost the first game was able to strike back, and four of them lost the second game as well. Alexander Grischuk, Etienne Bacrot, Yaroslav Zherebukh and Alexander Moiseenko won 2-0 against Sebastien Feller, Anton Filippov, Ruben Felgaer and Ernesto Inarkiev respectively. Ian Nepomniachtchi and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov won their first games convincingly and then secured their promotion with draws against Alexander Riazantsev and Daniel Friedman respectively. On top board, Sergey Karjakin drew his black game with Wesley So and then beat the Philippine in an Advance Caro-Kann. Afterwards Karjakin revealed that Alexander Motylev, after getting eliminated, stayed in Khanty as his second. Motylev had played the exact variation earlier in the tournament, against Drozdovskij, and so the two were well prepared. So said he had only looked at the classical games of that match, and so he missed a few details... 2009 World Cup finalist Ruslan Ponomariov had some difficult moments in the second rapid game, after the first had ended in a draw. Ponomariov-Ni Hua Khanty-Mansiysk, 2011 Diagram 1 Black has just taken a pawn on g6, on move 55, and so he has until move 105 to try and win this position. Dutch readers will immediately recognize the ending from the famous game Timman-Velimirovic, Interzonal 1979 (with reversed colours). The whole country was analysing this endgame for a week (due to multiple adjournments), stimulated by the newspaper articles by GM Donner. Without the existence of tablebases, Timman had to use endgame manuals. He had only packed one of Chéron's endgame books in his suitcase, but luckily it was the one that included this ending. However, Chéron had analysed it for to a win in... more, much more than fifty moves. Without glancing at the book Timman's second Ulf Andersson managed to find a way to win it faster, but still not in less than fifty. In Schaakbulletin, Timman wrote:

Somehow I had to think of Verne's Around the World in 80 Days. In fifty moves around the chess board, to end up grabbing the little fellow on a3, keeping away the enemy king... we had to succeed.

And they did; they found a way to win in all lines under fifty move (and later the tablebase would confirm that it was possible). Because Velimirovic didn't defend perfectly, it only took 39. While searching for 'Timman-Velimirovic' in our own search bar in the top right corner, just to see whether we had mentioned it before, we noticed the following. The exact ending hasn't appeared in recent top games, but with the pawns one rank higher, it has! You might want to compare it with the games Kramnik-Ponomariov (!), Tal Memorial 2009 (analysed here by GM Dimitri Reinderman) and Giri-Andreikin, Biel 2010 (annotated here by IM Robert Ris). Ni Hua and Ponomariov reach a classic endgame Not knowing his classics ;-) Ni Hua didn't manage to win it and Ponomariov escaped from elimination. In such cases it's useful to know the rules:

The player who has the move may stop the clock and consult the Arbiter’s score sheet and if his next move will produce a threefold repetition of position (...), or the 50 moves rule (...), he himself must write the intended move on the score sheet and claim the draw if he wants. A player can also claim a draw according to articles 9.2b and 9.3b of the Technical Regulations. If the claim is found to be correct, the game is immediately ended as a draw. If the claim is found to be incorrect, the Arbiter shall add three (3) minutes to the opponent’s remaining time and the game continues with the intended move in accordance with Article 4 of the Technical Regulations. A maximum of two (2) incorrect claims for a draw can be made by each player. If a player makes a 3rd incorrect claim, the arbiter shall declare the game lost for this player.

In the first blitz game, Ponomariov crushed his opponent with the white pieces and then held a draw with Black. In the only other mini-match that reached the 10 minutes + 10 seconds increment time control, Peter Svidler defeated Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son 2-0. Svidler reaches round 3 after four draws and then 2-0 Michael Adams is one of the most successful players ever in knock-out events. However, this time he didn't get further than the second round. With Black the Englishman held a draw, but then he went down in a Sicilian. Adams-Nielsen Khanty-Mansiysk, 2011 Diagram 232... Na3+! 33. bxa3 Qc4 34. Bxe3 Qxa2+ 35. Kc1 dxe3 0-1 Pairings round 3: Polgar (HUN) - Karjakin (RUS) Ivanchuk (UKR) - Sutovsky (ISR) Zherebukh(UKR) - Mamedyarov(AZE) Ponomariov (UKR) - Efimenko (UKR) Tomashevsky (RUS) – Gashimov(AZE) Grischuk (RUS) - Morozevich (RUS) Bacrot (FRA) - Radjabov (AZE) Kamsky(USA) –Nepomniachtchi (RUS) Caruana (ITA) - Svidler (RUS) Jakovenko (RUS) - Jobava (GEO) Potkin (RUS) - Vitiugov (RUS) Parligras (ROM) - Nielsen (DEN) Le Quang Liem (VIE) - Bruzon (CUB) Navara (CZE) - Moiseenko (UKR) Gupta (IND) - Bu Xiangzhi (CHN) Dominguez (CUB) - Lysyj (RUS)

Games round 2.3


Game viewer by ChessTempo

FIDE World Cup 2011 | Round 2 results
Name G1 G2 R1 R2 r3 r4 B1 B2 SD Tot
Round 2 Match 01
Karjakin, Sergey (RUS) ½ ½ ½ 1           2.5
So, Wesley (PHI) ½ ½ ½ 0           1.5
Round 2 Match 02
Alekseev, Evgeny (RUS) 0 ½               0.5
Ivanchuk, Vassily (UKR) 1 ½               1.5
Round 2 Match 03
Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar (AZE) ½ ½ 1 ½           2.5
Fridman, Daniel (GER) ½ ½ 0 ½           1.5
Round 2 Match 04
Ni, Hua (CHN) ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½       2.5
Ponomariov, Ruslan (UKR) ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½       3.5
Round 2 Match 05
Gashimov, Vugar (AZE) 1 ½               1.5
Azarov, Sergei (BLR) 0 ½               0.5
Round 2 Match 06
Feller, Sebastien (FRA) ½ ½ 0 0           1
Grischuk, Alexander (RUS) ½ ½ 1 1           3
Round 2 Match 07
Radjabov, Teimour (AZE) 1 ½               1.5
Negi, Parimarjan (IND) 0 ½               0.5
Round 2 Match 08
Kasimdzhanov, Rustam (UZB) ½ 0               0.5
Kamsky, Gata (USA) ½ 1               1.5
Round 2 Match 09
Svidler, Peter (RUS) ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1       4
Nguyen, Ngoc Truong Son (VIE) ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 0       2
Round 2 Match 10
Harikrishna, P. (IND) 0 ½               0.5
Jakovenko, Dmitry (RUS) 1 ½               1.5
Round 2 Match 11
Vitiugov, Nikita (RUS) 1 ½               1.5
Korobov, Anton (UKR) 0 ½               0.5
Round 2 Match 12
Parligras, Mircea-Emilian (ROU) 1 ½               1.5
Almasi, Zoltan (HUN) 0 ½               0.5
Round 2 Match 13
Vallejo Pons, Francisco (ESP) 0 1 ½ 0           1.5
Bruzon Batista, Lazaro (CUB) 1 0 ½ 1           2.5
Round 2 Match 14
Onischuk, Alexander (USA) ½ 0               0.5
Navara, David (CZE) ½ 1               1.5
Round 2 Match 15
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime (FRA) ½ ½ ½ 0           1.5
Bu, Xiangzhi (RUS) ½ ½ ½ 1           2.5
Round 2 Match 16
Bologan, Viktor (MDA) 0 ½               0.5
Dominguez Perez, Leinier (CUB) 1 ½               1.5
Round 2 Match 17
Ivanov, Alexander (USA) ½ ½ ½ 0           1.5
Lysyj, Igor (RUS) ½ ½ ½ 1           2.5
Round 2 Match 18
Gupta, Abhijeet (IND) ½ 1               1.5
Shankland, Samuel L (USA) ½ 0               0.5
Round 2 Match 19
Moiseenko, Alexander (UKR) ½ ½ 1 1           3
Inarkiev, Ernesto (RUS) ½ ½ 0 0           1
Round 2 Match 20
Grachev, Boris (RUS) 0 ½               0.5
Le, Quang Liem (VIE) 1 ½               1.5
Round 2 Match 21
Adams, Michael (ENG) ½ ½ ½ 0           1.5
Nielsen, Peter Heine (DEN) ½ ½ ½ 1           2.5
Round 2 Match 22
Potkin, Vladimir (RUS) 1 1               2
Shirov, Alexei (ESP) 0 0               0
Round 2 Match 23
Jobava, Baadur (GEO) ½ 1               1.5
Wojtaszek, Radoslaw (POL) ½ 0               0.5
Round 2 Match 24
Drozdovskij, Yuri (UKR) ½ 0               0.5
Caruana, Fabiano (ITA) ½ 1               1.5
Round 2 Match 25
Nepomniachtchi, Ian (RUS) ½ ½ 1 ½           2.5
Riazantsev, Alexander (RUS) ½ ½ 0 ½           1.5
Round 2 Match 26
Filippov, Anton (UZB) 1 0 0 0           1
Bacrot, Etienne (FRA) 0 1 1 1           3
Round 2 Match 27
Fier, Alexandr (BRA) 0 0               0
Morozevich, Alexander (RUS) 1 1               2
Round 2 Match 28
Andreikin, Dmitry (RUS) 0 ½               0.5
Tomashevsky, Evgeny (RUS) 1 ½               1.5
Round 2 Match 29
Efimenko, Zahar (UKR) ½ 1               1.5
Berkes, Ferenc (HUN) ½ 0               0.5
Round 2 Match 30
Zherebukh, Yaroslav (UKR) 1 0 1 1           3
Felgaer, Ruben (ARG) 0 1 0 0           1
Round 2 Match 31
Sutovsky, Emil (ISR) 1 ½               1.5
Fressinet, Laurent (FRA) 0 ½               0.5
Round 2 Match 32
Polgar, Judit (HUN) ½ 1               1.5
Movsesian, Sergei (ARM) ½ 0               0.5

Photos © FIDE | Official website


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.


S3's picture

Buhuhuu. Grischuk beat his opponent in round one in 20 moves. He was wary to play long games with Feller in round 2 because of the alledged cheating. But in rapid he crushed the guy in great games. Total BS indeed. But not of Grischuk.

Anthony's picture

It's a rational strategy that says more of the iniquities of the system than of Grischuk's methods.

But it is also true that Grischuk more than once admitted not to like long games. So I guess, he likes the system as it is.

Septimus's picture

I hope Moro crushes Grischchuk. This guy has made a mockery of the tournament by quickly drawing classical games and trying his luck in the rapid version. Is this a classical tournament or a rapid tournament? Total BS.

gasperov's picture

i just went on line to see how Adams did , no uk web site has the result ! only you guys are up to date

thanks c vibes

bad luck Mickey... this format is just a lottery

S3's picture

Adams successes at these type of competitions have proven that it's defenitely nothing like a lottery.

TMM's picture

Next round: Grischuk vs. Morozevich! It's a pity one of them will get eliminated so soon, but I bet it will be a great match.

Anthony's picture

Maybe, but only if Moro has the power to play. Because Grischuk is just bored playing long games and always trying to get to the rapids.

His uncanny talent brings him far this way, but unfortunately we don't get to see much of it.......................

Bardamu's picture

Great game by Karjakin with white.

James Maskell's picture

Bu-Vachier. The final move is 71.Qd5+ because obviously the queen is en prise on c5...

Thomas's picture

The World Cup is what it is: classical games followed - in case of need - by rapid and blitz. I wouldn't know how "iniquities" of the system could be eliminated:
- More classical games per round? The tournament is already long and gruelling enough ... .
- Sofia rules??? They would force players to continue for hours in dead equal, sterile but insufficiently simplified positions where neither player sees winning chances or a promising plan (Such positions can arise after 20-30 moves). Again, the tournament is already gruelling, restdays only if you manage to avoid tiebreaks. At most, they could ban draws before move 30, but just how much 'added value' would that imply?

It may be true that Grischuk goes for his chances at faster time controls, actually I don't think cheating investigations against Feller played a role.
Such a strategy isn't risk-free and can, of course, backfire: Two years ago at the World Cup, Grischuk and Jakovenko drew their classical games in 14 and 12 moves, apparently both considered themselves better at faster time controls. Then four rapid games were also drawn, then Jakovenko won the blitz 2-0. The second game was a rather tragicomic loss for Grischuk in a must-win situation:

jhoravi's picture

But there are very playable games agreed as draw. Sofia rules is very necessary in such situation.

Thomas's picture

I don't disagree that some of the draws were premature. But who decides if a position is "playable", let alone "very playable"? Sofia rules just say that virtually every position is playable - but if players want a draw they can still go for a move repetition. This just "improves" the move statistics: if both players want a draw after 20 moves, the game has 24 moves.

Anyway, I don't see the problem: There are plenty of matches to follow, and every single one of them will have at least one decisive game sooner or later.

Thomas's picture

I checked Ponomariov-So with an online tablebase ( ), and this version of the endgame was objectively drawn most of the time. Don't ask me why, apparently the position of the white king is crucial: Ponomariov "blundered" with 78.Kf6 (78.Kf4 or 78.Kg4 holds the draw) and was lost for a few minutes (or seconds?) until Ni Hua returned the favor with 81.-Rf8+ when 81.-Re5 was the only winning move.

At other occasions, Pono several times played the only move to hold the draw. So he wasn't "very lucky" to escape (just a little bit ...), and Ni Hua cannot or should not be too mad at himself.

Latest articles