Reports | August 26, 2013 1:54

World Cup: Caruana & Svidler out, Andreikin & Vachier-Lagrave through

World Cup: Caruana & Svidler out, Andreikin & Vachier-Lagrave through

Sunday's tiebreaks of the World Cup in Tromsø saw more upsets as Dmitry Andreikin and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave both managed to beat their higher rated opponents, Peter Svidler and Fabiano Caruana. This means that the semi-finals will be Tomashevsky - Andreikin and Vachier-Lagrave - Kramnik.

Photos by Paul Truong

The winner of the last World Cup, Peter Svidler, told us at the start that "a lot of luck" was needed to win such a tournament. Today Svidler had to say goodbye to the World Cup as he simply played worse than his opponent, Dmitry Andreikin, in the rapid tiebreak.

The Torre Attack is popular at club level and might gain even more popularity because of Andreikin's successes with it: he knocked out two compatriots, Sergey Karjakin and Peter Svidler, using this "amateur weapon"! We should add that in Sunday's tiebreak, Andreikin didn't get much of an advantage when playing it in his first white game. In a fairly equal position, Svidler collapsed in just a few moves.

PGN string

With Black, Andreikin repeated his 3...c5 move in the Caro-Kann Advance and was the first to deviate from their classical game in this line. Again he had no problems with Black and then even outplayed Svidler, and forced the draw when it was there.

PGN string

The first game between Fabiano Caruana and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was more or less equal all the time, with both players "shifting around their rooks and queens" (Vachier-Lagrave).

PGN string

In the second game, a Dutch Defence, the Frenchman demonstrated his calculating skills as White.

Basically I was just looking for some sharp middlegame,

said Vachier-Lagrave, who was manoeuvring his pieces for a long time, trying to find the best moment to play the e3-e4 break. When he finally did it, White's position got better and better, and Vachier-Lagrave scored a convincing victory.

PGN string

And so two more big names have left the World Cup. Evgeny Tomashevsky and Dmitry Andreikin, who are both studying at Saratov University and know each other well, will have to fight against each other for a spot in the final, and at the same time for a spot in the 2014 Candidates Tournament! The other spot will go to either Maxime Vachier-Lagrave or Vladimir Kramnik. Three Russians and one Frenchman are left in the tournament.

Results round 5


Pairings semi-finals

Tomashevsky - Andreikin
Vachier-Lagrave - Kramnik

Videos from the tournament website


Game 1:



Game 2:



Interview with Vachier-Lagrave:


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.


Bonjour's picture

Wow CV put the "report" at 2am after a short tie break round. Hey Peter take some rest...
MVL "I played quite well today" doesn't sound particularly humble to me...
Anyway a nice to see a french player holding the western world flag against the russians...

Anonymous's picture

"I played quite well today" doesn't sound particularly humble to me! "

it's because you do not know the definition of humility

Bonjour's picture

Humility (adjectival form: humble) is the quality of being modest or respectful.

Humility, in various interpretations, is widely seen as a virtue in many religious and philosophical traditions, being connected with notions of egolessness.

So MVL complimented himself without being asked he even used the word "impressive" and never had a word for his opponent. Yesterday his ego made him overpush in a drawn rook endgame that resulted in loss of apawn. I actually think you can't survive in the top of anything without an inflated ego, so it's healthy. So MVL is not particularly humble, modest or egoless as somebody suggested. Again this doesn't mean I think he is pretentious...

nicolas's picture

I'm not agree with you :)
For yesterday, he didn't overpush the rook endgame (I didn't hear that Caruana asked for a draw) because of his ego lol. He lost this pawn in purpose to simplify the position and have an easy draw.

Yes he complimented what? In every sport, when someone has a good result, he usually says "I played quite good".
Thats quite normal :)

Bonjour's picture

LOL he sacrificed a pawn to get a draw in a completely drawn rook endgame? have you ever played chess? it's classical case of overpushing.
About the self compliment, AGAIN I never said it's bad, jee I answered to a blogger who said he was humble, i'm sorry but humble people don't compliment themselves. what's hard to understand? I feel i'm talking to Justin Bieber fans. FYI i root for MVL...

nicolas's picture

Anyway, you seem quit humble yourself haha

Don't be that angry, not good for health.
Have a skittle, and taste the rainbow :)

Webbimio's picture

The french players I know said to me that MVL is considered quite a bit arrogant among french top players.
I myself remember a post-game interview in which he was keeping to say that that and that moves were "little tests" for his opponent, who was a 2700 player (don't remember exactly who).
As already pointed out, you need a big ego to enter the elite, but you can of course decide to be polite in your statements even with the biggest one (e.g.: I don't think Anand's ego is smaller than MVL's...)

Anonymous's picture

Egolessness ! Ouaf ouaf ouaf

Peter Doggers's picture

Peter was travelling all day.

Niima's picture

Nice games today. Nigel Short's commentary was often spot on, pointing out the key ideas.

Bonjour's picture

You're right. After I realized I missed Polgar because of her "milfness" I find Short funny and precise...

Morley's picture

Andreikin is +1=9 in classical, and in the semifinals. Vachier-Lagrave is +5=5. Kramnik and Tomashevsky are in between that. It is an interesting quirk of the format that such different results in classical games can result in the same placement! It is also very impressive how Andreikin scored 3.5/4 (what would have been 4-0 in other circumstances) in the G/25 against Karjakin and Svidler. He is a monster in rapid.

Anyways, I am hoping for a Tomashevsky-MVL final, simply to add fresh faces to next year's Candidates. I also think only Aronian and Kramnik are worthy of a rating seed, given their 2800+ ratings for much of the past few years. Karjakin just doesn't seem to fit in that company.

Thomas Oliver's picture

Comparing classical and rapid (blitz if needed) results is one interesting approach. This also makes Vachier-Lagrave (Elo +22) the biggest rating winner of the event, followed by - if I calculated correctly and don't miss anyone - Tomashevsky (+17) and Eljanov (+10). Eljanov didn't need tiebreaks against a relatively weak opponent in round 1 and an already strong one (Jakovenko) in round 2. Then, reaching the tiebreaks against Karjakin was already a success Elo-wise - giving him a hard time in tiebreaks was also a success.

Another interesting but obviously more subjective approach is coming up with a "luck scale":
- Tomashevsky was lucky two or three times. His first-round match against Ramirez went all the way to Armaggedon. Ironically, according to Tomashevsky himself, it was one reason for his later success: "I could be home already, now I am playing just for fun" He then successfully played just for fun in his second tense tiebreak against Morozevich. And he was arguably lucky that Kamsky blundered - benefiting from his role as an underdog as Kamsky wasn't satisfied with a draw?
- Andreikin was lucky once, in his tiebreak against Dreev (the other tiebreak wins were convincing).
- Vachier-Lagrave and Kramnik were a bit lucky in their matches against Ortiz Suarez and Korobov, respectively. But even if they had lost the first (MVL) or second (Kramnik) classical games, they might or would have proceeded to tiebreaks.

Helmer's picture

Andreikin or Tomashevsky to the Candidates?
When will FIDE abandon that joke of a tournament?
Isn't it enough now?

...Of course, all the semi finalists are top players,
still recruiting 2 of 7 players of the Candidates tournament (of the Classical world championship) from a KO tournament that features so much speedchess is like a bad joke from a not funny clown.

200 meter runners are certainly very good at the 100 meters too,
still it's a separate event with separate world championships.

And we have separate Rapid chess and Blitz WChs too!

The World Cup is a lottery.
A big Swiss tournament wouldn't be as good as Round Robins or matches,
but since FIDE pretends to have not enough money (despite being able to run a 6 leg Grand Prix), a Swiss tournament would be the much lesser evil. It contained only (or mostly) Classical chess and the outcome can never be as random as the World Cup results are.

RG13's picture

Technically you are correct but FIDE is trying to popularize chess and having a tennis style knockout makes progress towards that. Of course serious fans are glad that all tournaments aren't this exciting. ;-)

Morley's picture

Andreikin and Tomashevsky 's opponents had ample time and plenty of chances to knock them out. They got knocked out instead. This is an immensely difficult tournament, and two Candidates spots are worth it. At least the "world championship" isn't decided this way anymore! I do think that the WC should only qualify the winner, however. It shouldn't be the case that the semifinals are more important than the finals. That is just silly.

Unanimous's picture

Yes, you're right. What's the point in watching the final when they both qualify.

neluroman's picture

But to be "the champion is quite different from being just a "vice- champion" . In this case the qualification is merely a bonus.

Morley's picture

The Candidates spots are clearly the most important prize in this event. Anything else, including the World Cup champion title and extra cash, is just gravy.

Remco G's picture

The difference between #1 and #2 is $ 32k. I doubt either of them has ever won that much in a chess tournament, and they won't consider themselves favourites for the Candidates, so why would that be more important than winning the World Cup?

Morley's picture

Don't forget coming last in the Candidates is worth €18k.

Helmer's picture


Andreikin is possibly a top 10 player - in Rapid.
He also won the Russian Chsh mainly because of his Rapid skills.
Tomashevsky is stronger with shorter time controls too. He became Classical European champion because of his Blitz performance in the end.
They both are great players for sure - like almost everybody in the top 50 is.
But what business do they have in the Candidates tournament?

Yes, I like watching Classical chess, and I'm not the only one.
Nothing wrong with Rapid though,
but people who like to watch it shall watch the Rapid Championships.
Reducing Rapid in the Classical cycle would (may) also strengthen the Rapid WCh, no?

As for your idea that just the winner of the World Cup should qualify to the Candidates,
yes that would be an improvement - theoretically.
Practically it would reduce the relevance of the World Cup to an extent that FIDE would probably not be able to maintain it.
Currently all lower ranked players can only qualify via the World Cup.
With just one qualifying spot all these players would almost be kept out entirely.
Not so with a Swiss tourney, from that more players could qualify.

And yes, the World Cup as such is an exciting format.
It would be great to keep it somehow - but not as such an important part of the Classical cycle.
In a different / separate frame it might fall victim to the money issue in one way or another though.

I think it would be best to reform the Grand Prix a little.
Not all of it's entrants should be able to qualify via rating (and by nominations).
Some of them could qualify from the mentioned Swiss tourney.
Besides it could be arranged that all players can only play two such Grand Prixs, and the series consists of just four (which also saves or pools money resources).
From each of these Grand Prixs the winner directly qualifies to the Candidates (and everybody has 2 tries, as mentioned).
The single Grand Prix tournament would be much more exciting that way as well.
That is just an example. There might be other similar and relatively simple modifications possible to improve the Classical cycle.

wortwart's picture

I don't think complaints about a "chess lottery" and advocating a Swiss tournament go together very well - the tiebreaks in a Swiss are really a matter of luck as they are not under the player's control other than the outcome of a knockout (or do you want rapid games as a tiebreak for the Swiss?).

I am still a fan of the big old round-robin-interzonals but I also have to admit that I've been pretty much entertained by the World Cup (that is, since they don't regard it as a world championship anymore) - much more than by most Swiss and round robins. I think it's only fair to give the survivors of this tough knockout marathon a spot in the world championship.

Helmer's picture

Chess is a drawish game.
That's why doing without Rapid tiebreaks at all is a mixed blessing.
When there were Rapid tiebreaks after that Swiss tournament, then (in contrast to the World Cup) at least only the best performing players of the Classical "stage" would take part in them. That would at least be an improvement.
Other tiebreak criterias are also better than the World Cup as at least only the best performing players of the Classical "stage" would take part in the "lottery".

anonymous's picture

hopefully they won't ruin the world championship anand - carlsen with draws or with that stupid tiebreak

Anonymous's picture

Everybody is with disease of names, which causes more conflicts with knockout, etc.
1. Standard
2. Rapid
3. blitz.
If it were called differently, everybody would understand.
1. Chess
2. Bad chess
3. Terrible chess.
Please agree. You can also give better names for two and three, I cannot think myself of better.This is not like athletics, where 100 meters, 400 meters, 1500 meters mean something else.

Anonymous's picture

I forgot:
4. Armageddon

4. Anti-chess.

Soviet School's picture

My guess is that the correlation in blitz chess results with standard is about .9 so they are measuring the same thing, in fact rapid time controls sort out chess skill even better than slow time controls. IMHO a 4 hour long blitz match would sort out who is better much more than 1 clasical

strana's picture

You probably is someone who only pay atention to ratings. If player 'A" has a better rating than player "B" it means certainly that "A" is stronger.
Tomashevsky is part of the russian national team, was already European Individual Champion ( one of the most important tournaments of the year).
Andreikin is a former World Junior Champion and is the currently Russian Champion, playing against Svidler, Karjakin, Grischuk.... . He is considered an incredibly talent. Last year, after the first round of the Russian Championship, Evgeny Atarov and Vlad Tkachiev wrote ' that he (Andreikin) is an exceptionally talented chess player, probably the most talented in Russia since Grischuk,but for a long time Dmitry has been let down by his complete lack of interest in working on the opening".
So, it is perfectly natural to see one of them in the Candidates. Also Maxime Vachier is no surprise at all, he can beat Kramnik and reach Candidates.

strana's picture

You look like to pay too much atention to ratings.
Tomashevsky is part of the RUSSIAN team and is a former European Individual Champion, one of the most important tournaments of the year.
Andreikin is incredibly talented and is the current Russian Champion, playing against Svidler, Grischuk, Karjakin..... He recently beat Kramnik twice, including one with black pieces.
Evgeny Atarov and Vlad Tkachiev wrote after the first round of russian championship last year "that he (Andreikin) is an exceptionally talented chess player, probably the most talented in Russia since Grischuk, but for a long time Dmitry has been let down by his complete lack of interest in working on the opening".
So, I believe it is completely natural to see one of them in the Candidates. Also Maxime Vachier is no surprise, he can beat Kramnik and reach the Candidates too.

Helmer's picture

similar "recommendation letters" can be found for so many young players.
Also for Caruana, Giri, Areshchenko, Korobov and others.
Maybe the Candidates tournament should be extended to 24 players and 46 rounds. :)

Anonymous's picture

So they should earn that laude qualifying for the semifinals in the World Cup as they do.

strana's picture

Just change the nationality of Andreikin and Tomashevsky for a Western country and I am sure you would say that they completely deserved to reach semi-finals. For example, you do not say that Maxime, someone who did not achieve more than the 2 russians in his career, is an undeserved semi-finalist. It is certainly sad for you, but the russians are not bad players.

Vde's picture

Well the former eliminated So, Aronian, Morozevich and Kamsky and the latter eliminated Leko, Dreev, Karjakin and Svidler. They both played quite well in this tournament.

Alternatively, Swiss system tournament tie-breaks are also a lottery (or maybe you would prefer play-off rapid and blitz games in case of a tie?)

Unanimous's picture

Andreikin did not eliminate Leko.

Frank's picture

I think there is nothing bad on giving two place in a tournament like the world cup. There are still the rating spots and the Grand Prix Series, so this sometomes adds new blood to the otherwise static participant list. And it surely was an interesting tournement so far!
Honestly, i dont understand why so many people complain if the favourites dont make their way through. Chess after all (also) is a sport. I would habe liked to see more games by Aronian, but thats the way it is...

Tim-Jake in London's picture

Andreikin played the Trompowsky not the Torre. A book has just been published on it which cd also help its popularity.

sofa phòng khách's picture

Yes, it's the Trompowsky, not the Torre. These are two different openings

Remco G's picture

But after 7.Ngf3 play has transposed to the Torre, hasn't it?

Anonymous's picture

First picture gives one spectator. What's there to see from the chair?

Anon's picture

Dont understand the qualification systems in chess.

Bartleby's picture

(@Helmer: Areshchenko, really?)

Lesson of the day: Don't move your f pawn!

Svidler tried to achieve full equality, but got a problem with his king instead. Andreikin jumped on him, a miscalculation, and it was over.

Even survival artist Caruana couldn't hold together the ruins of a busted stonewall.

The rapid games were relayed by two focused and insightful commentators. Short even predicted the blunders. No computer is able to do that. Good entertainment. Thank you.

Soviet School's picture

Agree Short's often highlighted variations that the players say we're important afterwards. Short mentioned that he did not play in this as he did not want to play European individual in order to try to .qualify.

A bit of a gamble of Caruana to play Dutch, it reminded me of when Topalov overpresed in 2010 as he feared Anand's rapid superiority.

In earlier rapid ounds I was surprised at how often the players were getting up and walking around st my experience most players are sat down throughout a rapid game, maybe it was the effect of tension and these guys do not need to look at board any way?

Soviet School's picture

In a Swiss system you would get problems with games being of different importance to players.

The strength of this KO format is every game is vital and of equal importance to both players.

If this format was more common then the better players would win more often and some of the lesser known players get an occasional lucky break, just lke tennis Federer won Wimbledon many times but sometimes ivanesovic got a deserved victory.
This tournament has introduced some excellent but lesser known players to public attention.

Helmer's picture

What do you mean by "games of different importance to players" in a Swiss?
All players are supposed to play for the World championship and not for Elo or rating prizes or whatever.
Furthermore your opponents are (almost) always on the same points as you.
Even games in the Candidates tournament could be "of different importance" with this general wording.

And are you indicating games of a Swiss tournament were not vital?

Thomas Oliver's picture

General comment and @Helmer: This World Cup - most favorites eliminated before the semifinals - is pretty unique in the long history of knockout events. Now players seeded third, 21nd, 23rd and 32nd reached the semifinal. In Men's (or open) events, something similar happened last at the 1999 WCh in Las Vegas (#5, 31, 36 and 46 in the semifinal). A female analogue is fairly recent, the last knockout Women WCh (#s12, 15, 16 and 30 - #30 won in the end).

In other World Cups and other Women WCh's, favorites did a better job. Sticking to the World Cups:
2005 #s 2, 3, 4 and 9
2007 #s 5, 10, 11 and 17
2009 #s 1, 7, 12 and 22
2011 #s 2, 4, 6 and 9

Tomashevsky or Andreikin will qualify for the candidates event, so what? They earned their spot, it's futile to suggest that other players would be more worthy. They may be higher-rated, more well-known, more popular - but they didn't qualify, simple as that.

Anonymous's picture

"Tomashevsky or Andreikin will qualify for the candidates event, so what? They earned their spot, it's futile to suggest that other players would be more worthy. They may be higher-rated, more well-known, more popular - but they didn't qualify, simple as that."
And Carlsen qualified for the World Championship match, so what? He earned his spot, it´s futile to suggest that Kramnik would be more worthy. Kramnik didn´t qualify, simple as that. :-)

Thomas Oliver's picture

On one hand, it's a fact and has to be accepted that Carlsen qualified for the WCh match. Yet, another fact is that Carlsen - despite his pre-tournament status as so-called heavy favorite -wasn't better than but tied with Kramnik in the candidates event.

By objective criteria (match result), Tomashevsky and Andreikin were, at this occasion, demonstrably better than several higher-rated opponents: Aronian, Kamsky, Karjakin, Svidler, ... .

Regarding the discussion on whether "I played quite well" is arrogant: If that's the case, words are lacking for "I deserved to qualify because I played the best chess" (Carlsen after the candidates event).

Anonymous's picture

"words are lacking for "I deserved to qualify because I played the best chess" (Carlsen after the candidates event)"

What he said was that he played the best chess in the first 11 rounds and that he thought he did pretty well overall and deserved to win, as well as that he was very impressed with Kramnik.

Anonymous's picture

"another fact is that Carlsen - despite his pre-tournament status as so-called heavy favorite -wasn't better than but tied with Kramnik"

Carlsen wasn't the "so-called" heavy favourite, he was the heavy favourite. Just like Kramnik was the heavy favourite in Dortmund the last years without winning it is by no means certain that the heavy favourite always wins with a big margin.


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