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World Cup 07 R2

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What a week. You'd think you might get a little peace and quiet if your boss got jailed, but not when you're trying to rally support for his release. The World Cup continues to roll along and there were plenty of decisive games in the first games of the second round. There was little of the pro-forma "let's just play rapids" drawishness that regularly plagues KO events. One exception was Tiviakov offering a quick draw against Wang Yue in a matchup I tipped as offering interest. Didn't I say when Wang Yue had white? Tivi's openings with black are often entertainingly catastrophic. But another short draw would indicate the fix is in. Gurevich gave Adams a short draw and probably won't see the favor returned since Adams loves his Tarrasch French.

The fix was definitely not in for third seed Teimour Radjabov, although my prediction was much better for this one. Radjabov tried the Schliemann against Macieja and lost with two bishops against two knights in a very fine game by the Pole. His plan of 14.c4! with c5 coming left White with a strong and mobile pawn pair in the center. Radjabov has played 3..f5 against the Ruy quite a few times this year in rapid games, including the line in this game. Black never really came close to having enough activity to compensate for his Irish pawn center on the queenside. Macieja nabbed one of those pawns with the cute 29.Nxc6! and it was pretty much over. Hmm, perhaps there's a reason the Schliemann is so rarely seen at the top level.

Things went better for the other favorites. Mamedyarov finished off Kozul and Aronian beat Gustafsson in the razor-sharp Semi-Slav line we saw so much of in Mexico. Svidler beat Pavasovic with an e5 push that would have made Nimzowitsch proud. Check out games 14 and 16 of the 1986 K-K WCh match. Or go back to De Labourdonnais-MacDonnell to see them play this structure out of the Lopez over and over but in a very different (we might say primitive) way. Svidler offered a pawn but Black declined to go in for 23..Qxa5 and the likely 25.Ngf5!? with a strong attack. Carlsen did a good job of turning nothing into something against Naiditsch but couldn't get enough to win the rook endgame. After 67..Kf5 it's a dead draw. 67.Rf6 to cut off the king looks like a good try to keep playing for a win. Hmm, quite hard to deal with, actually.

Speaking of the Benoni, Kamsky outplayed Avrukh on the black side to put himself in an excellent position to move into the third round only needing a draw tomorrow. Maybe another Benoni, the opening of choice when you must play to win with black against 1.d4. Onischuk also scored a full point for the USA in aggressive fashion against Nikolic. He sacrificed the exchange on e6 to shatter the black kingside and held on to the initiative to the end, when Nikolic blundered a piece. Ponomariov lost with white to Wang Hao and this time a comeback won't be as easy as it was in the first round.

Results and games here. I haven't had time to follow the live broadcasts lately. How are they going? The scores I'm getting still have a few errors in them (see the score for the Svidler win).

Update: Onischuk is through already, getting the better of things with black against Nikolic after a dozen moves and accepting the draw offer on move 15. Nikolic must have been rather disgusted with himself. Hard to imagine not playing on till the bitter end in a KO situation. Aronian is also through, reaching a drawn endgame with Gustafsson. Kamsky is probably already winning against Avrukh's desperation Benoni (!).


http://www.ugra-chess.ru/eng/main_e.htm - official website

http://www.chessdom.com/ - live commentary

http://chessbase.com/ - reports by Efstratios Grivas

http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/ - for the US players

What, pray tell, is an 'Irish' pawn centre?

An Irish pawn centre is tripled pawns (preferably, but not essentially in the centre). An excellent term, coined by the late, great Tony Miles.

Radjabov just lost and is out.

Ponomariov seems to be living dangerously but surviving. He won the second game with black to force rapids.

Out of 44 different people who suffered a first game loss in either round 1 or round 2, only three have managed to equalize (Ponomariov, Alekseev, and Mateusz Bartel). Pono has done it twice.

Only two people have lost a match after winning the first game (Essam El Gindy and Anuar Ismagambetov). If Wang Hao loses the play-off to Pono tomorrow, the Ukrainian will have been responsible for two thirds of the heartbreaks so far!

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    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 28, 2007 3:02 AM.

    World Cup 07 Round 1 Recap was the previous entry in this blog.

    Karpov Denied Kasparov Jail Visit is the next entry in this blog.

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