The 2015 FIDE World Chess Cup is finished! The massive 128 player KO gathers some of the top players in the World, as well as qualifiers from every region and every continent. The winner taken home a massive USD$120,000 (minus the usual 20% FIDE tax). Both the winner and the runner-up directly qualify to next year’s Candidates Tournament.

The format was rather simple. The player’s  was played two games against each other, one with white and one with black. In case of a tie, a third day will be used for tiebreaks: colors will be drawn and the day will start with two rapid games (25+10). If still tied, colors will be redrawn and two quick games (10+10) will be played. If still tied, colors will be redrawn and two blitz games will be played (5+3).
If this is still drawn the the players shall play a single decisive sudden death game. The player who wins the drawing of lots may choose the color. 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 was declared the winner.

Round One

The tournament started followed the normal patterns of a KO: The top seeds cruised through their first round, while most of the tough matches came in the middle, where players of similar rating faced each other. That being said, we did have 64 games of action packed chess!

Wesley So finished the two games vs Parham Maghsoodloo of Iran in round 1. Both in an English openings, the first one in 43 moves of English Symmetrical variation while the second was a 40 moves. It marks as a good start for Wesley on this tournament.

Event: FIDE World Cup 2015
Site: Baku AZE
Date: 2015.09.11
Round: 1
White: So, Wesley – 2773
Black: Maghsoodloo, Parham – 2447
Result: 1-0
ECO: A30 – English, Symmetrical

1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6 4. e3 Nf6 5. d4 cxd4 6. exd4 d5 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8.Qb3 Nxc3 9. Bc4 Nd5 10. Bxd5 e6 11. Bxc6+ bxc6 12. O-O f6 13. Be3 Qd5 14. Rfc1 Bd6 15. Nd2 Bd7 16. Nc4 Be7 17. Bf4 O-O 18. Qg3 Be8 19. Bd6 Bxd6 20. Nxd6 Qxd4 21. Qa3 Rb8 22. Rd1 Qxb2 23. Qxa7 Bf7 24. Qe7 f5 25. h4 e5 26. h5 e4 27. h6 e3 28. Qxe3 Bd5 29. Rab1 Qf6 30. Rxb8 Rxb8 31. Ne8 Qf8 32. Re1 Be4 33. Nc7 Qf7 34. Na6 Ra8 35. Nc5 Rxa2 36. f3 Bd5 37. Qg5 Qc7 38. Qf6 Ra8 39. Nd7 Qxd7 40. Re7 Qxe7 41. Qxe7 Bf7 42. Qf6 Kf8 43. Qh8+ 1-0

Event: FIDE World Cup 2015
Site: Baku AZE
Date: 2015.09.13
Round: 1.5
White: Maghsoodloo, Parham – 2447
Black: So, Wesley – 2773
Result: 0-1
ECO: A22 – English

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 Bb4 4. Bg2 O-O 5. Nf3 e4 6. Nd4 Nc6 7. Nc2 Bxc3 8.
dxc3 h6 9. O-O Re8 10. Ne3 d6 11. f3 Ne5 12. b3 Bd7 13. Qc2 exf3 14. exf3 Qc8 15. Bd2 Bh3 16. Rad1 Bxg2 17. Kxg2 Qd7 18. Bc1 Re6 19. Nf5 Ng6 20. Rf2 Rae8 21. Nd4 Re5 22. h3 b6 23. a4 d5 24. cxd5 Rh5 25. h4 Rxd5 26. Rdd2 Ne5 27. b4 c5 28. bxc5 bxc5 29. Nb3 c4 30. Nd4 Nd3 31. Rxd3 cxd3 32. Qxd3 Qxa4 33. Bb2 Rc5 34. Nf5 Qd7 35. Qxd7 Nxd7 36. Nd6 Re6 37. Rd2 Nb6 38. Ne4 Rd5 39. Kf2 Rxd2+ 40. Nxd2 Rc6 0-1

The round 1 had many tiebreaks with the rapid format. Only one 2700 has been eliminated so far (Ni Hua) and several have not secured their spot in the next round just yet. Wesley is one excemption to that. Classical chess eliminations saw few surprises, with two of the highest rated players knocked out being from America: Ray Robson and former World Cup winner Gata Kamsky.

Round 2

Fights Continue!

Wesley So’s patience paid off facing Csaba Balogh of Hungary. Two back-to-back wins again for Wesley and a 4-0 straingt wins!

Event: FIDE World Cup 2015
Site: Baku AZE
Date: 2015.09.14
Round: 2
White: Balogh, Csaba – 2659
Black: So, Wesley – 2773
Result: 0-1
ECO: C65 – Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. h3 Ne7 8. Ba4 a6 9. Nbd2 Ba7 10. d4 Ng6 11. Re1 c5 12. d5 c4 13. Bc2 b5 14. Nf1 Bd7 15. Be3 Qc7 16. N3h2 a5 17. Ng4 Nxe4 18. Bxe4 f5 19. Bc2 fxg4 20. hxg4 a4 21. a3 Ne7 22. Bxa7 Qxa7 23. Ne3 Rf6 24. f3 Raf8 25. Be4 h6 26. g3 Be8 27. Kg2 Bg6 28. Qe2 Qd7 29. Rf1 Qe8 30. Qc2 Bxe4 31. Qxe4 Qg6 32. Qxg6 Nxg6 33. Rf2 Ne7 34. Raf1 g5 35. Rd2 Kf7 36. Rdd1 Ke8 37. Rd2 Kd7 38. Rff2 Kc7 39. Rf1 Kb6 40. Rdd1 Kc5 41. Rd2 R6f7 42. Rdd1 Ng8 43. Rd2 Nf6 44. Rh1 Rh7 45. Rdd1 Rfh8 46. Rh2 h5 47. gxh5 Rxh5 48. Rxh5 Rxh5 49. Rd2 Rh8 50. Rd1 Rg8 51. Rd2 e4 52. fxe4 Nxe4 53. Rd4 Nf6 54. Ng4 Nxg4 55. Rxg4 Re8 56. Kf3 Re5 57. Re4 Rf5+ 58. Kg4 Rf2 59. Kxg5 Rxb2 60. g4 Rb3 61. Re3 Rxa3 62. Kf6 Ra1 63. Rf3 a3 64. g5 Rg1 65. Rf2 b4 66. cxb4+ Kxb4 67. Ke6 Kb3 0-1

Event: FIDE World Cup 2015
Site: Baku AZE
Date: 2015.09.15
Round: 2.5
White: So, Wesley – 2773
Black: Balogh, Csaba – 2659
Result: 1-0
ECO: A21 – English

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 c5 3. g3 Nc6 4. Bg2 g6 5. a3 Nge7 6. Ne4 Nf5 7. d3 Be7 8. e3 h5 9. Ne2 Kf8 10. N2c3 Kg7 11. Nd5 a5 12. O-O d6 13. d4 cxd4 14. exd4 Ncxd4 15. Nxe7 Nxe7 16. Bg5 f5 17. Bf6+ Kf7 18. f4 fxe4 19. fxe5 Nf3+ 20. Bxf3 exf3 21. Bxh8 Qb6+ 22. Rf2 Bg4 23. exd6 Rd8 24. c5 Qxc5 25. Qb3+ Nd5 26. Be5 a4 27. Qxa4 Re8 28. Qd4 Qxd4 29. Bxd4 Re4 30. Bc5 Ke6 31. Rd1 b6 32. Bb4 Nxb4 33. axb4 Kd7 34. h3 1-0

Round 3

Down to the round of 32, there are some fascinating duels despite the high number of draws in the third round, there were many hard fights and a couple of lucky saves. Wesley So held by Le Quang Liem in two games and goes to the tie-breaks this time!

Event: FIDE World Cup 2015
Site: Baku AZE
Date: 2015.09.17
Round: 3
White: So, Wesley – 2773
Black: Le, Quang Liem – 2697
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO: D31 – Queens Gambit Declined

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 4. Bf4 Nf6 5. e3 O-O 6. Nf3 Nbd7 7. c5 Ne4 8. Nxe4 dxe4 9. Ne5 Nxe5 10. Bxe5 Bd7 11. Bc4 Bf6 12. Bg3 Bc6 13. b4 b5 14. cxb6 cxb6 15. Qe2 Be7 16. O-O Bd5 17. a3 a5 18. bxa5 Rxa5 19. a4 Bxc4 20. Qxc4 Qa8 21. Qc7 Bd8 22. Qc2 Bf6 23. Qb2 Rxa4 24. Rxa4 Qxa4 25. Qxb6 Rc8 26. Rb1 h6 27. h4 h5 28. Kh2 Qc6 29. Qa5 g6 30. Rb6 Ra8 31. Qc5 Qxc5 32. dxc5 Kf8 33. c6 Ke8 34. Kh3 Rc8 35. Bd6 Be7 36. Be5 f6 37. Bc3 e5 38. Ra6 Bd6 39. Ba5 Ke7 40. Ra7+ Ke6 41. Rg7 Rxc6 42. Rxg6 Rc2 43. Kg3 Kf7 44. Rh6 Bf8 45. Rxh5 Kg6 46. Rh8 Kg7 47. Rh5 Kg6 48. Rh8 Kg7 49. Rh5 1/2-1/2

Event: FIDE World Cup 2015
Site: Baku AZE
Date: 2015.09.18
Round: 3.5
White: Le, Quang Liem – 2697
Black: So, Wesley – 2773
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO: A37 – English Symmetrical

1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 e6 6. O-O Nge7 7. e3 O-O 8. d4 cxd4 9. Nxd4 d5 10. cxd5 Nxd5 11. Nxd5 exd5 12. Qb3 Nxd4 13. exd4 Be6 14. Be3 Qd7 15. Rac1 Rac8 16. Rfd1 Rfe8 17. Bf1 Bg4 18. Re1 Bf3 19. Qb5 Bg4 20. Qa5 b6 21. Qb5 Qxb5 22. Bxb5 Rxc1 23. Rxc1 Rc8 24. Rxc8+ Bxc8 25. Bc6 Be6 26. Kf1 Bf6 27. f3 Kg7 28. Ke2 g5 29. g4 Be7 30. Bf2 Bd6 31. Bg3 Bxg3 32. hxg3 Kf6 33. Ke3 Ke7 34. Bb5 a5 35. a3 1/2-1/2

Round 3 – Tie-Break

Baku third round Tie-break was a nail biters! Sample of the game between Le Quang Liem and Wesley So and Le was unfortunate enough to mate himself against So.

Event: FIDE World Cup 2015
Site: Baku AZE
Date: 2015.09.18
Round: 3.5.1
White: Le, Quang Liem – 2697
Black: So, Wesley – 2773
Result: 0-1
ECO: E53 – Nimzo-Indian, with 4.e3
Annotator: Ramirez Alvarez, Alejandro

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Bd3 d5 6. Nf3 c5 7. cxd5 exd5 8. dxc5 Nbd7 9. Bd2 Nxc5 10. Be2 Ba5 11. O-O Nce4 12. Nxe4 dxe4 13. Nd4 Bxd2 14. Qxd2 Bg4 15. h3 Bxe2 16. Qxe2 Rc8 17. Rac1 a6 18. Rc2 Qd7 19. Rfc1 g6 20. Rc4 Nd5 21. Qg4 Qxg4 22. hxg4 Rxc4 23. Rxc4 Re8 24. Kh2 Re5 25. Kg3 Kg7 26. Nb3 b6 27. Nd2 Nf6 28. Rc6 Rd5 29. Nb3 Rb5   White has been pressing slightly, but the endgame is close to a draw.
30. Kf4?  Step one to suicide. 30…h5 31. Rc2?
  [31. gxh5 Rf5+ 32. Kg3 Nxh5+ 33. Kh4 Rxf2]
  [31. f3 exf3 32. gxf3 hxg4 33.fxg4 Rb4+ 34. Nd4 Rxb2 is unpleasant but White has chances.]
31… h4 Suddenly White is getting mated. 32. Nc5  Otherwise g5 is mate.
  [32. g5 Rf5#]
32… Rxc5  A clean extra piece is more than enough for Wesley So. 33. Rxc5 bxc5 34. g5 Nh7 35. Kg4 f5+ 36. gxf6+ Kxf6 37. Kxh4 Kf5 0-1

Here, Wesley just needed a draw to move to the next round!

Event: FIDE World Cup 2015
Site: Baku AZE
Date: 2015.09.19
Round: 3.5.2
White: So, Wesley – 2773
Black: Le, Quang Liem – 2697
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO: C67 – Ruy Lopez

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. h3 Ke8 10. Nc3 h5 11. Bf4 Be7 12. Rad1 Bd7 13. Ne2 Rd8 14. Bg5 Bc8 15. Rxd8+ Bxd8 16. Rd1 Be7 17. b3 f6 18. Bf4 Bd8 19. Bh2 Kf7 20. Kf1 Re8 21. Nf4 h4 22. Nd3 b6 23. c4 c5 24. exf6 gxf6 25. Nf4 c6 26. Nd3 a5 27. Nb2 b5 28. a4 Be6 29. Rd3 Bb6 30. Bf4 Rd8 31. Rxd8 Bxd8 32. Ke2 Nd4+ 33. Nxd4 cxd4 34. Kd3 Bb6 35. Kc2 Bf5+ 36. Kd2 Be6 37. f3 Ke7 38. Kc2 Bf5+ 39. Kd2 Be6 40. Bh2 Bc5 41. Kc2 Bf5+ 42. Nd3 bxc4 43. bxc4 Bd6 44. Bg1 c5 45. Bf2 Bg3 46. Bxg3 hxg3 47. h4 Kf7 48. Kd2 Bxd3 49. Kxd3 Kg6 50. Kd2 Kh5 51. Kd3 Kxh4 52. Kd2 Kg5 53. Kd3 Kf4 54. Kd2 Ke5 55. Kd3 f5 56. Kd2 Kf4 57. Kd3 Ke5 1/2-1/2

Round 4

Here Wesley So survive his game one with a 41 moves Ruy Lopez game.

Event: FIDE World Cup 2015
Site: Baku AZE
Date: 2015.09.20
Round: 4
White: Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime – 2744
Black: So, Wesley – 2773
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO: C67 – Ruy Lopez

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. Re1 Nd6 6. Nxe5 Be7 7. Bf1 Nxe5 8. Rxe5 O-O 9. Nc3 Bf6 10. Re1 Re8 11. Nd5 Rxe1 12. Qxe1 b6 13. d3 Bb7 14. Nxf6+ Qxf6 15. Qb4 Nf5 16. c3 Re8 17. Bd2 c5 18. Qf4 h6 19. Re1 Rxe1 20. Bxe1 d6 21. h4 g6 22. Bd2 h5 23. Qa4 a6 24. Qd7 Qe7 25. Qxe7 Nxe7 26. Bf4 Nf5 27. f3 f6 28. Kf2 Kf7 29. g4 Nxh4 30. Bxd6 Nxf3 31. gxh5 Ng5 32. hxg6+ Kxg6 33. Ke3 Ne6 34. d4 cxd4+ 35. cxd4 b5 36. Bd3+ f5 37. Bc2 Kg5 38. Bb3 f4+ 39. Kd3 Kf5 40. d5 Ng5 41. Kd4 1/2-1/2

Game 2 was lost in a 68 moves of an English opening. A rare loss for Wesley and he is eliminated in the World Cup.

Event: FIDE World Cup 2015
Site: Baku AZE
Date: 2015.09.21
Round: 4.5
White: So, Wesley – 2773
Black: Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime – 2744
Result: 0-1
ECO: A33 – English, Symmetrical
Annotator: Ramirez Alvarez, Alejandro

1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. Bf4 d5 7. e3 Bb4 8. Be2 O-O 9. O-O Bxc3 10. bxc3 Re8 11. Bg5 h6 12. Bxf6 Qxf6 13. cxd5 exd5 14. Qb3 Rd8 15. Bf3 Na5 16. Qb5 Qb6 17. Qxb6 axb6 18. Rfb1 Nc4 19. Rb4 Ra3 20. Nb5 Ra5 21. h3 Bd7   So has a bit of a bind in the position. His structure is slightly better and generally he has good pieces. However, here he underestimates Black’s activity.
22. Bxd5
   [22. a4! Would have seen the American press for a while.]
22… Ne5  Perhaps So missed this, only expecting
   [22… Nxe3 23. fxe3 Bxb5 24. Bxb7  The weird thing about the position is that White couldn’t save the piece…]
23. Re4
   [23. Nc7 Rc8]
   [23. Nd4 Rxd5]
   [23. c4 Bxb5]
23… Ng6 24. Bxf7+  This is the best try 24…Kxf7 25. Nd6+ Kg8 26. Nxb7 Bc6! An important resource, otherwise White is better. 27. Rd4 Rxd4 28. Nxa5 Rd6 29. Nxc6 Rxc6  Unforuntately for So he is down a piece here. His three pawns don’t compensate and this will be quite a bit of suffering, though with perfect play I suspect this position is a draw. 30. a4 Rxc3 31. a5 bxa5
32. Rxa5 Rc1+ 33. Kh2 Rc2 34. Kg3 Nf8 35. h4 Nd7 36. Kf3 Kh7 37. Rf5 Nc5 38. g4 Nd3 39. Kg3 g6 40. Rf7+ Kg8 41. Rf6 Kg7 42. g5
It is hard to say where the American went wrong. I have a hunch that this move should be looked at more closely, as I believe it is a mistake to lock the structure like this. Karsten Muller will definitely take a look at this endgame for ChessBase Magazine with the truth of the position.
   [42. Ra6! Rc7 (42… Nxf2! 43. Ra7+ Kf6 44. Ra6+ Ke5 45. Rxg6 Ne4+ 46. Kh3 Re2 47. Rxh6 Rxe3+ 48. Kg2 Kf4 49. Rh7 Re2+ 50. Kh3  And I don’t yet see how Black wins, though it looks very scary. 43. Rd6]
42… h5 43. f3 Ne1 44. e4 Rc3 45. Kf2 Nd3+ 46. Kg3 Ne5 47. Kg2 Rc6 48. Rxc6 Nxc6 49. f4 Kf7 50. Kf3 Ke6 51. Ke3 Kd6 52. Kd2 Kc5 53. Kd3 Kb4 54. Kd2 Kc4 55. Ke3 Kc5 56. Kd3 Nd8 57. Ke3 Nf7 58. Kd3 Nd6 59. Ke3 Kc4 60. f5 Ne8 61. fxg6 Ng7 62. e5 Kd5 63. Kf4 Kd4 64. e6 Kd5 65. e7 Ke6 66. Ke4 Kxe7 67. Ke5 Ke8 68. Kd5 Kd7 0-1

Advertisements