Just three days ago Russian ex-World Champion Vladimir Kramnik was ahead of Wesley So in the world no. 2 spot. Now, after losing first to So and now to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, he trails Wesley by a whopping 14.4 rating points and has dropped below Fabiano Caruana to world no. 4. Wesley, meanwhile, ground another Russian player into dust, making Sergey Karjakin pay a heavy price for entering a worse minor piece ending. Veselin Topalov escaped an opening gone wrong to beat Pavel Eljanov and join So and Adams a full point behind Mamedyarov.

Tune in for all the action with commentary by GMs Igor Khenkin and Ljubomir Ljubojevic click here

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Sep 12, 2019

The 2019 Khanty-Mansiysk World Cup begins

Ding Liren is the top seed as the 128-player month-long World Cup starts on Tuesday in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana and Vishy Anand are skipping the event, but almost all the rest of the world’s best players will be fighting for the $110,000 top prize and two coveted spots in the 2020 Candidates Tournament. We preview arguably the most anticipated chess event of 2019!

The format is the familiar one of six rounds of 2-game matches before the final and 3rd-place playoff are held over four games. If the matches are tied after two games tiebreaks will be played on the 3rd day, with up to seven games at ever shortening time controls (2 x 25+10, 2 x 10+10, 2 x 5+3 and then 5 vs 4 Armageddon). The brutal logic of knockout events means that by Thursday 64 players will already be on their way home. At least before that they got to see some dancing horses…

World Cup facts and figures

1. $1,600,000 is on the line in prize money in Khanty-Mansiysk, with $110,000 for the winner and $6,000 for each of the 64 Round 1 losers.

2. Two places in the 8-player 2020 Candidates Tournament that decides Magnus Carlsen’s next challenger are up for grabs and will go to the players who reach the final. It’s just been announced that the Candidates will take place in Yekaterinburg, Russia, a city that neighbours Khanty-Mansiysk – in the sense of being within a 1000 kilometres! Russia is big…

If Ding Liren, the runner-up in 2017, is one of those two finalists again, that suddenly blows the race to qualify by rating for the Candidates wide open. Anish Giri would currently be Ding’s replacement, but behind him there’s nothing to choose from between MVL, Nepomniachtchi and Mamedyarov.

3. Of the 128 players, 120 are Grandmasters, 5 are International Masters, 2 are FIDE Masters and just one, 2003-born 2407-rated Monoglian Sugar Gan-Erdene is untitled. His first round opponent? Ian Nepomniachtchi.

4. Russia may not be quite the chess power it once was, but of the 128 players 28 are from Russia, 10 from India, 7 from China and 6 from the USA.

5. The youngest player in the tournament is 14-year-old Nodirbek Abdusattorov from Uzbekistan, who will be hoping to celebrate his 15th birthday in Khanty-Mansiysk on September 18th. The oldest player is 53-year-old Essam El-Gindy from Egypt, who starts against Levon Aronian.

6. Just six of the world’s 37 players rated 2700 and over are missing in Khanty-Mansiysk: Magnus Carlsen (of course he has no need to qualify to play himself in a match, though he did choose to play in 2017), Fabiano Caruana (already qualified for the Candidates), Vishy Anand (Vishy has chosen to concentrate on the FIDE Grand Swiss that follows the World Cup), Vladimir Kramnik (retired from classical chess), Veselin Topalov (semi-retired), Richard Rapport (the most puzzling absence – in 2017 Richard reached the quarterfinals, where he lost to Ding Liren).

7. Zero women will play in Khanty-Mansiysk. Ju Wenjun qualified as the Women’s World Champion but has instead chosen to play in the first stage of the 2019-20 FIDE Women’s Grand Prix in the Skolkovo Science Park near Moscow.

8. There are two rest days in this year’s event – a triumph for Alexander Grischuk, who complained about the policy of only having a single rest day in the Grand Prix events, and one placed before the final rather than in the middle. That’s even more of an issue in the month-long World Cup, so this year an extra rest day has been added on September 19th, after Round 3 – that’s good news for anyone who takes all their matches to tiebreaks!

9.  There are four previous World Cup winners in the tournament: Levon Aronian (2005 and 2017), Boris Gelfand (2009), Peter Svidler (2011) and Sergey Karjakin (2015), though if you include the big knockouts that were held as FIDE World Championships before 2005 we also have Ruslan Ponomariov (2002) and Rustam Kasimdzhanov (2004). Ponomariov, who also finished runner-up in 2005 and 2009, was recently described as “an original World Cup gangster” by Peter Svidler, who may meet him in Round 2. In a preview interview Peter commented:

Tuesday’s first-round pairings already include numerous intriguing battles, including a number of young stars in action: Matlakov vs. Abdusattorov, Ponomariov vs. Esipenko, Sevian vs. Tari, Cori vs. Nihal Sarin. Some other matches to watch include Fedoseev vs. Ganguly, Naiditsch vs. Huschenbeth (even if Naiditsch now plays for Azerbaijan that ensures German interest in Round 2!) and Bareev vs. Kasimdzhanov, a clash between the former Russian head coach and the current coach of Fabiano Caruana.

Don’t miss all the action live here on chess24 from 12:00 CEST on Tuesday 9th September, when we’ll have full video coverage in English, Russian and Spanish!

See also:

  • Official website
  • All the 2019 World Cup games with computer analysis on chess24
Nov 05, 2020

Ding Liren is the first of 16 players to be confirmed for the Skilling Open

Ding Liren is the first of 16 players to be confirmed for the Skilling Open, the opening event of the $1.5 million Champions Chess Tour that starts on November 22nd. The Chinese world no. 3 reached the Final 4 of the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour and will be one of the favourites for the new 10-tournament season. That’s not all, as Ding Liren will today take on chess24 Premium users in a Banter Blitz session starting at 15:00 CET!

Ding Liren, playing from behind the Great Firewall of China, had the most internet problems of any player on the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour, with one of the most memorable moments of the whole tour coming when Magnus sacrificed his queen on move 3 to compensate for a loss by disconnect.

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Jan 20, 2020

Tata Steel Masters 2020

Magnus Carlsen finally won a game in 2020, beating Nikita Vitiugov to move within a point of Alireza Firouzja before they meet in Round 9 of the Tata Steel Masters on Tuesday. Alireza drew against Jorden van Foreest and was caught in the lead by Fabiano Caruana, who managed to win a totally lost position against Vishy Anand. Vladislav Kovalev pulled off a similar trick against Jeffery Xiong, while Jan-Krzysztof Duda completed the day’s action by fashioning a win out of nowhere against Yu Yangyi. MORE LATER!

That means Fabiano Caruana is now the co-leader and favorite to win the 2020 Tata Steel Masters, while all eyes will be on Firouzja-Carlsen on Tuesday. Magnus is now within striking distance, but on the other hand Alireza has won all four games he’s played with White so far and was winning before losing on time in the World Blitz Championship in Moscow last month.

Follow all the action live here on chess24: Tata Steel Masters | Tata Steel Challengers

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Official website