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World Cup 2019 Rd 1.2: The fighters who never give up!

by Sagar Shah - 12/09/2019

After the two classical games of the World Cup 2019 in round one, we have nine out of the ten Indians still in fray. Karthikeyan Murali lost to Inarkiev and was eliminated with a score of 1.5-0.5. Ganguly, Sethuraman and S.L. Narayanan had their backs to the wall as all three of them had lost their game one, but the trio fought back and registered victories to force their match into tiebreaks. Nihal Sarin and Harikrishna won with a score of 2-0, while Vidit and Adhiban advanced with 1.5-0.5. Aravindh and Abhijeet Gupta are the other two players along with Ganguly, Sethu and Narayanan who will fight it out at the tiebreaks! 

Nine out of Ten Indians still alive at the World Cup 2019

Round 1.1 detailed report: Nihal makes a grand debut

Round 1.2 - The fighters!

Imagine losing your first game to higher rated opponents. Now you are in a must-win situation to avoid elimination! This is a hard place to be at, isn't it? Well, for Ganguly, Sethuraman and S.L. Narayanan, this is exactly where they were! Ganguly had to beat Fedoseev, Sethuraman had to defeat Tamir Nabaty (that too with black pieces) and S.L.Narayanan had to get the better of David Anton! Usually, it is quite possible that you try too hard and lose your second game as well, but somehow all three Indians managed to get just the kind of positions that would give them excellent fighting chances. Let's have a look at their wins!

Surya Sekhar Ganguly (2658) vs Vladimir Fedoseev (2664)

A great comeback by Ganguly playing sublime chess to beat Fedoseev and taking the match to the tiebreaks!| Photo: Niklesh Jain

The move ...Qb6 was just what Ganguly needed to play for a win

The critical error came when Black played the move ...Bf7. The point is very subtle. White attacked the c3 pawn with Ra3 and after Be5 Ganguly surprised Fedoseev with d4! The pawn if taken results into a check on a8 finally when the bishop is lost!

Tamir Nabaty (2658) vs Sethuraman (2624)

Sethuraman complicated the matters beyond Nabaty's reach and won his game with the black pieces. With this he equalized the score and now moves to the tiebreaks!

For Sethuraman, the fact that his opponent Tamir Nabaty could play for a draw was a good sign. In a Sicilian Alapin, Nabaty castled long with the white pieces! The position was so complicated that it was just impossible to keep things under control, but one particular tactic executed by Sethuraman was quite brilliant.


Nabaty vs Sethuraman

Black has just taken the pawn on f2. Can White not win a piece with Nxe4? Well, if White played Nxe4 then Black would reply with ...

...Qg2!! Just aesthetically the position is so pleasing. The bishop on f3 and the queen on g2 work in perfect harmony. One on hand the knight is pinned to the queen and on the other the bishop is pinned to the king! This brilliant piece of calculation gave Sethuraman the full point!

S L Narayanan (2611) vs Anton David Guijarro (2674)

After a pretty lacklustre performance in game one, Narayanan rose up to the occasion and beat Anton David Guijarro. The two will play the tiebreaks now.

S.L. Narayanan's win is even more creditable because he has never played the World Cup before. It's his debut and the 20-year-old managed to play such a nice fighting game to outplay his opponent. I would ask you to pay particular attention to the endgame where the white knight orchestrated a beautiful dance by going from f3-d4-c6 and then again coming back from c6-d4-f3!

Jorge Cori (2676) vs Nihal Sarin (2610)

Nihal Sarin had already won his first round game against Jorge Cori, but he didn't stop just there! He won another game and qualified for the second round with a 2-0 victory!

I think the most difficult phase of the game between Jorge Cori and Nihal Sarin was from moves 11 to 16. White played moves like h3, Be2-f1, Rfe1, Rac1, Rc2, Qe2 and so on. While Black went h6, Rfe8, Rac8, Qe7, Red8.

Jorge's idea was very clear. He wanted to wait and make Nihal commit an error. But Nihal was very smart. He didn't give his opponent an inch! He matched him with patience and when the time was right he opened up the position to his advantage.

Nihal's next opponent - winner between Sam Shankland and Eltaj Safarli

Harikrishna (2738) vs Yuri Gonzalez (2558)

Harikrishna won the second game against Yuri Gonzalez to score 2-0 and proceeded to round two

Next opponent for Hari: winner between Fedoseev and Ganguly

Vidit Gujrathi (2718) vs Alan Pichot (2600)

Vidit beats Alan Pichot and was the first one to move into round two!

What was impressive about Vidit was his determination to grind in that slightly better endgame.


Vidit vs Pichot

It was the moment of truth for Black here. Pichot clearly understood that he had to stay active with ...Rd3+ But after Kf2 what he couldn't make it work was somehow to contain the white king, so that he can give a perpetual, and at the same time also solve the problem of his own king. But here Black had the powerful move...g5 which not only solves his backrank issues but also stops the white king from wandering to h4 after checks. In the game (above position) Alan played ...Rc8 but after that it was all over. Bd5 came in and the knight on c5 was dominated.

Next opponent for Vidit - Aleksandr Rakhmanov

Adhiban (2639) vs Iturrizaga (2626)

Adhiban had won his first game against Iturrizaga and in game two as well he was completely winning. Adhiban took a practical decision and agreed to a draw to advance to round two

Adhiban's next opponent - Winner of Ghaem Maghami and Yu Yangyi

Inarkiev (2693) vs Karthikeyan (2610)

Inarkiev was in top notch form as he dismantled Karthikeyan's King's Indian. Karthikeyan is the first Indian to exit from the World Cup 2019

Anton Korobov (2679) vs Abhijeet Gupta (2609)

Abhijeet Gupta was under grave pressure against Anton Korobov, but he managed to keep his position intact and took the match into tiebreaks

Michael Adams (2694) vs Aravindh Chithambaram (2611)

Aravindh drew his game with ease against Michael Adams and will now try to beat the English legend in the tiebreaks.

Two big names who have been knocked out from the event are David Navara and Radoslaw Wojtaszek by Daniil Yuffa and Johan Sebastien Christiansen. Round two promises some exciting matches ahead, but first the tiebreaks!

Live Games starts at 3:30 p.m. IST

Live commentary

GM Evgenij Miroshnichenko and GM Alex Yermolinsky are the commentators | Video: FIDE official channel

Completed games


Official site

Round 1.1 report: Nihal Sarin makes a grand debut

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