Saturday, 12 September 2015

2015 World Cup - Day 1

The 2015 World Cup in Baku has started with a few small surprises, but nothing too dramatic. The top seeds either won their games, or at least drew, although some draws seemed harder than others. Anish Giri played 158 moves against Arthur Ssegwanyi, trying to convert a pawn advantage in a rook ending, but determined defence saw the game end with just kings on the board.
Leinier Dominguez Perez was the highest seeded player to lose, being beaten by Federico Perez Ponsa on board 18. Hrant Melkumyan also had a good start, beating the higher rated Gata Kamsky on board 47.
For Australian fans, Max Illingworth started his game against Pentala Harikrishna well, and even had a slight advantage in the middle game. His passed a pawns were dangerous, and eventually he was able to win a piece for them. Unfortunately the extra pawns that Harikrishna had in return proved to be more dangerous and Illingworth was unable to stop them charging down the board.
Tonight is the second half of the round one matches, with any tied matches going into playoffs tomorrow. I suspect higher seeded players already ahead will be happy to draw, although the other matches should remain competitive.

Illingworth,Max (2517) - Harikrishna,Pentala (2737) [A15]
FIDE World Cup 2015 Baku AZE (1.14), 13.09.2015

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