03 Aug FIDE World Cup 2021 – Round 2
The Indian player played the Nimzo-Indian Defense and sacrificed two pawns to pose a strong attack. White played a brilliant move in the middle game, which was c5 followed by Bc4+. This left Black’s Queen and Queenside pieces unconnected, making the defense weak. To further strengthen this ongoing attack, the Indian Grand Master made a wonderful Queen sacrifice on the 22nd move, which forced Black to resign as a checkmate was following this sacrifice.
The World Champion Magnus Carlsen made his debut in the second round with a technical win against Grand Master Sasa Martinovic (2548). GM Sasa Martinovic was playing this round on his birthday but unfortunately lost a pawn in the middle game because of an error in some technical calculations.
Although it wasn’t an easy win, Magnus’s end game skills were highlighted as he paved his path towards victory. Just before this game, Carlsen received the 2020 Fair Play Svetozar Gligoric Award.
In the Women’s Section, the Indian Grand Master Harika Dronavalli (2515) played a tactical game against Indonesian Woman International Master Medina Warda Aulia (2360). The Indonesian player began the game with the Ruy Lopez Opening that allowed Harika to promote her pawn into Black’s territory. This positional advantage allowed the Indian Grand Master to win this game.
Second Game of Round 2
The second game of the second round was held on the 16th of July, Friday. Spectators missed the World No.5 Grand Master Levon Aronian who had to withdraw on health grounds.
Among the first few games to finish in the second game was GM Maxime Vachier-Lagraeve’s victory against Grand Master Elshan Moradiabadi. GM Elshan made a mistake on the 13th move that put Black under a lot of pressure to which GM Vachier responded with an excellent Bf4 on the 15th move. This allowed White to gain a strong position in the game.
Magnus Carlsen played a brilliant second match GM Sasa Martinovic where World Champion Carlsen once again showed exceptional technique. The end game was between Carlsen’s Knight and Martinovic’s Bishop with both opponents having equal number of pawns. The game seemed like a draw till Martinovic made blunders on the 53rd and 54th move.
A fine game in the Women’s World Cup was between Russian Grand Master Alina Kashlinskaya and Cuba’s International Master Lisandra Ordaz. Although the opening was equal in this game, Ordaz made a mistake on the 13th move. Kashlinskaya exploited this mistake and won this game after playing a strategic end game.
Spectators believe that one of the best games of the day was between Grand Master Alexandra Kosteniuk and WGM Deysi Cori. Although Kosteniuk was an exchange down, she used her two Bishops and an active King to block Cori’s Rook. Kosteniuk then created a passed pawn in the centre and her opponent was unable to stop the advancement of this pawn making Kosteniuk the winner.
Unfortunately a few players had to withdraw from the event on health grounds for the safety of the other players. The tiebreaks of the second round took place on the following day.