Three members of the Indonesian delegation at the 2021 FIDE World Cup have tested positive for Covid-19. GM Fabiano Caruana was awarded a win when his opponent GM Susanto Megaranto’s test result was positive. GM Levon Aronian forfeited his game for having fever symptoms and announced on Friday that he had withdrawn from the tournament.
Despite strong measures and clear regulations to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, the World Cup couldn’t avoid being hit by cases of Covid-19. Three members from Indonesia have now tested positive, affecting two matches.
GM and chess journalist Ian Rogers reports that Head of Delegation Kristianus Liem was diagnosed first. Before the first round, IM Mohamad Ervan got the bad news as well and had to forfeit his match with GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov.
The third was Megaranto, who learned about his positive test result during his game with Caruana, which was immediately stopped and declared a win for the American player. Following procedures, both players were immediately isolated.
Without mentioning his name, FIDE communicated via social media that Megaranto had been tested negative three times in Sochi before a fourth test came out positive. This test result was supposed to arrive before 13:00 p.m. local time but was delayed by a few hours. FIDE is investigating why this happened.
The player who has been forced to forfeit his game today had been tested before his trip, and then again in Sochi on July 10th, July 11th, and July 14th.
After three negatives, it was this last test the one that turned out to be positive. [1/3]
— International Chess Federation (@FIDE_chess) July 15, 2021
It is not immediately clear what the situation is regarding the Caruana-Megaranto match. According to Chess.com’s photographer Maria Emelianova, Megaranto will remain under medical supervision, and it’s not known yet whether the second game will be played. Caruana will take another test on Friday. He is showing no symptoms but is self-isolating in his hotel room.
I hope Mr. Megaranto is feeling well – he seemed to be completely fine during the game, so the way the match ended was a very unpleasant shock. I’ll take a test tomorrow to determine if I was exposed to covid and hopefully I can continue the event after that.
— Fabiano Caruana (@FabianoCaruana) July 15, 2021
Megaranto was wearing a face mask during the game; Caruana was not. Players are obliged to wear face masks in all public areas but not during a game. Each day, the arbiters tell the players that handshakes are not recommended, which can lead to some confusion.
— Chess.com (@chesscom) July 16, 2021
Megaranto is the only Indonesian player in the open section. The two female players from Indonesia, IM Irine Sukandar and IM Medina Warda Aulia, haven’t had symptoms and haven’t tested positive. Sukandar has taken a lot of effort to confirm that she doesn’t have the virus.
It can be implied that I love PCR tests so much 😂 Taking another one at Sochi-Adler airport now at 2am so the result will be in time before the game tomorrow. Hopefully still negative 🙏 pic.twitter.com/yOqg5h4FIZ
— Irene Sukandar (@irene_sukandar) July 15, 2021
Sukandar has already confirmed that her last test was also negative.
Update: The two female from Indonesia players won’t continue their tournament either:
However, in order to not risk the safety of other players they have decided, in agreement with the organisation, to withdraw from the second game of the second round. As a result, their opponents, Harika Dronavalli and Valentina Gunina, will advance directly to the third round.
— International Chess Federation (@FIDE_chess) July 16, 2021
Meanwhile, two-time winner Aronian didn’t even show up for his game with GM Bobby Cheng (Australia). The Armenian grandmaster had some symptoms of fever earlier this week. Even though he felt well on Thursday, it was decided that he wouldn’t play in order to not risk the safety of other players. He has now announced on Facebook that he won’t play anymore:
Alongside all the Covid turmoil, the first day of the second round saw a lot of great chess. Among many other top grandmasters, World Champion Magnus Carlsen “entered the building” and beat Croatian grandmaster Sasa Martinovic, who was celebrating his 30th birthday.
This round included a bunch of nice attacking games. The first winner of the day was Indian GM Baskaran Adhiban, who beat his opponent from Paraguay with a nice final touch:
One of the absolute top grandmasters from the 1990s and 2000s, GM Alexei Shirov (Spain), joined the party in the second round as well and played a vintage Shirov game against U.S. GM Yaroslav Zherebukh. The latter had celebrated his 28th birthday the day before without the need to play tiebreaks; he had beaten GM Evgenios Ioannidis in the classical games.
Speaking of former top grandmasters, we saw GM Vishy Anand doing well in Zagreb last week (who, by the way, is leading 1.5-0.5 in a four-game No Castling match with GM Vladimir Kramnik in Dortmund!). The opponent of Anand in the 2012 World Championship match, GM Boris Gelfand (Israel), also won a nice game:
There weren’t too many upsets, although a lot of lower-rated players held top grandmasters to draws. They included IM Volodar Murzin vs. GM Vladislav Artemiev and three young Uzbek players: GM Jakhongir Vakhidov vs. Leinier Dominguez, GM Nodirbek Yakubboev vs. GM David Navara, and GM Javokhir Sindarov vs. Alireza Firouzja, who is playing his first tournament under the French flag.
Two players from Spain, GM David Anton and GM Paco Vallejo, both lost to lower-rated opponents. The latter played a typical piece sac in the French but faced very strong resistance as the 18-year-old Serbian GM Velimir Ivic solved his problems tactically:
Back to the theme of crude attacks on the king, we saw two nice Rf6 moves on one day. First, there was GM Sandro Mareco of Argentina beating Peru’s GM Jorge Cori, where 28.Rf6 was the prettiest among several winning moves:
Results round 2
|GM Martinovic, Sasa||2548||–||GM Carlsen, Magnus||2847||0-1||.||.|
|GM Caruana, Fabiano||2806||–||GM Megaranto, Susanto||2550||1-0*||.||.|
|GM Cheng, Bobby||2552||–||GM Aronian, Levon||2782||1-0*||.||.|
|GM Giri, Anish||2776||–||GM Savchenko, Boris||2553||1-0||.||.|
|GM Perez Ponsa, Federico||2554||–||GM Grischuk, Alexander||2778||½-½||.||.|
|GM Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar||2782||–||GM Mekhitarian, Krikor Sevag||2554||½-½||.||.|
|GM Moradiabadi, Elshan||2553||–||GM Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime||2749||½-½||.||.|
|GM Firouzja, Alireza||2759||–||GM Sindarov, Javokhir||2558||½-½||.||.|
|GM Vakhidov, Jakhongir||2534||–||GM Dominguez Perez, Leinier||2758||½-½||.||.|
|GM Karjakin, Sergey||2757||–||GM Vokhidov, Shamsiddin||2530||1-0||.||.|
|GM Quesada Perez, Yasser||2565||–||GM Harikrishna, Pentala||2730||½-½||.||.|
|GM Duda, Jan-Krzysztof||2738||–||IM Vazquez, Guillermo||2527||1-0||.||.|
|GM Fier, Alexandr||2569||–||GM Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi||2726||½-½||.||.|
|GM Andreikin, Dmitry||2724||–||GM Can, Emre||2569||1-0||.||.|
|GM Plat, Vojtech||2525||–||GM Vitiugov, Nikita||2724||½-½||.||.|
|GM Esipenko, Andrey||2716||–||GM Nguyen, Thai Dai Van||2588||½-½||.||.|
|GM Gukesh, D||2578||–||GM Dubov, Daniil||2714||½-½||.||.|
|GM Svidler, Peter||2714||–||GM Salinas Herrera, Pablo||2514||½-½||.||.|
|GM Ivic, Velimir||2582||–||GM Vallejo Pons, Francisco||2710||1-0||.||.|
|GM Xiong, Jeffery||2709||–||GM Mikhalevski, Victor||2579||½-½||.||.|
|GM Iniyan, P||2506||–||GM Tomashevsky, Evgeny||2706||0-1||.||.|
|GM Yu, Yangyi||2705||–||GM Kadric, Denis||2564||1-0||.||.|
|IM Murzin, Volodar||2502||–||GM Artemiev, Vladislav||2704||½-½||.||.|
|GM Amin, Bassem||2703||–||GM Gabuzyan, Hovhannes||2587||1-0||.||.|
|IM Druska, Juraj||2493||–||GM Van Foreest, Jorden||2688||0-1||.||.|
|GM Alekseenko, Kirill||2699||–||GM Krasenkow, Michal||2591||½-½||.||.|
|GM Brkic, Ante||2592||–||GM Kryvoruchko, Yuriy||2699||1-0||.||.|
|GM Maghsoodloo, Parham||2698||–||GM Georgiev, Kiril||2594||½-½||.||.|
|GM Yakubboev, Nodirbek||2598||–||GM Navara, David||2675||½-½||.||.|
|GM Fedoseev, Vladimir||2696||–||GM Bachmann, Axel||2599||1-0||.||.|
|GM Jobava, Baadur||2603||–||GM Shankland, Sam||2709||½-½||.||.|
|GM Matlakov, Maxim||2688||–||GM Gretarsson, Hjorvar Steinn||2603||0-1||.||.|
|GM Alekseev, Evgeny||2605||–||GM Wojtaszek, Radoslaw||2691||½-½||.||.|
|GM Areshchenko, Alexander||2687||–||GM Ivanisevic, Ivan||2606||1-0||.||.|
|GM Gareyev, Timur||2596||–||GM Jakovenko, Dmitry||2684||½-½||.||.|
|GM Predke, Alexandr||2683||–||GM Durarbayli, Vasif||2625||½-½||.||.|
|GM Henriquez Villagra, Cristobal||2606||–||GM Korobov, Anton||2683||0-1||.||.|
|GM Salem, A.R. Saleh||2682||–||GM Indjic, Aleksandar||2607||1-0||.||.|
|GM Praggnanandhaa, R||2608||–||GM Sargissian, Gabriel||2682||1-0||.||.|
|GM Ragger, Markus||2680||–||GM Piorun, Kacper||2608||½-½||.||.|
|IM Haria, Ravi||2440||–||GM Bacrot, Etienne||2678||0-1||.||.|
|GM Gelfand, Boris||2675||–||GM Braun, Arik||2609||1-0||.||.|
|GM Tabatabaei, M. Amin||2613||–||GM Berkes, Ferenc||2673||½-½||.||.|
|GM Anton Guijarro, David||2673||–||GM Idani, Pouya||2614||0-1||.||.|
|GM Akobian, Varuzhan||2614||–||GM Grandelius, Nils||2661||½-½||.||.|
|GM Bluebaum, Matthias||2669||–||GM Erdos, Viktor||2614||½-½||.||.|
|GM Svane, Rasmus||2615||–||GM Cheparinov, Ivan||2667||0-1||.||.|
|GM Malakhov, Vladimir||2666||–||GM Vocaturo, Daniele||2617||1-0||.||.|
|GM Sargsyan, Shant||2626||–||GM Abasov, Nijat||2656||½-½||.||.|
|GM Shirov, Alexei||2662||–||GM Zherebukh, Yaroslav||2620||1-0||.||.|
|GM Nihal, Sarin||2620||–||GM Sjugirov, Sanan||2661||½-½||.||.|
|GM Adhiban, B.||2660||–||GM Delgado Ramirez, Neuris||2622||1-0||.||.|
|GM Bok, Benjamin||2624||–||GM Sevian, Samuel||2647||1-0||.||.|
|GM Lupulescu, Constantin||2659||–||GM Hesham, Abdelrahman||2397||1-0||.||.|
|GM Deac, Bogdan-Daniel||2639||–||GM Oparin, Grigoriy||2654||½-½||.||.|
|GM Kuzubov, Yuriy||2653||–||GM Ponkratov, Pavel||2629||½-½||.||.|
|GM Mareco, Sandro||2629||–||GM Cori, Jorge||2652||1-0||.||.|
|GM Onischuk, Alexander||2649||–||GM Paravyan, David||2625||0-1||.||.|
|GM Mustafa Yilmaz||2630||–||GM Haik Martirosyan||2632||0-1||.||.|
|GM Saric, Ivan||2653||–||GM Pichot, Alan||2630||½-½||.||.|
|GM Abdusattorov, Nodirbek||2634||–||GM Aravindh, Chithambaram VR.||2641||½-½||.||.|
|GM Sarana, Alexey||2640||–||GM Kovalev, Vladislav||2637||½-½||.||.|
|GM Jumabayev, Rinat||2637||–||GM Motylev, Alexander||2639||½-½||.||.|
|GM Tari, Aryan||2639||–||GM Bareev, Evgeny||2638||1-0||.||.|
That Rf6 theme is a nice bridge toward the women’s section, where Ukrainian GM Anna Muzychuk’s 36.Rf6 against WGM Tatev Abrahamyan (U.S.) looked nice as well. However, in that case, the white player had missed a mate in five just before and survived a losing position:
GM Harika Dronavalli won a nice game against the aforementioned Aulia from Indonesia:
The biggest upset was IM Bibisara Assaubayeva beating Gibraltar Women’s Grand Prix winner GM Zhansaya Abdumalik:
Results round 2
|GM Goryachkina, Aleksandra||2596||–||WGM Tokhirjonova, Gulrukhbegim||2320||1-0||.||.|
|IM Badelka, Olga||2418||–||IM Matnadze, Ana||2421||½-½||.||.|
|WGM Pogonina, Natalija||2469||–||IM Kulkarni Bhakti||2391||½-½||.||.|
|WGM Maltsevskaya, Aleksandra||2382||–||GM Stefanova, Antoaneta||2463||½-½||.||.|
|IM Kashlinskaya, Alina||2488||–||IM Ordaz Valdes, Lisandra Teresa||2369||½-½||.||.|
|GM Hoang, Thanh Trang||2404||–||IM Galliamova, Alisa||2442||0-1||.||.|
|IM Bulmaga, Irina||2413||–||GM Danielian, Elina||2407||0-1||.||.|
|WGM Yu, Jennifer||2289||–||IM Saduakassova, Dinara||2483||0-1||.||.|
|GM Dzagnidze, Nana||2523||–||GM Peng, Zhaoqin||2358||1-0||.||.|
|IM Buksa, Nataliya||2413||–||IM Yip, Carissa||2430||0-1||.||.|
|WGM Girya, Olga||2448||–||WGM Garifullina, Leya||2390||½-½||.||.|
|WIM Munkhzul, Turmunkh||2278||–||IM Shuvalova, Polina||2489||0-1||.||.|
|IM Javakhishvili, Lela||2470||–||IM Mammadova, Gulnar||2385||½-½||.||.|
|IM Salimova, Nurgyul||2395||–||IM Paehtz, Elisabeth||2466||½-½||.||.|
|IM Atalik, Ekaterina||2433||–||IM Guichard, Pauline||2413||0-1||.||.|
|WGM Abrahamyan, Tatev||2352||–||GM Muzychuk, Anna||2527||0-1||.||.|
|GM Muzychuk, Mariya||2550||–||IM Gaponenko, Inna||2357||½-½||.||.|
|IM Cyfka, Karina||2417||–||GM Ushenina, Anna||2429||0-1||.||.|
|GM Cramling, Pia||2459||–||GM Socko, Monika||2393||½-½||.||.|
|WGM Cori T., Deysi||2388||–||GM Kosteniuk, Alexandra||2472||0-1||.||.|
|GM Batsiashvili, Nino||2487||–||IM Tsolakidou, Stavroula||2389||½-½||.||.|
|WGM Zawadzka, Jolanta||2403||–||IM Bodnaruk, Anastasia||2446||1-0||.||.|
|GM Gunina, Valentina||2437||–||IM Sukandar, Irine Kharisma||2413||1-0||.||.|
|IM Aulia, Medina Warda||2360||–||GM Harika, Dronavalli||2515||0-1||.||.|
|GM Tan, Zhongyi||2511||–||WGM Yildiz Kadioglu, Betul Cemre||2362||½-½||.||.|
|IM Skripchenko, Almira||2411||–||GM Sebag, Marie||2483||½-½||.||.|
|IM Mammadzada, Gunay||2460||–||IM Unuk, Laura||2407||½-½||.||.|
|IM Padmini, Rout||2370||–||IM Khademalsharieh, Sarasadat||2494||½-½||.||.|
|GM Abdumalik, Zhansaya||2505||–||IM Assaubayeva, Bibisara||2389||0-1||.||.|
|WGM Vaishali R||2393||–||GM Khotenashvili, Bela||2471||0-1||.||.|
|IM Munguntuul, Batkhuyag||2428||–||IM Osmak, Iulija||2418||1-0||.||.|
|WGM Injac, Teodora||2370||–||GM Lagno, Kateryna||2559||½-½||.||.|
The FIDE World Cup takes place in the Galaxy Leisure Complex in Sochi, Russia, until August 6, 2021. Each round consists of two classical games and, if necessary, a rapid/blitz tiebreak on the third day. Starting from round two, the Open section has 128 players and the women’s section, 64.