GM Leinier Dominguez and GM Alireza Firouzja did not survive the FIDE World Cup’s second-round tiebreaks as they lost to Uzbek GMs Jakhongir Vakhidov and Javokhir Sindarov, respectively. Two matches were decided in wild armageddon games.

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Fan-favorite Firouzja, at 18 already dubbed a strong candidate for becoming a world champion one day, had to leave the World Cup early. Somewhat ironically, the French-Iranian grandmaster lost to one of the few players in Sochi younger than himself: 15-year-old Sindarov.

So, who is Sindarov? Well, you might remember his name from a certain stat: before GM-elect Abhimanyu Mishra, he was in fact the first player to become a grandmaster before turning 13 since GM Sergey Karjakin did so. Only two other boys in history have made GM before turning 13: GM Gukesh D. and GM Praggnanandhaa R.

Sindarov (2558) is part of a generation of very promising players from Uzbekistan. They also include 16-year-old GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov (2634), 19-year-old GM Nodirbek Yakubboev (2598), and 19-year-old Shamsiddin Vokhidov. The latter should not be confused with Vakhidov, who beat Dominguez, who is a bit older: 26.

Earlier Uzbek successes include GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov’s victory at the 2004 FIDE knockout world championship and Uzbekistan’s no less sensational silver medal at the 1992 Manila Olympiad with a team that included Chess.com author Grigory Serper (still an IM at the time but rated 2540; his 8.5/13 must have been good for a GM norm).

Sindarov defeated Firouzja in the first 10+10 game with the black pieces, before holding the next to a draw.

Firouzja Sindarov 2021 FIDE World Cup
Firouzja and Sindarov starting one of their tiebreak games. Photo: Anastasiya Korolkova/FIDE.

Sindarov Firouzja
Javokhir Sindarov. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Vakhidov won both rapid games against Dominguez. In the first, Black lost an exchange in the early middlegame due to a hard to foresee pawn move:

The open section of the World Cup said goodbye to its last two non-grandmasters in the field. As expected, 14-year-old IM Volodar Murzin couldn’t create an upset vs. GM Vladislav Artemiev, and IM Ravi Haria went down against GM Etienne Bacrot.

An up-and-down match was GM Yaroslav Zherebukh vs. GM Alexei Shirov, who had traded wins in the classical games and continued doing so in the two rapid games. In the end, this matchup wouldn’t see a single draw as Shirov ended up winning both 10+10 games. Here’s his win in the second 25+10 game, a must-win for the former world number-two:

Zherebukh Shirov tiebreak World Cup
Zherebukh-Shirov. Photo: Anastasiya Korolkova/FIDE.

An upset was “Blindfold King” GM Timur Gareyev (U.S.) beating GM Dmitry Jakovenko (Russia) by winning the first rapid game:

Timur Gareyev FIDE World Cup 2021
Blindfold specialist Timur Gareyev. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Another honorable mention goes to 55-year-old GM Kiril Georgiev, who eliminated 20-year-old Iranian GM Parham Maghsoodloo. 

Kiril Georgiev chess
Kiril Georgiev. Photo: Anastasiya Korolkova/FIDE.

Several tiebreak matches went into the 10+10 games, but only one also saw 5+3 games, and that one was eventually decided in an armageddon game, the first in this World Cup. It was the Bulgarian GM Ivan Cheparinov who knocked out GM Rasmus Svane of Germany.

In this format, White gets five minutes, and Black, who has draw odds, four. For what follows, it’s important to note that from move 61, there’s a two-second increment for both.

From the bare moves, the game looked like a walkover but in fact, Cheparinov was down to his last two seconds when he was a queen up. Svane made two more moves but as it turned out, the players had reached move 60. When Cheparinov made two quick moves with his queen and his clock went from 0:02 to 0:06, Svane could only resign.

Rasmus Svane (left) and Ivan Cheparinov during their armageddon game. Photo: Anastasiya Korolkova/FIDE.
Rasmus Svane resigns vs. Ivan Cheparinov. Photo: Anastasiya Korolkova/FIDE.

Chess.com Game of the Day Dejan Bojkov

Results round 2 tiebreaks


























Fed Player Rtg

Fed Player Rtg G1 G2 TB
GM Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2782 GM Mekhitarian, Krikor Sevag 2554 ½-½ ½-½ 2-0
GM Firouzja, Alireza 2759 GM Sindarov, Javokhir 2558 ½-½ ½-½ 1½-2½
GM Vakhidov, Jakhongir 2534 GM Dominguez Perez, Leinier 2758 ½-½ ½-½ 2-0
GM Fier, Alexandr 2569 GM Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi 2726 ½-½ ½-½ ½-1½
GM Esipenko, Andrey 2716 GM Nguyen, Thai Dai Van 2588 ½-½ ½-½ 1½-½
GM Gukesh, D 2578 GM Dubov, Daniil 2714 ½-½ ½-½ ½-1½
IM Murzin, Volodar 2502 GM Artemiev, Vladislav 2704 ½-½ ½-½ ½-1½
GM Maghsoodloo, Parham 2698 GM Georgiev, Kiril 2594 ½-½ ½-½ ½-1½
GM Gareyev, Timur 2596 GM Jakovenko, Dmitry 2684 ½-½ ½-½ 1½-½
GM Predke, Alexandr 2683 GM Durarbayli, Vasif 2625 ½-½ ½-½ 0-2
GM Salem, A.R. Saleh 2682 GM Indjic, Aleksandar 2607 1-0 0-1 1½-½
IM Haria, Ravi 2440 GM Bacrot, Etienne 2678 0-1 1-0 ½-1½
GM Tabatabaei, M. Amin 2613 GM Berkes, Ferenc 2673 ½-½ ½-½ ½-1½
GM Akobian, Varuzhan 2614 GM Grandelius, Nils 2661 ½-½ ½-½ ½-1½
GM Bluebaum, Matthias 2669 GM Erdos, Viktor 2614 ½-½ ½-½ 1½-½
GM Svane, Rasmus 2615 GM Cheparinov, Ivan 2667 1-0 0-1 3-4
GM Sargsyan, Shant 2626 GM Abasov, Nijat 2656 ½-½ ½-½ ½-1½
GM Shirov, Alexei 2662 GM Zherebukh, Yaroslav 2620 1-0 0-1 3-1
GM Bok, Benjamin 2624 GM Sevian, Samuel 2647 1-0 0-1 1-3
GM Deac, Bogdan-Daniel 2639 GM Oparin, Grigoriy 2654 ½-½ ½-½ ½-1½
GM Mareco, Sandro 2629 GM Cori, Jorge 2652 1-0 0-1 1½-2½
GM Sarana, Alexey 2640 GM Kovalev, Vladislav 2637 ½-½ ½-½ 1½-2½

The women’s section saw one armageddon game as well, which was played simultaneously with Cheparinov-Svane (also visible in the tweeted video above). The final phase between IM Olga Badelka (Belarus) and IM Ana Matnadze (Spain) had nothing to do with chess as the players knocked over several pieces while pushing the clock without the arbiter stepping in. It was Matnadze who flagged while Badelka had two seconds left on the clock.

Badelka Matnadze armageddon
Matnadze (left) and a standing Badelka. Photo: Eric Rosen/FIDE.

IM Bibisara Assaubayeva (17) had beaten GM Zhansaya Abdumalik (21) in the first classical game but then lost the second. In this all-Kazakhstani matchup, the younger of the two prevailed as Assaubayeva won the second rapid game after surviving a close to lost position:

Assaubayeva Abdumalik FIDE World Cup
Abdumalik stops the clock and resigns. Photo: Eric Rosen/FIDE.

It’s inspiring to see 58-year-old GM Pia Cramling, who came close to winning the open Swedish championship before this event, reaching the third round as she eliminated GM Monika Socko in the tiebreak. The Swedish GM, the oldest player in the tournament, had won the first 10+10 game:

Pia Cramling 2021 world cup
Pia Cramling. Photo: Anastasiya Korolkova/FIDE.

Results round 2 tiebreaks












Fed Player Rating

Fed Player Rating G1 G2 TB
IM Badelka, Olga 2418 IM Matnadze, Ana 2421 ½-½ ½-½ 4-3
IM Buksa, Nataliya 2413 IM Yip, Carissa 2430 0-1 1-0 0-2
IM Javakhishvili, Lela 2470 IM Mammadova, Gulnar 2385 ½-½ ½-½ 0-2
IM Salimova, Nurgyul 2395 IM Paehtz, Elisabeth 2466 ½-½ ½-½ 2½-3½
GM Cramling, Pia 2459 GM Socko, Monika 2393 ½-½ ½-½ 2½-1½
IM Skripchenko, Almira 2411 GM Sebag, Marie 2483 ½-½ ½-½ 1½-2½
IM Padmini, Rout 2370 IM Khademalsharieh, Sarasadat 2494 ½-½ ½-½ 0-2
GM Abdumalik, Zhansaya 2505 IM Assaubayeva, Bibisara 2389 0-1 1-0 ½-1½

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.


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