Vidit and Sethuraman Knocked Out

World Cup 2017 Rd.3: Vidit and Sethuraman Knocked Out

The Indian sojourn at the 2017 World Cup came to a painful end on Monday as the duo of Vidit Gujrathi and S.P. Sethuraman crashed out of the mega-event that is a part of the World Championship cycle.

The highest common factor in the story is how close both Indians were to winning and qualifying for the fourth round.

India No. 3 Vidit Gujrathi

Vidit Gujrathi was having a smooth tournament, where he was simply outplaying all his opponents. In the third round, he was up against Chinese No. 1 Ding Liren, rated 2776. In the first game with the black pieces, Vidit continued his brilliant form and had a winning position, if not a clearly advantageous one.

Black has a big advantage here, and although there are a couple of moves that are winning for black, the best is undoubtedly the strong 27…Be5!, with the idea that 28.Nxe5 wins a pawn thanks to the Intermezzo 28…Qxg5+. 27…Be5 also has another point–…Qg4+, followed by …Nf4, or …Kg7 and …Rh8, all of which are winning for black.

But at this crucial juncture, Vidit went wrong with 27…Rdb8?? which leads to a beautiful refutation after 28.Rxb8 Rxb8 29.Bh3! solving all problems for white. This left Vidit with an option of taking a perpetual, which he did. The game ended in a draw.

In the second game, Vidit had the white pieces and again had his chances in an IQP structure. But it was not to be and the game ended in a draw.
In the rapid tiebreaker, after the first game ended in a draw, Vidit was doing all right with the black pieces until in this position he played 18…bxc5, missing Ding Liren’s beautiful tactical shot 19.d5!. When Vidit played 19…cxd5 20.Bxf6, he cannot take back on f6 as Qxh7 will destroy his position.
After losing the piece for two pawns, Vidit had no chance to survive and the Chinese No. 1 knocked out the India No. 3 out of the World Cup.
If there is a definition for heartbreak, S.P. Sethuraman will know it by heart.

Sethu was up against Dutch No. 1 Anish Giri, rated 2784. In the first game, Sethu had the black pieces and he eased in with a draw effortlessly. The second game where Sethu had white was a true slugfest, in a Sicilian Najdorf.

Sethu ended up a piece in what the computers were screaming to be a completely won position, but life is not that simple, especially if you are a chess player. Giri was able to create just enough threats against the White King, teaming up with the ticking clock to create problems for his opponent. Sethu, as has been noticed several times in the past, had troubles converting his won position into a full point.
Anish Giri, successor to the title of ‘Drawcula’ from the great Peter Leko, managed to snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat (unlike the numerous previous instances when he would snatch draws from the jaws of victory).

In the first set of tiebreakers, Anish started with a win again, but Sethuraman was up to the task and won the second rapid tiebreaker. Then in the second set of tiebreakers, Sethu completely lost the plot when he played:

31…h5 when Anish Giri pounced on the Indian to murder him with 32.Be4! forcing 32…Nxe4, when 33.Rh8+ wins the queen and also the game soon. In the second game of the second tiebreak set, Sethu just collapsed with white as well, crashing out of the 2017 World Cup.
Magnus is Out!

Along with the Indians, a long list of world’s top players was eliminated. Magnus Carlsen went down in flames in sensational fashion against China’s Bu Xiangzhi, while Vladimir Kramnik was ousted by Vassily Ivanchuk in a gem of a game. Hikaru Nakamura had to leave the World Cup after losing to Vladimir Fedoseev, while Fabiano Caruana bowed out after losing to Evgeny Najer in the tiebreaker.

Notably, the Canadian GM Anton Kovalyov, who had defeated Viswanathan Anand in the second round, left the World Cup 2017 without making a single move because the organizers and officials rebuked him for not dressing appropriately (Kovalyov was wearing Bermuda pants).

Kovalyov had been wearing the same attire in the first and second round as well and was visibly upset to have been disturbed minutes before his third round game was scheduled to begin. Meanwhile, the officials alleged that Kovalyov was not being respectful towards the prestige of the tournament.

The royal rumble continues in Tbilisi. With both Magnus and Karjakin out, we will have a World Cup not complicated by permutations and combinations of the qualification to the Candidates that is going to take place in Berlin in March 2018.

All Photos by Maria Emelianova and Anastasia Karlovich for the Official Website

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