Thud and blunder

17 October 2015

8:00 AM

17 October 2015

8:00 AM

The Fidé World Cup, which finished last week in Baku, boasted over $1 million in overall prize money, with $100,000 going to the winner. The format consisted of short sharp knockout matches, hardly congenial to heavyweight contenders such as Kramnik, Topalov, Aronian, Nakamura and Caruana, who were all eliminated in the early stages.

The final, as befits an ultimate shoot-out, lasted much longer, and extraordinarily the ten games between Sergei Karjakin and Peter Svidler all ended decisively. Karjakin came back from the grave on more than one occasion to secure the laurels, but the tournament was mainly notable for the egregious blunders committed by both sides.

Karjakin-Svidler: Fidé World Cup, Baku 2015

Here White could play the simple 37 Bxf7+ when the game would very likely end as a draw. Instead White unwisely pressed for more with 37 Rb5?? but after 37 … Kh8 Black was simply a piece up. 38 Rd5 Nb6 White resigns

Svidler-Karjakin: Baku 2015 (diagram 2)

This game featured an extraordinary blunder by Svidler. He was 2-0 ahead in the initial four-game match and only needed a draw to be the overall winner. He is actually winning this position rather easily and after 28 Qc3 Black can resign. Instead he played 28 Rxf2??Qh4 29 Qd2?? 29 Qxe8 Qxf2+ 30 Kh2 Qxb6 31 Qd7+ Rf7 32 Qxd5 Qxb4 leaves Black better, but winning is difficult as his king is permanently exposed. 29 … Rxf2 30 Qc3+ d4 White resigns Karjakin won the next game to make the score 2-2 and force the rapid-play playoff.

Karjakin-Svidler: Baku 2015 (diagram 3)

After 42 … Re8 Black has all the chances since he has a slight material advantage, although winning will not be easy. Instead he blundered a rook and had to resign instantly. 42 … Kg8??43 Qxb8+ Black resigns

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