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Three World Cup Brackets

Three World Cup Brackets

Hikaru Junction

Three World Cup Brackets

Hello everyone, and welcome to Hikaru Junction, the only chess blog on the internet whose castles stand upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand.

Today, I’ll be previewing each matchup in the second round of the world cup for the first three sections of the bracket, some more in-depth, some less so. I’ll cover several more tomorrow, and try to finish the day afterwards. Let’s get started, as I’m writing this between the tiebreaks finishing and the next game starting one day later. A final note: I’ll be listing players in the following format: Player(seed, pre-tournament rating.)

Section One

Magnus Carlsen (1, 2822) vs Aleksey Dreev (64, 2648)
This appears to be an easy win for the World Champion given the large rating disparity between the two players. Dreev has previously commented on rapid chess, which remains a possibility, ( saying “You may see who is who in rapid and that’s an absolute truth…Do you know who is afraid of rapid? Those who play good chess only by the help of engines.” Carlsen’s ability, then, should come through in even the shorter time controls.

Etienne Bacrot (32, 2715) vs Bu Xiangzhi (33, 2710)
The two have only played once, at the 2006 Chess Olympiad, where each emerged with a 1/2 point in a 34-move draw. Bacrot has previously been willing to take a 17-move draw as White against his lower-rated opponent GM Fier in the first round. The series between these two evenly matched players, then has the potential to go deep into the rapid time controls with draws in the classical games.

Peter Svidler (16, 2751) vs Viktor Erdös (80, 2628)
Although Svidler dispatched his first-round opponent with two wins, Erdös has already pulled off an upset this tournament in rapid time against the higher-rated GM Amin. Despite this, though, the loser of last event’s final will be out for revenge, and should take the match comfortably.

Radoslaw Wojtaszek (17, 2745) vs Alexander Onischuk (48, 2682)
Onischuk’s first round-opponent GM Zherebukh failed to arrive for the first round or give up his place to an alternate (he was unable to arrive as he hadn’t received his green card yet.) Given this, Onischuk, rested and with two extra days to prepare for Wojtaszek, has great potential for an upset.

On the other side of the chessboard, however, Wojtaszek has already demonstrated his ability to pounce on his opponents’ mistakes this tournament.

Radoslaw Wojtaszek–Felipe de Cresce El Debs Chess World Cup 2017

Section Two

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (8, 2789) vs Boris Grachev (57, 2654)
MVL is the heavy favorite in this matchup, being given 83.1% chances to move on to the next round given his relative strength to the weaker Boris Grachev. (
Additionally, Grachev has played an extra day of tiebreaks, giving him less time to prepare for Vachier-Lagrave’s devastating attacks.

Aleksandr Lenderman (104, 2565) vs Aryan Tari (89, 2591)
Each player has played well so far, getting an upset against GM Eljanov and GM Howell respectively. Lenderman comes out of a 2-0 shutout against GM Eljanov, having capitalized on several of his higher-rated opponent’s inaccuracies in the first game…

Aleksandr Lenderman–Pavel Eljanov Chess World Cup 2017

…and even blunders in the second game.

Pavel Eljanov–Aleksandr Lenderman Chess World Cup 2017

Alexander Grischuk (9, 2783) vs Jorge Cori (73, 2641)
Grischuk is the favorite for this match, as he is both higher rated and has more World Cup experience, having lost in the third round to GM Eljanov’s Cinderella run to the semifinals in 2015. In 2013, he again lost in the third round to GM Liem. In contrast, Cori last appeared in the tournament in 2013, when he suffered from an unfortunate pairing versus Teimour Radjabov, losing in the first round.

David Navara (24, 2737) vs Ivan Cheparinov (41, 2696)
Both players managed a relatively easy victory against their lower-rated opponents. In classical games, the two have played nine games, the first in 1995. Navara holds the edge, having won three games to Cheparinov’s two in the series.

Section Three

Vladimir Kramnik (4, 2803) vs Anton Demchenko (68, 2645)
This is the first of two matches being played between players of the same country, and yet the two have never played each other. Kramnik remains the strong favorite, exemplified by Demchenko’s Wikipedia page containing the sole sentence “Anton Demchenko (Born 1987) is a chess grandmaster from Russia.”

Vassily Ivanchuk (29, 2728) vs Jan-Krzysztof Duda (36, 2707)
This match promises to be a closely fought affair, with the two having previously met at the Chess World Cup in 2013. The decisive game:

Jan-Krzysztof Duda–Vassily Ivanchuk Chess World Cup 2013

Anish Giri (13, 2772) vs Alexander Motylev (51, 2675)
In classical games between the two, the lower-rated Motylev has held his own, losing only once, with four draws. However, in rapid play, Motylev has lost both games and was knocked out of the 2015 World Cup as a consequence, suggesting Giri may want to take Motylev to shorted time controls.

Pentala Harikrishna (20, 2743) vs S. P. Sethuraman (84, 2618)
These two players have played five classical games, with only two draws between the two of them, one of which lasted 74 moves in the 2015 World Cup. In that game, Sethuraman showed resilient defense to hold an opposite-colored bishops ending, suggesting that he may prove a challenge to Harikrishna despite his lower rating.


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