9/10/2019 – The most anticipated tournament of the year kicked off in Khanty-Mansiysk. Most of the favourites started with a win, with eleven out of the sixteen top seeds getting a full point on Tuesday. The biggest surprise rating-wise was given by Norwegian Johan-Sebastian Christiansen, who beat Radoslaw Wojtaszek with Black. But Christiansen was not only the young player to have a good day, as Alireza Firouzja, Nihal Sarin, Andrey Esipenko and Nodirbek Abdusattorov also got off to a good start. Express report. | Photo: FIDE
A few upsets
The ‘future generation’ of top players is quickly rising through the ranks, as increasingly younger talents are making a name for themselves in the world of professional chess. The inaugural round of the World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk was no exception to the rule, as most players aged 20 or younger got things rolling favourably in the Siberian city.
This does not mean the older generations are doomed by any stretch of the imagination, as was proven in previous editions — if we just focus on the winners, Boris Gelfand was 41 when he won the event in 2009 and Vladimir Kramnik was 38 when he got first place in 2013.
Nonetheless, we cannot but be stunned by the precocity of players like Nodirbek Abdusattorov (14), Nihal Sarin (15) or Alireza Firouzja (16).
Replay the games with engine comments and evaluations. Full report will follow shortly.
Live games and commentary
Results will appear following the conclusion of first round games.
FIDE Press release
The opening ceremony of the FIDE World Cup took place in the Arts Center for Gifted Children of the North on September 9.
It started with a chess-themed laser show followed by “Heart of taiga” dance performance with the colourful introduction of countries participating in the event.
The protocol part of the ceremony started with speeches by Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation Pavel Kolobkov and FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich.
Pavel Kolobkov, Russian Minister of Sport, greeted everyone in the capital of Ugra and wished the participants of the World Cup exciting games and brilliant victories.
“I am happy that Russia got the right to carry out such a significant event, thus making Khanty-Mansiysk a chess capital of the world. I wish everyone a good contest, and may the strongest win”, said the Minister.
FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, speaking on behalf of the International Chess Federation, congratulated the players on the start of the World Cup, and thanked the organizers – Government of Ugra and Governor Natalya Komarova – for hosting such an important tournament.
Arkady Dvorkovich: “We are all familiar with a wonderful chess tradition of Ugra, the region that organized almost all the most important chess tournaments, including the Olympiad. It is wonderful that this region develops chess for everyone regardless of occupation or age. Still, everybody loves to watch games of the strongest players, and the strongest players are present here tonight. I wish you excellent play and best of luck, and declare the 2019 FIDE World Cup open!”
Mr Dvorkovich also announced that on September 8 FIDE Presidential Board approved a bid for the 2020 Candidates Tournament from Yekaterinburg and Russian Chess Federation.
For the drawing of lots, Ding Liren, the highest-rated player of the tournament, was assisted by Chief Arbiter Ashot Vardapetyan two actors dressed as chess kings. The Chinese grandmaster picked a black piece. Therefore, all players with odd numbers will be playing Black in the first game of the first rounds.
Ding Liren drew a black piece at the opening ceremony | Photo: FIDE
The protocol part was followed by an art show by the Art Center for Gifted Children of North, “Grotesque” Theater of Plastic Arts and Pantomime, “Light It” modern dance studio, and Youth Theater. The evening was concluded by the Million Voices song performed by White and Black chess queens.
A press briefing with Natalya Komarova, Pavel Kolobkov, and Arkady Dvorkovich took place after the conclusion of the opening ceremony.
Natalya Komarova, Governor of Ugra: “In chess community, FIDE World Cup is strongly associated with Khanty-Mansiysk. Four out of nine World Cups were carried out in Ugra, and today we are starting the fifth one. One can safely call Khanty-Mansiysk home of this tournament. The organizers do their best to make our guests feel at home.
The World Cup is not only a major sporting event but also an opportunity to experience being a part of a large and close-knit chess family. Ugra and chess are inseparable. We wish to present the exciting world of chess to thousands of Ugra people. By 2024 we want 55% of them engaged in various sports activities, in accordance with the national project “Sport is the way of life”.