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FIDE World Cup Tromso 2013 (6.1)

First day of World Cup semi-final sees games both drawn in just over an hour

Tomashevsky against Andreikin. Photo ©

Tomashevsky against Andreikin. Photo © |

The first day of the FIDE World Cup semi-finals produced two very quick draws. This produced a discussion as to whether draws should not be allowed before move 30 (Sofia rules). The problem was at least in the case of Kramnik he had completely equalised as black against Vachier-Lagrave but even in the case of Andreikin against Tomashevsky black was doing fine and was in all probability better prepared.

Carlsen said on twitter (and indeed Kramnik and Vachier-Lagrave agreed) "Games drawn after 14&16 moves in #chessworldcup. Easy to understand players, who need rest, hard to understand that the rules allow them to."

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave hoped his opening choice of 4.Nf3 vs the Nimzo-India would surprise Vladimir Kramnik but it turned out he was ready. Already 9...dxc4 from Kramnik is "kind of a rare move" with Kramnik having played 9...Nc6 against Nakamura before. 10...e5 is a computer suggestion clearly studied by Kramnik, 12.Bg5 is a clear and possibly better alternative for white that Kramnik refused to discuss. It seems 12.Be3 is now fully met by 12...Bg4 (a novelty) and it should be noted that 13.h3? Bxe2! 14. Kxe2 Qd3+ 15. Ke1 a6 is winning for black. 13.Bc5 was sharper but by now it was clear Kramnik had researched this postion and so 13.Rd1 was safer and the games was agreed drawn on move 16 with simplification to a dead draw inevitable.

A similar story enfolded in the game Dmitry Andreikin against Evengey Tomashevsky with a draw being agreed whilst Kramnik and Vachier-Lagrave were discussing their game. Tomashevsky was the only player to attend the press conference and he defended his opponent. "He played 14 of 15 days of this tournament the schedule of this tournament forced him to take this rest. It's logical decision because of this schedule." He thought the position was more or less equal "Obviously he is playing against my preparation. I planned my setup and I think black has solved his opening.problems." He also thought that whilst Sofia rules barring draws before a certain number of moves were essential in commercial tournaments in official tournaments they shouldn't be necessary as the players are already motivated. Tomashevsky said he thought if the organisers wanted decent play in the later stages and Sofia rules then they needed to have additional rest days. A counter argument is that some players play for the rapid and blitz playoffs by sterilising with white and holding with black and this would become even more attractive with more rest days.

4-1Round 6, Semifinals, Match 1
4Andreikin, DmitrygRUS2716½
1Tomashevsky, EvgenygRUS2706½
2-3Round 6, Semifinals, Match 2
2Vachier-Lagrave, MaximegFRA2719½
3Kramnik, VladimirgRUS2784½

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