The big news in the chess world today was that GM Hikaru Nakamura was eliminated from the 2015 FIDE World Cup with a draw against GM Pavel Eljanov from the Ukraine. The American battled the Ukrainian through the English Opening with 2…e6 for Black’s primary counter-play. The game was very well played and it was apparent that both players came to the board with the best that they had to offer. Winning and advancing to the semi-final round was a big dream of Nakamura’s as he had mentioned in some previous interviews during the tournament and immediately after his previous loss to Eljanov.
Now that Nakamura has been eliminated from the tournament, I am closely watching GMs Anish Giri of the Netherlands and Sergey Karjakin of Russia. I have not seen much of Karjakin this year with some of the other major players like Giri and Caruana mainly because he has been participating in some far east tournaments, but he is still a substantial chess force to be reckoned with. So far, Karjakin’s games against GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan have been an amazing display of the power struggle going on between them. Both games have ended in draws with the first game lasting an agonizing 88 moves. It was apparent in the second game that the two challengers were exhausted and the game was drawn on move 14 with a considerable amount of chess left to play.
At this point, Chess World Cup victory is anybody’s game. Personally, I am cheering for Karjakin because I think he is an exceptional chess player and would like to see him advance someday to the World Championship stage. That is nothing against Anish Giri, who is a great player in his own right. Yet, just like playing a game of chess: there can only be one champion.