Regular visitors to this site may have noticed we have been unusually quiet about the FIDE World Cup currently taking place in Tbilisi and which is finally approaching its denouement. It’s not for a lack of interest, more a lack of time. So what have we missed? Well, there was ‘shortsgate’ right at the start – if you are still in the dark, try Googling ‘shorts’ and ‘chess world cup’ and it should lead you somewhere – then there was the swift elimination of most of the top English players, Carlsen (who, had he won, may have had to play against himself to challenge for the world title), Caruana and, much to the chagrin of this correspondent, Wei Yi. With a total prize fund of $1.6m with $120,000 for the winner and 128 of the best players in the world taking part, there were still enough of the big guns left, however, to maintain interest and so far as this site is concerned, we are championing another of our Chinese friends, Ding Liren, especially as he was the underdog in the semi-finals where he played Wesley So while Maxim Vachier Lagrave played Lev Aronian in the other game.
The format for the competition was two classical games and if the scores were then level, the players then played two 25-minute + 10-second increment rapid games, then two 10+10 games, then two 5+3 and, finally, Armageddon, where White has 5 minutes to Black’s 4 but a draw qualifies Black for the next round. The semi-finals were hard-fought and the Liren-So match went to the second 10-minute game although the first of those was the decisive one.
White: Wesley So (2792) Black: Ding Liren (2771)
FIDE World Cup 2017
And so Ding Liren is in the final! The other semi-final went to the wire. After two classical games, two 25-minute games, two 10-minute games and two 5-minute games MVL and Aronian could not be separated and so we were faced with the chess equivalent of a penalty shoot-out: Armageddon! MVL apparently won the toss and chose Black which meant he only had to draw. Aronian had the extra minute but had to win.
White: Lev Aronian (2802) Black: Maxim Vachier Lagrave (2804)
FIDE World Cup 2017 semi-final
MVL had his chances and the computer had him ahead at one point but it is Lev Aronian who will play Ding Liren in the final and who would bet against an Aronian win? Is he the best player in the world now? Time will tell.
Congratulations to David Faldon who won the Goodall Cup, awarded to the winner of the club championship, for the seventh time. He has a few more years to go before he can claim to have won it more times than anyone else but who can stop him? At the AGM we heard how it was a close run thing, however, with Nick McBride taking him to the final game of the season. Other trophies awarded at the meeting were the Zielinski Shield for the best performance by a player in the bottom half of the draw, which went to Michael Doyle, the George Stiggers Trophy, awarded to Joshua Vaughan for the most improved player, and the John Cutting Cup for the player with the best grading performance in the Summer Swiss (Paul Carfrae). The John Couzens Vase, the knockout trophy, has still to be decided with the final between David Faldon and Nick McBride. Finally, the Oyster Shield for the best score by a senior Thanet player at the congress was awarded to Reg Pidduck for the fifth time! There were also two team trophies to award: the Micklethwaite Shield for the Team Buzzer tournament was presented to Nick McBride who was unbeaten in a team that included David Faldon, Paul Carfrae and Bob Page; and the Julius Day Trophy was awarded to David Faldon who captained a six-man team that were joint winners of the Jamboree: alongside David were Nick McBride, Bob Page, Paul Carfrae, Andy Flood and Michael Doyle.
The members were told that it had been another successful year for the club: numbers were constant, finances were a little down on last year but this was easily explained by Reg Pidduck, the Treasurer: new DGT 2010 clocks accounted for most of the loss and there would be no major expenditure this coming year. Most important, the club is in a healthy financial position with more than sufficient funds. Bob Page said that the website continued to be a great success with 28,000 hits in the last year and over 3000 in one month alone. The same can be said for the new Thanet Congress site that he set up. On that note, Andy Flood said that the congress had been successful with a £500 profit replacing a £500 loss last year. He thanked all those who helped and especially the three main sponsors, John Couzens Roofing, Chandlers Building Supplies and Cramptons Broadstairs.