World Cup Recap: Day 7 (Round three, first game)

The third round opened with four decisive results in 16 games, as Caruana, Mamedyarov, and Karjakin affirmed their places as favorites, winning with the white pieces, while Eljanov achieved a slight upset victory (perhaps more surprising because not only was he lower rated than his opponent, he also played as black). Now their opponents will face must-win games tomorrow if they want to survive to force tie breaks.

Here is an overview of all 16 matches, the current favorite, match score, that favorite’s odds of winning, their opponent, and both players’ ratings.

Favorite Rating Score Odds Gain/Loss Underdog Rating
3.  Fabiano Caruana (USA) 2801.2 1 – 0 98.5% 9.0% 94.  Anton Kovalyov (CAN) 2620.5
19.  Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE) 2738.5 1 – 0 95.7% 21.9% 78.  S.P. Sethuraman (IND) 2654.5
11.  Sergey Karjakin (RUS) 2767.2 1 – 0 93.7% 30.5% 22.  Yu Yangyi (CHN) 2721.4
26.  Pavel Eljanov (UKR) 2737.2 1 – 0 90.6% 52.4% 7.  Alexander Grischuk (RUS) 2757.7
1.  Veselin Topalov (BUL) 2812.7 1/2 – 1/2 84.7% -7.2% 97.  Lu Shanglei (CHN) 2617.4
8.  Ding Liren (CHN) 2779.0 1/2 – 1/2 83.5% -1.4% 89.  Gadir Guseinov (AZE) 2645.2
2.  Hikaru Nakamura (USA) 2812.1 1/2 – 1/2 79.8% -0.7% 34.  Ian Nepomniachtchi (RUS) 2704.1
4.  Anish Giri (NED) 2789.7 1/2 – 1/2 75.0% 0.7% 29.  Peter Leko (HUN) 2713.0
20.  Radoslaw Wojtaszek (POL) 2736.5 1/2 – 1/2 71.5% 1.5% 52.  Julio Granda (PER) 2677.6
6.  Vladimir Kramnik (RUS) 2780.0 1/2 – 1/2 70.2% 1.8% 27.  Dmitry Andreikin (RUS) 2727.0
24.  Wei Yi (CHN) 2731.8 1/2 – 1/2 69.8% 1.9% 56.  Alexander Areshchenko (UKR) 2680.7
5.  Wesley So (USA) 2768.5 1/2 – 1/2 65.1% -6.9% 37.  Le Quang Liem (VIE) 2701.6
10.  Dmitry Jakovenko (RUS) 2738.3 1/2 – 1/2 57.9% 5.0% 23.  Vassily Ivanchuk (UKR) 2731.3
16.  Peter Svidler (RUS) 2725.8 1/2 – 1/2 54.1% 6.0% 17.  Teimour Radjabov (AZE) 2730.8
18.  Leinier Dominguez Perez (CUB) 2729.7 1/2 – 1/2 52.5% 6.1% 15.  Michael Adams (ENG) 2739.7
12.  Evgeny Tomashevsky (RUS) 2748.0 1/2 – 1/2 51.2% 6.3% 21.  Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA) 2762.0

Since the highest seed eliminated in the first two rounds was #9, we discussed yesterday what to expect in this round from the top eight seeds. Grischuk, at #7, was Eljanov’s victim and now must try to win with black to stay alive. We give him just a 17% chance to pull that off, and a 56% edge if it gets to tie breaks, so his odds of reaching the next round are quite low. As the other seven in the top group aren’t necessarily safe yet either, we now say there is just a 1.8% chance that all eight will advance to the fourth round. In fact even if we gave up on Grischuk entirely, the other seven would only project to have a 19.1% chance of all advancing. Not only will Grischuk probably be eliminated in the next two days, but at least one other top player probably will be as well, if not more. They’re still ratings favorites, but the opposition is getting tougher. If Grischuk is upset, it will be by a player now ranked 19th in the world in the live ratings. Not exactly a cupcake, and there’s no shame in being knocked out by a player of Eljanov’s caliber. Eljanov, by the way, has climbed the rankings thanks to a perfect 5-0 record so far in classical games at the World Cup, the only player in the field to still boast a perfect classical record at this point.

As the rating differentials shrink, and the field winnows out the players that never had a chance, the individual games begin to take on higher import as to how strongly they affect a player’s chances of reaching the finals and earning a spot in the Candidates Tournament. Even though only eight of the 32 players had decisive results today, almost half the field (14 players) saw their odds rise or fall by at least half a percentage point:

Seed Player New Odds of Reaching Finals Gain/Loss
26  Pavel Eljanov (UKR) 6.2% 3.8%
11  Sergey Karjakin (RUS) 10.6% 3.8%
3  Fabiano Caruana (USA) 26.1% 1.6%
12  Evgeny Tomashevsky (RUS) 4.8% 0.9%
19  Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE) 4.8% 0.8%
4  Anish Giri (NED) 17.8% 0.8%
16  Peter Svidler (RUS) 2.8% 0.7%
10  Dmitry Jakovenko (RUS) 3.9% 0.5%
2  Hikaru Nakamura (USA) 26.4% -0.6%
5  Wesley So (USA) 8.9% -0.7%
6  Vladimir Kramnik (RUS) 10.4% -1.1%
22  Yu Yangyi (CHN) 0.2% -1.5%
1  Veselin Topalov (BUL) 29.3% -3.0%
7  Alexander Grischuk (RUS) 1.0% -6.7%

Grischuk is not surprisingly the largest drop off. Not to kick him while he’s down, but in addition to dropping him to just a 1% chance of qualifying for the Candidates Tournament here at the World Cup, this loss also hurt in another way. His projected average rating for the year is now just half a point ahead of Kramnik, who now only needs to gain three more rating points (or see Grischuk lose three more… perhaps by pressing too hard for a needed win tomorrow, and ending up losing instead) in order to catch up for the third place spot on the ratings list. While only the top two from that list will earn a spot in the Candidates Tournament, this race for third remains critical because we currently calculate a 47.1% chance that one of Topalov or Giri, the current top two, will reach the World Cup finals, opening a Candidates berth for the current #3, which is now just barely still Grischuk.


5 thoughts on “World Cup Recap: Day 7 (Round three, first game)

  1. Just like in Sinquefield, Grischuk destroyed himself here in World Cup !!
    For now, the situation is ripe for more Top 10’s exit (thu I wish it is not).


  2. Great analysis once again. Thanks for your energies and expertise! The picture will become clarified tomorrow as more of the fat is cut.


    • If Caruana or Nakamura make it to the finals then the World Cup takes precedence as their qualifying method, and Jakovenko gets in as the third place Grand Prix finisher (since the Grand Prix must send two players). Also this would make the “first alternate” to the field (for if someone who qualifies later withdraws or is unable to participate) Tomashevsky, since the “third place” Grand Prix finisher is first alternate, but that’s excluding players who qualify by the World Cup instead, and Toma was fourth in the Grand Prix.


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