Grandmasters are not afraid of a knock-out

Baku hosts the Chess World Cup, which brings together all the strongest grandmasters. These competitions, held by knockout system, determine two final participants of the tournament and the winner will become a rival for Norwegian Magnus Carlsen in the fight for the world title.
World Cup is the result of transformation of the world championship knockout system. The winner of the championship title is revealed in the traditional way through the classic long matches. But the World Cup will still have its sufficient value.

For example Baku's prize fund is quite serious for chess standards: $1.6 mln. The winner gets 120 thousand. And the winner, as finalist, will get bonus voucher for the candidates' tournament. This is where the Magnus Carlsen's opponent for the next year will be determined.
This World Cup has managed to stand out among the the others with its composition. Still, with all the weight of the prize fund top grandmasters first ignored the event, referring to the lottery knock-out system in which each round, with the exception of the final, the contestants play each other just two classic. In this format, the cost of a single error is enormous: the possibility to fix it can not be presented.
So, almost all the strongest arrived in Baku. Top ten current ranking of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) are eight people - Bulgarian Veselin Topalov, American Hikaru Nakamura, Fabiano Caruana and Wesley So, Dutch Anish Giri and Chinese Ding Liren, Russians Vladimir Kramnik and Alexander Grischuk, Sergey Karjakin of Russia and Armenian Levon.
Moreover, the Aronian who recently won the super tournament in St. Louis, as well as several of his countrymen was a real sensation. Difficulties in relations of Armenia and Azerbaijan appear very sharp in chess competitions and grandmasters from these countries as a rule do not act on foreign soil, even if it comes to large events.
But it turned out that this problem can be solved. However, the decision was preceded by a series of talks of FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, with Azerbaijani leaders, with the athletes themselves.
But there were few purely sporting sensations at the World Cup, which concludes the second round. There was only one in the opening round: the Israeli Boris Gelfand lost to 18-year-old Chilean Cristobal Henriques.

Alex Armor