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World Cup Quiz – The Survivors

Our World Cup Quiz (previous instalments here and here) attracted almost 200 entrants, but you may recall there were three qualifying questions to narrow the field:

A: What will the most common opening move be in round 1: 1.e4 or 1.d4 or neither?
B: Which of these home players will go further: Mamedov or Safarli?
C: Which opening will be more common in round 3: Najdorf or Catalan?

In the previous instalment we knew two of the correct answers. Now we know all three: 1.e4, Mamedov and Najdorf.

21 contestants survived the cull. I won’t name names, but in chess terms they range from unrated to mid-2400s. Which of them will be our champion? Too early to say.

There were several GM entrants, but they all fell, usually due to their faith in 1.d4.

A hypothetical question: Should World Cup competitors be allowed to enter our World Cup Quiz? I would say “Yes”, but since they both crashed out of our quiz in the qualifying round, we’ll say it’s hypothetical.

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  1. Phille
    September 24th, 2015 at 09:26 | #1

    Interesting. I thought the e4-d4 question was the easiest to answer with some confidence. Just look up the opening repertoires.

  2. B.A.
    September 24th, 2015 at 12:38 | #2

    I’m not a GM bus also fell with 1d4. I think we have a moral victory though, because a lot of games started with 1.Nf3 with d4 to follow one of the next moves.

  3. John Shaw
    September 24th, 2015 at 14:49 | #3

    @Phille @B.A.

    We didn’t do any research in the office, but the general view here seemed to be that 1.d4 would win.

  4. Capodoglio
    September 24th, 2015 at 15:09 | #4

    I don’t know for sure, but I think that if we go back and check previous World Cup knock-out events we’ll find that in the first round e4 won most of the time.
    It’s especially the elite that uses d4, c4 and Nf3 most of the time, the lower you go with elo, more 1. e4 openings you find, even at grandmaster level.

    Of course take this consideration with a grain of salt, it’s just speculation and it was a close call anyway.

  5. James
    September 24th, 2015 at 17:54 | #5

    Anyone else shocked by Eljanov’s performance? Where did it come from? Looks like he’s going to qualify for the candidates, potential World Champion?

  6. September 24th, 2015 at 18:20 | #6

    in 2010 Eljanov was 2761 and #6 in the world, so he’s been elite before. But this would be quite a run for anyone. According to my calculations his performance rating for the 10 classical games so far is 3029.

  7. Phille
    September 25th, 2015 at 07:40 | #7

    That’s pretty much what I found when I looked at the repertoires. The first half of the playing field has e4/d4 roughly balanced, but when I started looking at the second half, e4 clearly surged ahead, (so much so that I actually didn’t bother to look at the complete second half).

  8. aspiJ
    September 25th, 2015 at 07:54 | #8

    I’m pissed about all these cheating accusations from so-called chess supporters who only see the numbers, and have no chessunderstanding whatsoever.

    I’m starting to symphatize with Gelfands view that chess is not for the masses

  9. Jacob Aagaard
    September 25th, 2015 at 08:47 | #9

    Not at all. I have known Pavel for nearly a decade and always knew he was wildly talented. Remember he was number 6 in the World before he lost his confidence.

  10. Thomas
    September 25th, 2015 at 08:51 | #10

    @Jacob Aagaard
    When will you succeed in convincing him to write a book for QC?

  11. Jacob Aagaard
    September 25th, 2015 at 08:57 | #11

    We have talked about it many times, but then he started playing well again. I think at the moment he is on a roll… He did a little DVD for ChessBase though. It is worth a peek.

  12. Fer
    September 25th, 2015 at 09:23 | #12

    Jacob Aagaard :
    We have talked about it many times, but then he started playing well again. I think at the moment he is on a roll… He did a little DVD for ChessBase though. It is worth a peek.

    I think that in “Grandmaster vs Amateur” book one chapter is written by Pavel

  13. mike twyble
    September 25th, 2015 at 09:56 | #13

    The comments about Eljanov that seem to be going around are absurd. You only have to look at game one against Grishuk to see that no computers were involved. The guy is just playing great chess.

  14. Gollum
    September 25th, 2015 at 10:03 | #14

    To decide between 1.e4 and 1.d4 I make the following considerations:

    1. People is going away from 1.e4 because there seems to be a lot of drawish lines. Hence 1.d4 has the lead.
    2. People is trying to get a game with closed openings, but there have been a surge in english and 1.Nf3, so even though 1.d4 should be the answer, as there are many transpositions available, 1.e4 will win.

  15. guest222
    September 25th, 2015 at 22:57 | #15

    Congratulation to people who managed to answer the three questions correctly !

    Hmmm…, is there any consolation draw for those who managed to get all three wrong ? 🙂

  16. James
    September 27th, 2015 at 13:44 | #16

    @Jacob seems now’s Pavel’s time. Winning against Karjakin, must be his 3rd win against the QID in this tournament? Makes it look like a dodgy opening. Tbh though I suspected the QID was on the slide as soon as Adams ditched it a few years ago in favour of QGD Tartakower, he doesn’t make changes to his repertoire unless it’s necessary.

  17. The Doctor
    September 27th, 2015 at 19:58 | #17


    He beat Jakovenko as far as I know in the QID, but he didn’t beat Karjakin! A
    lso as far as I can see he hasn’t beat anyone else in the QID. I suspect the QID is just out of fashion at the moment rather than it being a dodgy opening

  18. mike twyble
    September 28th, 2015 at 12:29 | #18

    Just a comment about the world cup and grandmaster repertoire books. The Open Spanish looks to have stood up quite well with Adams failing to get the slightest advantage and Karjakin getting an advantage only when Mamedyarov didn’t follow GM 13. incidentally I think I got just about every question wrong!

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