Finally the biggest chess event this year, Chess World Cup 2009 Khanty-Mansiysk is coming in this month. First round pairing is predictable from the list of participant, only that Ni Hua is off (he will have to play in London in December) and replaced by Vadim Milov of Swiss. First round pairing, with my humble commentary on all 64 pairings:
1 GM Gelfand, Boris ISR - 128 IM Obodchuk, Andrei RUS
Should be an easy win by Gelfand.
2. GM Gashimov, Vugar AZE - 127 IM Sarwat, Walaa EGY
The Egypts are in high number participating here. But Gashimov should be on top of moral after bring his country to win the Euro'09 and reaching no.6 in latest rating.
3.GM Svidler, Peter RUS - 126 IM Hebert, Jean CAN
An unlucky day for the sole Canadian master. Jean will met the most Svidler, who is most likely a semifinalist.
4. GM Morozevich, Alexander RUS - 125 IM Abdel R., Khaled EGY
Also should be an easy win by Moro, except he jeopardised his game again.
5. GM Radjabov, Teimour AZE - 124 IM Ezat, Mohamed EGY
Again easy pairing for top seed and nightmare for the Egyptian master.
6. GM Ivanchuk, Vassily UKR - 123 GM Bezgodov, Alexei RUS
Of course everyone will favorite Ivanchuck.
7. GM Ponomariov, Ruslan UKR - 122 GM El Gindy, Essam EGY
Third Egyptian and now at least both are a GM title holder. Ponomariov is having less serious tournament the whole year.
8. GM Grischuk, Alexander RUS - 121 IM Sriram, Jha IND
Should be a though one for Grischuk but still from rating wise he is big favorite.
9. GM Jakovenko, Dmitry RUS - 120 GM Rizouk, Aimen ALG
Not sure about Rizouk from Algeria but Jakovenko is in top form ,playing in the world strongest event the whole year.
10. GM Wang, Yue CHN - 119 GM Kabanov, Nikolai RUS
Shall be interesting to see how Wang Yue can stand this Kabanoz, a nominee by Organizer.
11. GM Eljanov, Pavel UKR - 118 GM Al Sayed, Mohamad N. QAT
Top player from Qater but Eljanov is one of succesful Ukraine GM this year.
12. GM Karjakin, Sergey UKR - 117 GM Rodriguez Vila, Andres URU
Also should belong to Karjakin eventhough I am not sure how strong Rodriguez is.
13. GM Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar AZE - 116 GM Kosteniuk, Alexandra RUS
The first interesting pairing so far by two big names. Quite a pity pairing as it will be good for both to go thru 2nd round. Rating wise Shak should overcome Alexa, but at least she is Women Champion and played well this month. And I am always an Alex fan. Few days ago Shak managed to blitz out Alexa in Tal Blitz event.
14. GM Shirov, Alexei ESP - 115 GM Kunte, Abhijit IND
Also an interesting pairing, Shirov is in roller coaster period this year. To much fire may cause Shirov a round. Shirov had quite good record in this type of qualification, being runner up twice before losing to Anand and Kamsky.
15. GM Dominguez Perez, Leinier CUB - 114 GM Smerdon, David AUS
A bit unfortunely fo Smerdon, new GM from Aussie as Dominguez is also a very strong GM from New World.
16. GM Movsesian, Sergei SVK - 113 GM Yu, Yangyi CHN
A true test for Yu Yangyi who recently rocketed his rating and name the whole year. Movsesian should depends on his experience to defeated this youngster.
17. GM Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime FRA - 112 GM Yu, Shaoteng CHN
Yu Shaoteng is a bit not seen this year and Maxime should be on his high moral after winning the World Junior.
18 GM Alekseev, Evgeny RUS - 111 IM Pridorozhni, Aleksei RUS
Alekseev also having played in many strong event this year but let see who this Pridorozhni is, having get a wildcard from organizer.
19. GM Tomashevsky, Evgeny RUS - 110 GM Ivanov, Alexander USA
Tomashevsky will be a though opponent for this America GM.
20 GM Wang, Hao CHN - 109 GM Friedel, Joshua E USA
Maybe can called it a bit lucky opponent for Friedel as Wang Hao is widely known now. At least this is should be an interesting pairing. Joshua stated that he never played Wang before but known him personally.
21. GM Navara, David CZE - 108 GM Laylo, Darwin PHI
Navara is a potential player in the same generation like Radjabov but lately not much played in strong event. Laylo will need to works veryyyy hard as Navara is no way an easy opponent.
22. GM Malakhov, Vladimir RUS - 107 GM Amin, Bassem EGY
Malakhov is the rating wise higher. Not sure about this pairing as both name not familiar by me.
23. GM Bacrot, Etienne FRA - 106 GM Nijboer, Friso NED
Friso Nijboer is an adventurous player and this pairing should be interesting to see. Quite equal I think.
24. GM Rublevsky, Sergei RUS - 105 GM Morovic Fernandez, Ivan CHI
Also an interesting round here, Rublevsky is much more in experience as he is also in most of top European event this year.
25. GM Jobava, Baadur GEO - 104 IM Robson, Ray USA
Jobava should be very careful over Robson.A must see pairing as Robson's games now as hot as chilli crab.
26. GM Motylev, Alexander RUS - 103 GM Hess, Robert L USA
Robert Hess is a bit off the tournament after the US Champ, a hard day for him to face a name like Motylev.
27. GM Kamsky, Gata USA - 102 GM Antonio, Rogelio Jr PHI
Rather unfortunate for the Phillipine second contestant. Kamsky lost many point lately but very small possibility he is off in 1st round.
28. GM Vitiugov, Nikita RUS - 101 GM Gupta, Abhijeet IND
Not sure about Vitiugov but Gupta is a strong contestant from India.
29. GM Bologan, Viktor MDA - 100 GM Adly, Ahmed EGY
Last from Egypt. Adly is the junior champion but Bologan is the old lion.
30. GM Naiditsch, Arkadij GER - 99 GM Hou, Yifan CHN
Again another interesting boy vs girl pairing. Hard day for both, but I personally hope Hou can go thru Naiditsch.
31. GM Bu, Xiangzhi CHN - 98 GM Pelletier, Yannick SUI
The Swiss man is pretty solid as in recent team match, but Bu is also once an elite player.
32. GM Polgar, Judit HUN - 97 GM Pavasovic, Dusko SLO
High hope for Polgar to go through this unfamiliar name. The only female that have the highest possibility to go to 2nd round.
33. GM Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter ROU - 96 GM Lupulescu, Constantin ROU
Unlucky day for Roumania to see this pairing. Nisipeanu is always a great player and hopefully can overcome his countryman.
34. GM Sargissian, Gabriel ARM - 95 GM Li, Chao b CHN
Li Chao "B" is on the way to be a new super GM, a hard day for both of them.
35. GM Onischuk, Alexander USA - 94 GM Flores, Diego ARG
Onischuk was once a solid opponent and most likely can go thru this unfamiliar
Diego Flores of Argentina.
36. GM Cheparinov, Ivan BUL - 93 GM Kryvoruchko, Yuriy UKR
Cheparinov just back from a not so nice Euro '09 so he had something to prove by defeating this Ukraine GM.
37. GM Efimenko, Zahar UKR - 92 GM Milos, Gilberto BRA
Just become familiar to Efimenko after his match again Short, not sure about this pairing as Milos seems a tricky opponent.
38. GM Sutovsky, Emil ISR - 91 GM Zhou, Weiqi CHN
Just shared first in Chigorin memorail, Weiqi should be a tough test for Sutovsky. But by experience Sutovsky suppose to win this round.
39. GM Najer, Evgeniy RUS - 90 GM Ghaem Maghami, Ehsan IRI
A big challenge for Najer as Ghaem is one of most successful Asian player lately. Very interesting pairing.
40. GM Tiviakov, Sergei NED - 89 GM Iturrizaga, Eduardo VEN
Iturrizaga is a growing name from Latin America Venezuela and Tiviakov should be very careful on this round.
41. GM Areshchenko, Alexander UKR - 88 GM C. Jimenez, Fidel CUB
I'm become familiar with Areshchenko after his good performance in Jubilee Open this year. Can't comment more about the Cuba GM.
42. GM Sasikiran, Krishnan IND - 87 GM L’Ami, Erwin NED
Almost an equal pairing now, and this should be a tough game for both.
43. GM Smirin, Ilia ISR - 86 GM Ehlvest, Jaan USA
Both is likely to have played a lot of time, can't predict as it looks equal.Jaan Ehlvest beat Ilya Smirin 6 to 3, with 9 draws in Chessgames.com database.
44. GM Baklan, Vladimir UKR - 85 GM Shabalov, Alexander USA
Can Shabalov still keep on high competition? Not familiar with Ukraine GM but should be tough game for both.
45. GM Ganguly, Surya Shekhar IND - 84 GM Filippov, Anton UZB
Uzbekistan is another strong chess country but playing in Asia zone. A clash of Asian here.
46. GM Fier, Alexandr BRA - 83 GM Khalifman, Alexander RUS
And also, can Khalifman back into competitive chess? Now is the moment to at
least go to 2nd round Alex!
47. GM Fressinet, Laurent FRA - 82 GM Sjugirov, Sanan RUS
Fressinet is busy in family now. I have a strong feeling for Sjugirov, an underated young GM from Russia.
48. GM Meier, Georg GER - 81 GM Petrosian, Tigran L. ARM
Both name is very strong but I am more to Tigran to go thru this round.
49. GM Grachev, Boris RUS - 80 GM Bartel, Mateusz POL
And both name is not familiar, at least I have a round that I don't need to comment.
50. GM Caruana, Fabiano ITA - 79 GM Bruzon Batista, Lazaro CUB
1st test for Caruana who invited by FIDE president to enter the World Cup, but Bruzon is also a famous name from Cuba.
51. GM Sokolov, Ivan NED - 78 GM Fedorchuk, Sergey A. UKR
Always hope Sokolov can back to high chess and Fedorchuck is maybe the unlucky one to met this aggresive player.
52. GM Milov, Vadim SUI - 77 GM Negi, Parimarjan IND
A promising young GM , Negi should be a very hard opponent for Milov. Vadim Milov is replacing Ni Hua here. So maybe his preparation a bit rushy.
53. GM Timofeev, Artyom RUS - 76 GM Leitao, Rafael BRA
Again another challenger from Latin America and this time quite promosing for the Brazilian to go thru.
54. GM Inarkiev, Ernesto RUS - 75 GM Gustafsson, Jan GER
Inarkiev tried hard to be an elite GM lately, a solid pairing for Gustafsson.
55. GM Savchenko, Boris RUS - 74 GM Shulman, Yuri USA
The American always like black horsie in facing the Russian. Not sure who is this Savchenko and I am rooting for Yuri.
56. GM Kobalia, Mikhail RUS - 73 GM Sandipan, Chanda IND
Another strong Indian for the Russian, also not sure who is this Kobalia is.
57. GM Tkachiev, Vladislav FRA - 72 GM Le, Quang Liem VIE
They might be seeing each other in Calcutta this September , but perhaps at that time Tkachiev is not very much "focus". Le Quang Liem is a new very strong GM from Vietname and the only Vietnamese in this qualification.
58. GM Tregubov, Pavel V. RUS - 71 GM Akobian, Varuzhan USA
Akobian is a popular name from US, and again a match between US and Russian. A worthy opponent for this Russian guy.
59. GM So, Wesley PHI - 70 GM Guseinov, Gadir AZE
The last and strongest Phillipine contestant. Guseinov is also one of strong GM from Azeri, but most likely he is the "unlucky" guy to face the So, as his games should be now examined thousand times by Wesley's fan. As I also now know Guseinov's mostly played 1.e4 and defend many times with Sicilian and King Indian. Should be interesting to see this two 1.e4 player face off.
60. GM Granda Zuniga, Julio E PER - 69 GM Sakaev, Konstantin RUS
The legendary Granda Zuniga is back to chess and Sakaev should be working very hard to not be packed home early.
61. GM Laznicka, Viktor CZE - 68 GM Papaioannou, Ioannis GRE
Both is not familiar and the 2nd pairing that I have no favorite here.
62. GM Andreikin, Dmitry RUS - 67 GM Nyback, Tomi FIN
Andreikin is a strong under 20 player, but Nyback is a reputable strong player from the Scandinavian land. Interesting pairing again.
63. GM Mamedov, Rauf AZE - 66 GM Zhou, Jianchao CHN
Mamedov is part of winning team of Azeri. But player with CHN acronym always a tricky one.
64. GM Amonatov, Farrukh TJK - 65 GM Volkov, Sergey RUS
Last of equal pairing, Volkov should be more popular for me. The only Tajikistan GM.
Some statistic here , by country the most participant coming from Russia, followed by surprisingly USA:
By Continent :
SOUTH AMERICA 8
NORTH AMERICA + Carribia 14