Aronian Wins FIDE World Cup

09.27.17 Levon Aronian won the 2017 FIDE World Cup with two back-to-back wins in the first set of tie break matches over Ding Liren of China after the four-game final match between these two chess giants was tied at 2.0 points apiece. The World Cup featured 128 of the world's best players and was played from September 2-27, 2017 in Tbilisi, Georgia. Here's the details with a complete game list.

Levon Aronian of Armenia wins the 2017 FIDE World Cup.

Images courtesy of the official website

All games from the FIDE World Cup 2017

Official website of the FIDE World Cup 2017

The seven-round, 128-player, and nearly one-month long FIDE World Cup is more than one of the strongest chess tournaments ever played, it's also an incredibly grueling endurance event that tests a player's mind, body, and soul.

As the field halved after each consecutive round, tensions mounted and nerves were tested to the maximum. The great former World Champion Alexander Alekhine commented that chess players need to be a combination of a monk and a tiger--placid, calm but also ready at each moment to strike when the opportunity presents itself.

Levon Aronian did just that. Unable to crack Ding Liren's defenses in the four game final match, which ended in a tie after four consecutive draws, the Armenian pounced on the slightest chances that the Chinese player left available for him and won two straight in the first round of 25-minute +10-second tie breaks.

Consolation for Ding Liren is that both first- and second-place World Cup finishers qualify for the eight-player candidates tournament to be held in Berlin, Germany on March 10-28, 2018. It is this tournament that will determine the next challenger to World Champion Magnus Carlsen in a match to be played in the fall of 2018.

Thus far only three players have been determined for the candidates tournament. In addition to Aronian and Liren, Sergey Karjakin has qualified based on his status as the previous challenger in the 2016 World Championship Match.

Ding Liren (left) and Levon Aronian played six games against each other during the course of the FIDE World Cup: four classical-time-control games in the final and two 25 minute +10 second rapid games in the first round of tie breaks.

Although second at the World Cup, Ding Liren qualified for the World Championship Candidates tournament.

The World Cup Finals were played at the magnificent Biltmore Hotel in Tbilisi, Georgia.

The semi-final match between Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (left) and Levon Aronian came down to what's know as the Armegeddon Game. If the players are still tied after regulation, they play a series of tie breaks with progressively less time on the clock: two games at G/25 +10, two games at G/10 +10, two games at G/5 +3. If the players are still tied, which they were in the case of Vachier-Lagrave - Aronian, they play one game in which White gets five minutes, and Black gets four minutes with a three-second increment starting on move 61. The player with the white pieces must win as a draw with the black pieces is considered a win. Aronian, playing white, won the game and advanced to the finals.

American player, Wesley So made it to the semi-finals where he was knocked out by Ding Liren.

World Champion Magnus Carlsen was knocked out in Round 3 (!) of the FIDE World Cup by the Chinese player Bu Xiangzhi. (These guys mean business.)

Bu Xiangzhi, himself capitulated in the next round to Peter Svidler.

Stay tuned for more exciting coverage on the Candidates Tournament Qualification path!

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