Russian world champions and husband and wife team Alexander Grischuk and Kateryna Lagno, pictured, were both knocked out of the FIDE World Cup in Baku today ©FIDE

Shocks continued at the International Chess Federation (FIDE) World Cup in Baku with the elimination of the sport’s power couple and three-time World Blitz Champions, Alexander Grischuk and Kateryna Lagno.

Lagno, a Ukrainian-born Russian competing as a neutral, was eliminated in the first rapid match of the playoff, after losing the second game to more than 200 points to lower-rated Indian Mary Ann Gomes at the Baku Marriott Hotel Boulevard.

The fate of Grischuk, Lagno’s husband, was sealed after a gruelling six-hour battle in four playoff rounds, ultimately succumbing in the final game against Iran’s Bardiya Daneshvar after missing a winning move.

Among the favourites, United States pair Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So and The Netherlands’ Anish Giri are through after winning their rapid tiebreaks.

In the women’s tournament, China’s world champion Ju Wenjun, as well as the 2021 World Cup winner Alexandra Kosteniuk, a former Russian now competing for Switzerland, made it to the next round after winning their rapid tiebreaks.

Grischuk was one move away from victory in the final tiebreak against Daneshvar, which consisted of just one game, when he misplayed and allowed his 17-year-old rival a black to escape a mating threat, while at the same time advancing his runners on the queenside to book a third-round meeting with the United Arab Emirates Salem Saleh.

After a draw in the first rapid game with Gomes, Lagno had a slightly better position in the second only to blunder in the middlegame, trapping her queen, and slipping to a surprise defeat to the 33-year-old from Kolkata.

Defeats for Grischuk and Lagno followed yesterday’s upset when Grandmasters Nodirbek Abdusattorov of Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan's Shakhriyar Mamedyarov were beaten.

Nakamura, currently the world’s second highest-rated player, qualified for the third round after clinching victory in the second rapid game against India’s Venkataraman Karthik after their draw in the first one.

The 2565-rated Indian Grandmaster was winning as white before he, first, dropped the advantage, and then got into trouble where he had to give up an exchange, emerging in a lost position.

So's luck continued as he overcame a seemingly lost position in the first rapid game against Turkey’s Emre Can due to the time trouble-induced errors.

With a draw in game two, So was through to round three.

Super grandmasters Giri, France’s Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Russian neutral Andrey Esipenko, Slovenia’s Vladimir Fedoseev, and Egypt’s Amin Bassem were also through after the first rapid playoffs.

There was another shock, however, as home Abdulla Gadimbayli knocked out Spain’s 2691-rated Grandmaster David Anton after winning the first rapid game and then holding on for a draw in the second.

In the women’s tournament, Wenjun won after her opponent Eva Repkova from Slovakia blundered a piece in an even position in the first game to snatch victory, with the second game ending in a draw.

Former world champion Kosteniuk dominated China’s Yan Tianqi in the first rapid game and finishing the second with a comfortable draw.

Kazakhstan’s two-time world rapid champion Bibisara Assaubayeva won her rapid match against Singapore’s Qianyun Gong.

In game one, despite dominating from the start, 19-year-old Assaubayeva blundered in the endgame, entering an even position.

Fortunately for her, Gong also made a mistake soon after, ending a rook down.

Bibisara also won the second rapid, despite being weaker in the first part of that game.