Teimour Radjabov has just won the World Cup.
The first two FIDE World Cups, in 2000 and 2002 had 4 groups of 6 players with the 2 group winners going into an 8-player knockout. They were both won by Anand and were stand-alone tournaments.
In 2005 the tournament morphed into its current form, a 128 player knockout with a place in the Candidates as the prize (apart from large bundles of cash) played every 2 years.
Knockout is a brutal format which favours the toughest players over the very best. Even though the Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1991 every single winner of the current format World Cup was born in the former USSR. Here is the list:
2005 - Levon Aronian (born 1982 in Yerevan, USSR)
2007 - Gata Kamsky (born 1974 in Novokuznetsk, USSR)
2009 - Boris Gelfand (born 1968 in Minsk, USSR)
2011 - Peter Svidler (born 1976 in Leningrad, USSR)
2013 - Vladimir Kramnik (born 1975 in Tuapse, USSR)
2015 - Sergey Karjakin (born in 1990 in Simferopol, USSR)
2017 - Levon Aronian (born 1982 in Yerevan, USSR)
2019 - Teimour Radjabov (born 1987 in Baku, USSR)
The very best non-USSR players have entered multiple times and failed. Players like Carlsen, Caruana, Ding, Anand have entered but failed to make it all the way though the tough competition.
What is it about Soviet born players that makes them winners in this format?