FIDE Chess World Cup Ends For Karjakin, Harikrishna
Kirill Alekseenko is the sensation of the World Cup so far. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

FIDE Chess World Cup Ends For Karjakin, Harikrishna

| 28 | Chess Event Coverage

Sergey Karjakin, Pentala Harikrishna and the five other players who started their round three of the FIDE World Cup with a loss were all eliminated after failing to win the next day.

Kirill AlekseenkoJan-Krzysztof Duda, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Alexander Grischuk, Teimour Radjabov, Wesley So and Nikita Vitiugov got through to round four with draws, and were joined by Levon Aronian, who defeated Maxim Matlakov. There will be eight tiebreak matches on Wednesday.

You can follow the games here as part of our live portal There is daily coverage by our Twitch partner, the Chessbrahs.

GMs Yasser Seirawan, Eric Hansen and Aman Hambleton are covering the tournament each day on their channel Play starts at 3 p.m. local time, which is 12:00 (noon) CEST, 6 a.m. Eastern and 3 a.m. Pacific.

In a World Cup that has produced many fantastic games so far, a day with just three decisive results felt disappointing. We've been spoiled!

The 16-year-old Alireza Firouzja gets a chance to show his speed chess prowess as he held top seed Ding Liren to a draw as Black with remarkable ease.

The way the Iranian teenager handled the 8.a4 Catalan almost looked naive as his Nc6-a5 and Bb7 allowed a serious weakening of the c6 square, but of course he had analyzed it deeply and he managed to get a playable position.

It does seem that Ding could have tried a bit harder. Perhaps his recent win vs. Magnus Carlsen in St. Louis made him more confident about tiebreaks?

Ding Firouzja 2019 FIDE World Cup
Ding-Firouzja is a tiebreak to look forward to. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The Berlin defense in the Ruy Lopez was seen four times, and it performed its task by securing the half-point for black players Anish Giri (vs. Jeffery Xiong), Dmitry Jakovenko (vs. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave), Evgeny Tomashevsky (vs. Ian Nepomniachtchi) and Leinier Dominguez (vs. Wang Hao).

"In general I don't mind tiebreaks against anybody except Magnus and he's not here, so I'm good!"

—Wesley So

None of the seven players who lost the first game managed to win on demand.So (vs. Vidit Gujrathi),Radjabov (vs. Daniil Yuffa) and Duda (vs. Dmitry Andreikin) played a solid game as Black and gave their opponents few chances for more than a draw.

So said he was happy to have reached the next round without tiebreaks, but mostly because it gives him two rest days (there's a rest day for all players on Thursday): "In general I don't mind tiebreaks against anybody except Magnus and he's not here, so I'm good!"

FIDE's interview with So.

Mamedyarov and Eltaj Safarli played a rare sideline of the Dutch, where White goes 1.Nf3 f5 2.d3 (planning 3.e4) and after 2...Nc6 he pushes the same pawn a square further: 3.d4. The idea is that Black's knight is badly placed on c6 in Dutch structures.

The strongest of the two Azerbaijani grandmasters got a promising position as White, but didn't mind giving his friend half a point as it got him what he needed.

Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu used the 5...Ba5 Winawer to reach a rather easy draw with Peter Svidler. The latter never played the sharp 7.Qg4 line in his career, even though for some theoreticians (such as Parimarjan Negi in his 1.e4 repertoire books) it's the critical reply. The game went straight into the endgame, and that was that.

The fact that Vishy Anand also went for 7.Nb5 at Norway Chess this year vs. So suggests that an antidote has been found against Negi's analysis.

Nisipeanu 2019 FIDE World Cup
Wang Hao and Vachier-Lagrave taking a look at Nisipeanu's endgame position. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

After Boris Gelfand, the World Cup said goodbye to another former winner. Karjakin needed to beat Nikita Vitiugov and managed to sharpen up the position in a Giuoco Pianissimo, but his opponent was up to the task and found a nice bishop sacrifice on f2 to force a repetition. A move earlier the same sacrifice might have been even stronger.

Karjakin 2019 FIDE World Cup
Karjakin played his last moves in this FIDE World Cup. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Another former winner, Aronian, didn't have to play tiebreaks yet and in fact in all three rounds he drew his white game and won his black game. It was Matlakov who correctly went for a piece sacrifice, but his follow-up was not the best and by giving back some material, Aronian grabbed the initiative. In the endgame he was already slightly better with two minor pieces for a rook and two pawns.

"I wanted to be practical and played the safest way," Aronian said.

FIDE's interview with Aronian.

The fairy tale is over for Xu Xiangyu. The Chinese GM had shown excellent chess so far, but in his black game with Grischuk he lost without a chance. Combining a Queen's Gambit Declined setup (...d5 and ....e6) with an Indian setup (...g6 and Bg7) against Grischuk's Catalan looked a bit funny, but Xu's 7...Nc6 was definitely out of place.

Nevertheless, Grischuk seemed happy with a draw (after winning the first game) and repeated moves, which Xu avoided with the weakening 15...h5. That only backfired:

Alexander Grischuk 2019 FIDE World Cup
Grischuk will now face either Dominguez or Wang Hao. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Harikrishna was the other player who lost both classical games, but in his case it was against a lower-rated player. As one of the wildcards, Alekseenko is the sensation of the World Cup so far.

"He definitely wanted to take revenge; that's why he sacrificed a piece in the middlegame," Alekseenko explained. "Unfortunately for him, maybe it was incorrect."

FIDE's interview with Alekseenko.

FIDE World Cup | Round 3 Results

Seed Fed Title Player - Seed Fed Title Player G1 G2 TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4 TB5 TB6 TB7
1 GM Ding Liren - 32 GM Firouzja ½-½ ½-½ . . . . . . .
2 GM Giri - 31 GM Xiong ½-½ ½-½ . . . . . . .
3 GM Vachier-Lagrave - 30 GM Jakovenko ½-½ ½-½ . . . . . . .
4 GM So - 29 GM Vidit 1-0 ½-½ . . . . . . .
5 GM Nepomniachtchi - 28 GM Tomashevsky ½-½ ½-½ . . . . . . .
6 GM Aronian - 27 GM Matlakov ½-½ 1-0 . . . . . . .
7 GM Mamedyarov - 58 GM Safarli 1-0 ½-½ . . . . . . .
8 GM Dominguez - 25 GM Wang Hao ½-½ ½-½ . . . . . . .
9 GM Grischuk - 105 GM Xu Xiangyu 1-0 1-0 . . . . . . .
10 GM Radjabov - 106 GM Yuffa 1-0 ½-½ . . . . . . .
11 GM Artemiev - 22 GM Le ½-½ ½-½ . . . . . . .
12 GM Yu Yangyi - 21 GM Wei Yi ½-½ ½-½ . . . . . . .
13 GM Karjakin - 20 GM Vitiugov 0-1 ½-½ . . . . . . .
15 GM Andreikin - 18 GM Duda 0-1 ½-½ . . . . . . .
17 GM Harikrishna - 49 GM Alekseenko 0-1 0-1 . . . . . . .
19 GM Svidler - 51 GM Nisipeanu ½-½ ½-½ . . . . . . .
Tuesday's games for download/replay
Nikita Vitiugov 2019 FIDE World Cup
Once nicknamed "The Iceman," Vitiugov kept his cool in his game with Karjakin. Photo: Maria Emelianova/
Wesley So Svidler Nisipeanu 2019 FIDE World Cup
Wesley So is also curious about the Svidler-Nisipeanu endgame. Photo: Maria Emelianova/
Jeffery Xiong 2019 FIDE World Cup
Jeffery Xiong drew both classical games with second seed Anish Giri. Photo: Maria Emelianova/
Levon Aronian yellow shirt 2019 FIDE World Cup
In an interview Aronian agreed that his colorful shirts might give him some inspiration. Photo: Maria Emelianova/
Vidit 2019 FIDE World Cup
Not getting much as White on Tuesday vs. So, Vidit might have been thinking some more about the rook endgame from the day before. Photo: Maria Emelianova/
Bracket: (Click on images for bigger version.)
2019 FIDE World Cup bracket
2019 FIDE World Cup bracket
2019 FIDE World Cup bracket
2019 FIDE World Cup bracket
2019 FIDE World Cup bracket
2019 FIDE World Cup bracket
2019 FIDE World Cup bracket
2019 FIDE World Cup bracket

(Click on images for bigger version.)

The FIDE World Cup takes place Sept. 9-Oct. 4 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. Each round consists of two classical games and a tiebreak on the third day. The final consists of four classical games. Both finalists will qualify for the 2020 Candidates' Tournament. The total prize fund is $1.6 million (1.45 million euros). Sept. 19 and 29 are rest days. You can find more background info in our preview article.

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