Nepomniachtchi, So, Svidler Eliminated From FIDE Chess World Cup
Jeffery Xiong interviewed after he won on demand versus Jan-Krzysztof Duda. Photo: Kirill Merkuryev/FIDE.

Nepomniachtchi, So, Svidler Eliminated From FIDE Chess World Cup

| 47 | Chess Event Coverage

Three big names were eliminated on the second day of the FIDE World Cup's fourth round. Wesley So and Peter Svidler only drew their games when they needed a win, while Ian Nepomniachtchi lost after a draw on Saturday. Leinier Dominguez and Jeffery Xiong managed to win on demand after starting with losses.

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 the third round, seven players lost their first games, and none of them managed to even the score the next day. In the fourth round, two of the four players who needed to win managed to do so.

If anyone could, it was Dominguez. He had come back twice from a loss in his tiebreak with Wang Hao and eventually advanced. The Cuban-American GM explained his game strategy before his second game with Grischuk:

"Obviously it's very difficult to win on demand against such a strong player, so I wasn't very optimistic to be honest, but I was of course going to fight until the end. I was just trying to create problems and not think too much about the result and see what happens. Somehow it worked."

Dominguez 2019 FIDE World Cup
Leinier Dominguez knows how to deal with a must-win situation. Photo: Kirill Merkuryev/FIDE.

It helped that Grischuk was suffering from his old malady: being low on time. And it was serious.

Dominguez: "It's a very sharp and complicated position, but it was my only chance to go for this kind of position. Of course, Black had many options, and I think that was one of the things that made Alexander go into time trouble. When he had like five minutes for 25 moves, I was quite optimistic because my position was also quite promising at that point."

And that led to the key moment of the game, where Grischuk's 28...Nxg2!? was a bit of a gamble in time trouble, and 29.Kh1! was the typical, calm reply found with enough time on the clock. (Dominguez spent less than a minute on it but must have anticipated it in his 18-minute deliberation on the previous move.)

FIDE's interview with Dominguez.

Xiong had his chances yesterday, and he described the game as "definitely a painful loss." However, right from the start his return game with Duda went well for him. The choice of the Bishop's Opening played an important role.

"It was a good choice and idea by my coach and second. The first 15 or 16 moves I had already looked at, and when he deviated I think he was already much worse."

Xiong was probably referring to Duda's miniplan ...f6 and ...Bf7, which simply failed tactically. Within a few moves, White had an overwhelming advantage.

FIDE's interview with Xiong.

At first sight Yu's win over Nepomniachtchi seemed the result of preparation as well, but that was hardly the case. His play against Nepo's Gruenfeld, which involved castling and also h2-h4-h5xg6 while abandoning his queenside, was ambitious but likely incorrect.

"I remembered 15.h4 but I forgot how to play after 15...Rb8," Yu said.

Yu Nepomniachtchi 2019 FIDE World Cup
Yu vs. Nepomniachtchi. Photo: Kirill Merkuryev/FIDE.

By keeping the queens on the board, the Russian GM could have kept a big advantage. The chances were about equal until he wrongly maneuvered his fianchetto bishop to the queenside, and suddenly White got his kingside attack after all.

FIDE's interview with Yu.

So needed to win as well, but was surprisingly helpless in his white game with Vitiugov. Choosing a Closed Ruy Lopez as the battleground, the American grandmaster went for an early e4-e5-e6 pawn push, but it gave him no advantage whatsoever. Vitiugov managed to reach a dead drawn endgame to reach the quarterfinals.

So Vitiugov 2019 FIDE World Cup
So vs. Vitiugov. Photo: Kirill Merkuryev/FIDE.

Svidler had more chances of getting an advantage against MVL. His 6.Nb3!? against the Najdorf, one of the latest tries for White on move six, worked out OK as he had a slight advantage after the opening. However, instead of grabbing Black's a-pawn (after which Vachier-Lagrave got enough compensation), blocking it with a knight might have been a better plan.

Peter Svidler 2019 FIDE World Cup
After Peter Svidler's exit, the only former winner remaining is the only player who has won it twice: Levon Aronian. Photo: Kirill Merkuryev/FIDE.

The matches Kirill Alekseenko vs. Ding Liren, Levon Aronian vs. Le Quang Liem and Teimour Radjabov vs Shakhriyar Mamedyarov saw two draws in the classical games (see the game viewer below for all of today's games). Especially for the two Azerbaijani grandmasters that was no surprise.

Ding was under some pressure today after he was outplayed in the early middlegame by Alekseenko, who is playing more impressively each day. Just like against Vishy Anand at Norway Chess, Ding gave two pieces for a rook, but this time White ended up with the better chances:

Alekseenko Ding 2019 FIDE World Cup
Another good game by Alekseenko vs. Ding. Photo: Kirill Merkuryev/FIDE.

FIDE World Cup | Round 4 Results

Seed Fed Title Player - Seed Fed Title Player G1 G2 TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4 TB5 TB6 TB7
1 GM Ding Liren - 49 GM Alekseenko ½-½ ½-½ . . . . . . .
3 GM Vachier-Lagrave - 19 GM Svidler 1-0 ½-½ . . . . . . .
4 GM So - 20 GM Vitiugov 0-1 ½-½ . . . . . . .
5 GM Nepomniachtchi - 12 GM Yu Yangyi ½-½ 0-1 . . . . . . .
6 GM Aronian - 22 GM Le Liem ½-½ ½-½ . . . . . . .
7 GM Mamedyarov - 10 GM Radjabov ½-½ ½-½ . . . . . . .
8 GM Dominguez - 9 GM Grischuk 0-1 1-0 . . . . . . .
18 GM Duda - 31 GM Xiong 1-0 0-1 . . . . . . .
Saturday's games for download/replay:


2019 FIDE World Cup bracket final 16

(Click on image for larger 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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