FIDE Chess World Cup: Xiong Knocks Out Duda; Radjabov Eliminates Mamedyarov
The decisive game between Xiong and Duda. Photo: Kirill Merkuryev/FIDE.

FIDE Chess World Cup: Xiong Knocks Out Duda; Radjabov Eliminates Mamedyarov

| 32 | Chess Event Coverage

After eliminating Anish Giri, 18-year-old Jeffery Xiong scored another upset at the FIDE World Cup as he knocked out 18th-seed Jan-Krzysztof Duda in an epic tiebreak on Sunday. In the all-Azerbaijani match Teimour Radjabov eliminated Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

The other players who advanced were Ding Liren, Alexander Grischuk and Levon Aronian, who beat Kirill Alekseenko, Leinier Dominguez and Le Quang Liem respectively.

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.

Epic was the word for the tiebreak between Duda and Xiong. Both had won their white game in the classical part, and they just kept on doing that in their tiebreak.

Xiong started with a win, but Duda came back and won the next as well. Then it was Xiong's turn to win on demand.

The white pieces won six straight games before the players finally played one draw in the first 5+3 game. Then Xiong won yet again with white to decide this thriller of a match.

Having lost a technical rook endgame in the first rapid game, the Polish grandmaster chose a remarkable opening move for his first must-win game in this World Cup: 1.a3. It worked out well as the middlegame became extremely sharp, and eventually Duda finished on top.

Jan-Krzsyztof Duda 2019 FIDE World Cup
Gotta love Duda's 1.a3, especially since it worked! Photo: Kirill Merkuryev/FIDE.

Xiong missed a win in the first 10+10 game and lost unnecessarily, so he had to win on demand. From a Petroff defense, the players eventually reached a knight endgame that was equal, but the American player kept pushing and eventually pulled through:

Jeffery Xiong 2019 FIDE World Cup
Jeffery Xiong on his thoughts before his must-win game: "It was nice knowing that the white pieces were doing very well." Photo: Kirill Merkuryev/FIDE.

There was one game left before the armageddon. Duda once again tried a (somewhat) off-beat opening, the Alekhine Defense, and without hesitation Xiong went for the Four Pawns variation—popular at club level but not among 2700s. Fittingly, the players treated the fans to one more wild affair:

Xiong said he was "simply exhausted" after this tiebreak: "There were many moments where both of us probably should have finished the match. The player with the white pieces had a lot of luck, and I would say maybe this final game, OK, I had a very good position at one point, but I think he blundered somewhere. I think it still was very unclear before that."

FIDE's interview with Xiong.

Xiong's next opponent will be Radjabov, who eliminated his good friend Mamedyarov by winning the second 10+10 game.

Especially since Radjabov has been quite inactive in recent years, it's easy to forget that he is actually two years younger than Mamedyarov (34). However, as a prodigy his successes came earlier while it's Mamedyarov who is a steady top-10 player these days. 

The decisive game exploded when Mamedyarov sacrificed on f7:

Radjabov Mamedyarov FIDE World Cup 2019
Mamedyarov vs. Radjabov. Photo: Kirill Merkuryev/FIDE.

"It’s like the most annoying pairing; whether you win or lose, it’s more or less the same," Radjabov said about having to play against Mamedyarov. "One of us had to qualify; this time it was me."

About the last game he said: "I really don’t know what was happening, it’s probably full of all those red moves and stuff, it’s kind of a strange game. I was very surprised with his 35.Nxf7; I think it was not on time. Probably he had to take c6 and try some other chances."

FIDE's interview with Radjabov.

After starting with a draw, Aronian endured some scary moments in the second rapid game with Le. It wasn't clear what exactly went wrong in the opening, but suddenly the Vietnamese GM was winning a full piece.

But the Armenian GM happens to be a tricky guy.

Le failed to foresee his cunning plan, which was based on the importance of blocking the long-diagonal with a knight on d5. As soon as that happened, White's extra knight was suddenly frozen on the rim and worthless. What an escape.

Levon Aronian 2019 FIDE World Cup
Levon Aronian is still in the race for winning his third World Cup. Photo: Kirill Merkuryev/FIDE.

Aronian agreed that he had a psychological edge after this game: "The day was starting badly for me. I think I didn’t prepare in a good way for the games. It’s something I was lucky to survive, and it’s some kind of a lesson for the future rounds."

Aronian won the first 10+10 and drew the second to advance:

His quarterfinal, against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, will be a repeat of the semifinal of two years ago, dramatically won by Aronian in the armageddon game of the tiebreak.

"It’s most likely going to be a difficult match," Aronian said. "I hope I will be in a good shape, that I’ll play better than today. But I’m excited because the goal is getting closer so that’s a good sign."

FIDE's interview with Aronian.

The other two tiebreak matches were decided in the rapid portion. Dominguez got only a slight edge in his first game against Grischuk, and after a draw the Russian GM won the next convincingly:

Grischuk Dominguez 2019 FIDE World Cup
Dominguez vs. Grischuk. Photo: Kirill Merkuryev/FIDE.

Grischuk will now be playing against top-seed Ding, who beat Alekseenko in both rapid games. The Chinese GM somewhat tricked his opponent in the first, as out of the blue he won a piece in the middle of the board:

Ding Liren 2019 FIDE World Cup
Ding Liren. Photo: Kirill Merkuryev/FIDE.

FIDE World Cup | Round 4 Tiebreak 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 1-0 1-0 . . . . .
6 GM Aronian - 22 GM Le Liem ½-½ ½-½ ½-½ ½-½ 1-0 ½-½ . . .
7 GM Mamedyarov - 10 GM Radjabov ½-½ ½-½ ½-½ ½-½ ½-½ 0-1 . . .
8 GM Dominguez - 9 GM Grischuk 0-1 1-0 ½-½ 0-1 . . . . .
18 GM Duda - 31 GM Xiong 1-0 0-1 0-1 1-0 1-0 0-1 ½-½ 0-1 .
Sunday's games for download/replay:

The quarterfinals, starting on Monday, look like this:

  • Ding Liren - Alexander Grischuk
  • Nikita Vitiugov - Yu Yangyi
  • Jeffery Xiong - Teimour Radjabov
  • Maxime Vachier-Lagrave - Levon Aronian

2019 FIDE World Cup Quarterfinals Bracket
(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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