FIDE Chess World Cup: Ding Liren Reaches Final, Qualifies For Candidates
Top seed Ding Liren qualified for the World Cup final for the second time in a row. Photo: Kirill Merkuryev/FIDE.

FIDE Chess World Cup: Ding Liren Reaches Final, Qualifies For Candidates

| 54 | Chess Event Coverage

Ding Liren will be Teimour Radjabov's opponent in the FIDE World Cup final starting on Monday. The 26-year-old Chinese grandmaster defeated his 25-year-old compatriot Yu Yangyi on Saturday in the tiebreak of their semifinal by winning the second rapid game.

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.

Especially after Ding defeated Magnus Carlsen in the playoff of the Sinquefield Cup last month, experts including Garry Kasparov were calling the Chinese player the rightful opponent for the Norwegian in the next world championship match. Ding got a step closer to that goal by beating Yu today.

With this victory, Ding has qualified for the 2020 Candidates' Tournament—together with his World Cup final opponent Teimour Radjabov as well as Fabiano Caruana, the loser of the last title match. Five more names will be known later.

Ding also refuted the conspiracy theory that he might lose on purpose today to get two Chinese players into the Candidates' Tournament. The theory held that if he hadn't qualified via the World Cup, Ding would have almost certainly qualified by rating.

Now Anish Giri is most probably going to be the rating qualifier, so the Dutchman might as well have opened a bottle of champagne when he saw Ding winning Saturday's tiebreak.

This all-Chinese tiebreak started with a draw in a Nimzo-Indian—a different line as in their classical game and quite a rare variation in fact. Ding was not in serious danger as Black:

Yu Yangyi Ding Liren 2019 FIDE World Cup tiebreak
The start of the first rapid game between Yu Yangyi and Ding Liren. Photo: Kirill Merkuryev/FIDE.

The second rapid game was very interesting. In an English opening, Yu had prepared better than his opponent (who was on his own after Black's 13th move) and sacrificed an exchange early in the game. 

Ding decided to give back a pawn and then another one to avoid an attack, but Black remained very active. In the heat of the moment, Yu failed to find the best tactical solutions, and then he remained an exchange down as his compensation evaporated.

Ding Liren 2019 FIDE World Cup
Ding Liren being interviewed after the match. Photo: Kirill Merkuryev/FIDE.

Ding said that the players, who know each other so well, surprised each other in this match. "We didn't play our most familiar lines to deviate from the other's preparation."

With his win, Ding became the first player in history to qualify for a World Cup final twice in a row. In 2017 as the ninth seed, he lost in the final to Levon Aronian. This year he is the top seed and will be playing 10th-seed Radjabov.

FIDE's interview with Ding.

The final starts on Monday and will consist of four classical games—only then, if needed, a tiebreak. The winner will earn $110,000; the runner-up, $80,000.

Alongside the final—and this is new this year—the losers of the semifinals, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Yu, will be playing a match for third place. The winner will earn $60,000; the loser gets $50,000.

FIDE World Cup | Semifinals Results

Seed Fed Title Player - Seed Fed Title Player G1 G2 TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4 TB5 TB6 TB7
1 GM Ding Liren - 12 GM Yu Yangyi ½-½ ½-½ ½-½ 1-0 . . . . .
3 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime - 10 GM Radjabov Teimour ½-½ 0-1 . . . . . . .

2019 FIDE World Cup bracket semifinals
(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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