FIDE World Cup R5.2: Shankland, Vidit Through
Shankland and Svidler, about to start their game. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

FIDE World Cup R5.2: Shankland, Vidit Through

| 23 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Sam Shankland knocked out GM Peter Svidler from the FIDE World Cup on Monday. The American grandmaster won his white game to qualify for the quarterfinals. GM Vidit Gujrathi is the only other player who reached the next round without needing a tiebreak. As Black, he beat GM Vasif Durarbayli.

In the women's section, three players reached the semifinals. Top seed Aleksandra Goryachkina beat IM Dinara Saduakassova, GM Alexandra Kosteniuk beat GM Valentina Gunina, and GM Tan Zhongyi beat GM Kateryna Lagno.

How to watch?
The games of the FIDE World Cup can be found here: Open | Women. provides daily commentary on and with GM Hou Yifan, GM Ben Finegold, IM Danny Rensch, GM Robert Hess, GM Viswanathan Anand, and other guests.

Svidler was the only player who has made it to the final 16 in all eight FIDE World Cups since 2005. He also won it in 2011 and reached the final in 2015. This year, the fifth round was the final station for Svidler.

Shankland had played two World Cups before but never got further than the second round. This year, the 29-year-old GM from Berkeley, California, has made it to the final eight players.

"I was sort of torn because I was in some way unhappy to play with him, just because, as opposed to other players of his level, in practice he's a guy who is very hard to actually beat," said Shankland. "But I was also happy to play with him because he just doesn't play boring chess approximately ever. I was looking forward to playing some fun games."

Sam Shankland laptop
Sam Shankland joined the live broadcast after his game. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The second game was definitely fun for him because he won it and it was also quite sharp. His third move, h2-h4, set the tone. In an attempt to avoid the most targeted preparation, Svidler did not play 4...Nc6, which he recommends in his latest course on the Grunfeld but instead steered into direct King's Indian waters.

Shankland lost his opening advantage, but on move 24 Svidler made a big mistake, when Shankland calculated accurately and found the refutation. He'll next play either GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave or GM Sergey Karjakin, who drew their second game in just six minutes to go straight to tiebreaks.

"They're both tremendous rapid players up to the point where they might be more dangerous in the rapid than in classical," said Shankland. Game of the Day Dejan Bojkov

The other player who can get the popcorn ready and watch the tiebreaks from his hotel room is Vidit. The Indian grandmaster won his black game vs. Durarbayli, whose light-squared bishop got horribly sidelined in a Ruy Lopez, and his pressure on Black's backward d6-pawn did not provide enough counterplay. 

Durarbayli vs Vidit Sochi 2021
Durarbayli vs. Vidit, who will play Duda or Grischuk next. Photo: Eric Rosen/FIDE.

Incidentally, this means we already know two potential participants of the 2022 FIDE Grand Prix. A total of 24 players will play in it, including the top-eight finishers of this FIDE World Cup.

GM Haik Martirosyan, one of the young and upcoming grandmasters in this World Cup, got very close to booking a direct ticket to the quarterfinals as well. Like Durarbayli, he had a terrible minor piece (a knight, in his case) in his game with GM Amin Tabatabaei where Martirosyan needed only a draw. Ironically, he shouldn't have traded that knight:

Martirosyan Tabatabaei Sochi 2021
A very disappointing loss for Martirosyan. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

GM Velimir Ivic's fairy-tale tournament is still alive as he also held the draw in game two vs. GM Vladimir Fedoseev. It's always nice to see the Zaitsev Variation of the Ruy Lopez as it recalls some of the most brilliant Ruy Lopez games in world championship history between GM Garry Kasparov and GM Anatoly Karpov.

Ivic Fedoseev Sochi 2021
A Zaitsev in Ivic-Fedoseev. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The game between GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda and GM Alexander Grischuk was quite sharp and ended like their first game with White giving a perpetual check to the black king:

Duda Piorun FIDE World Cup 2021
Duda with his compatriot Kacper Piorun, who drew twice with Etienne Bacrot. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Not mentioned are the Esipenko-Carlsen and Piorun-Bacrot games, where no player got a significant advantage, and draws were agreed before the time control. This means we'll have six tiebreak matches in the open section on Tuesday.

Results round of 16

Fed Player Rtg - Fed Player Rtg G1 G2 TB
GM Carlsen, Magnus 2847 - GM Esipenko, Andrey 2716 ½-½ ½-½ .
GM Grischuk, Alexander 2778 - GM Duda, Jan-Krzysztof 2738 ½-½ ½-½ .
GM Karjakin, Sergey 2757 - GM Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2749 ½-½ ½-½ .
GM Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi 2726 - GM Durarbayli, Vasif 2625 ½-½ 1-0 .
GM Svidler, Peter 2714 - GM Shankland, Sam 2709 ½-½ 0-1 .
GM Fedoseev, Vladimir 2696 - GM Ivic, Velimir 2582 ½-½ ½-½ .
GM Bacrot, Etienne 2678 - GM Piorun, Kacper 2608 ½-½ ½-½ .
GM Haik Martirosyan 2632 - GM Tabatabaei, M. Amin 2613 1-0 0-1 .

2021 FIDE World Cup bracket

The women's tournament will see just one tiebreak as GM Anna Muzychuk and GM Nana Dzagnidze drew both their classical games.

Second seed Lagno did not survive the quarterfinals as she went down against former women's world champion Tan, who found a fantastic pawn sacrifice in the endgame:

Tan Zhongyi FIDE World Cup 2021
Tan Zhongyi, winner of the 2017 FIDE Women's World Championship, has made it to the semifinals. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Gunina had to win on demand vs. Kosteniuk but never really got close to an advantage until she ended up losing again. Goryachkina had an easy day at the office as Saduakassova blundered a tactic as early as move 22: 

Aleksandra Goryachkina FIDE World Cup 2021
Aleksandra Goryachkina. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Results quarterfinals

Fed Player Rating Fed Player Rating G1 G2 TB
GM Goryachkina, Aleksandra 2596 - IM Saduakassova, Dinara 2483 ½-½ 1-0 .
GM Lagno, Kateryna 2559 - GM Tan, Zhongyi 2511 ½-½ 0-1 .
GM Muzychuk, Anna 2527 - GM Dzagnidze, Nana 2523 ½-½ ½-½ .
GM Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2472 - GM Gunina, Valentina 2437 1-0 1-0 .

2021 FIDE Women's World Cup bracketThe FIDE World Cup takes place in the Galaxy Leisure Complex in Sochi, Russia, until August 6, 2021. Each round consists of two classical games and, if necessary, a rapid/blitz tiebreak on the third day. The open section began round two with 128 players and the women's section, 64.

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