FIDE World Cup R7.3: Duda Beats Carlsen To Reach Final, Candidates
Jan-Krzysztof Duda beats Magnus Carlsen. Photo: Eric Rosen/FIDE.

FIDE World Cup R7.3: Duda Beats Carlsen To Reach Final, Candidates

| 80 | Chess Event Coverage

Not GM Magnus Carlsen but GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda has reached the final of the FIDE World Cup. On Tuesday, the Polish grandmaster beat the world champion in the second rapid game to set up a clash with GM Sergey Karjakin. Both finalists have also qualified for the 2022 FIDE Candidates Tournament.

GM Tan Zhongyi came third in the women's tournament after beating GM Anna Muzychuk in the tiebreak of their match.

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.

The World Cup is the only prize that Carlsen hasn't won yet in his career. On his fourth attempt and his second as the world champion, he failed to make it to the end. His hurdle was Duda, the same player who ended his 125-game unbeaten streak in October 2020.

Carlsen has now matched his best World Cup achievement. In 2007, the Norwegian star finished in a shared third place with Karjakin. Both were 17 at the time. Now 14 years later, Carlsen is the world champion whereas Karjakin has clinched one World Cup and will be playing for his second.

Magnus Carlsen World Cup 2021
Again no World Cup title for Magnus Carlsen. Photo: Eric Rosen/FIDE.

Duda, in turn, made history for chess in Poland. His place in the final also means that he has qualified for the 2022 FIDE Candidates Tournament. For the first time since GM Akiba Rubinstein, Miguel Najdorf, and Samuel Reshevsky, a Polish-born player is playing at the absolute top level.

While Carlsen's early exit in 2017 vs. GM Bu Xiangzhi felt a bit random, it's different this time. The way Duda pressed in his two white games (classical and rapid) made a strong impression whereas Carlsen didn't deliver at the moments of highest tension.

This wasn't random. This was a confident, 23-year-old grandmaster who knew he win because he had done it before.

Jan-Krzysztof Duda
Jan-Krzysztof Duda putting the pieces back after beating Carlsen. Photo: Anastasiya Korolkova/FIDE.

The players started with a draw in their first game. Carlsen chose the Berlin for the first time in this World Cup and played a Breyer setup against Duda's Anti-Berlin. It seemed that Duda had an edge after the opening, but when Carlsen found a pawn push on move 19, he was alright. Later in the game, he got some initiative, but when his clock was running down he chose to give a perpetual.

2021 FIDE World Cup semifinals tiebreaks
Duda-Carlsen and Muzychuk-Tan together on one stage. Photo: Eric Rosen/FIDE.

Duda's win in the second game was a combination of excellent, solid chess from his side (including 14...Be7! stopping Ng5 ideas and the regrouping moves 17...Qc6! and 27...Na7!) and Carlsen being somewhat slow on and off the board. His kingside attack never really got going—partly because of Duda's excellent prophylaxis against it, combining threats with defense—and Carlsen was lacking time on the clock to play the bishop endgame, where he had fought back to a drawn position, accurately enough.

In the final phase, probably neither player knew exactly what was going on as both played on their increments. Duda felt he even "gambled" at one point (62...Bc3) and called it "a crazy game."

Holding his head in one of his hands for long stretches of the game, Carlsen's body language suggested that he lacked energy—not unusual after 20 days of chess. It might well be the case that the seven-and-a-half-year younger Duda was more mentally sharp and physically fit.

It might have helped that the Polish player, who still hasn't lost a single game at this World Cup, has had to play just one tiebreak, where he beat GM Alexander Grischuk in two rapid games. Carlsen has been involved in two tiebreaks, including that long and epic one with GM Andrey Esipenko.

Carlsen-Duda FIDE World Cup tiebreak
Carlsen resigns vs. Duda. Photo: Eric Rosen/FIDE.

"I never expected to win, especially with black against Magnus," said Duda, who will now face Karjakin in the final. This will be a repeat of their 2018 Speed Chess match, won by Duda, so Karjakin is warned.

Duda: "He is obviously a very difficult opponent, but I hope I will be kind of relaxed, once I have qualified for the Candidates."

Alongside the final, Carlsen will be playing a match for third place against GM Vladimir Fedoseev.

Semifinals | Results

Fed Player Rtg Fed Player Rtg G1 G2 TB
GM Carlsen, Magnus 2847 - GM Duda, Jan-Krzysztof 2738 ½-½ ½-½ .
GM Karjakin, Sergey 2757 - GM Fedoseev, Vladimir 2696 ½-½ 1-0 .

2021 FIDE World Cup results

The tiebreak between Muzychuk and Tan also lasted just two rapid games. Just like in 2017, when Tan won the world title in the playoff against the same opponent, the 30-year-old player from Chongqing was too strong.

In the first game, Tan came up with some deep preparation in the Petroff. By move 14 she still had 25 minutes on the clock while Muzychuk had only seven and a half, not enough to defend the pawn-down position on the board.

Muzychuk-Tan FIDE World Cup
Muzychuk-Tan. Photo: Anastasiya Korolkova/FIDE.

In a must-win situation, Muzychuk tried the Albin Countergambit as Black in the next game but that backfired completely. In the end, Tan went for a move repetition in a winning position, securing third place and direct qualification to the 2022 Women's Candidates Tournament.

2021 FIDE Women's World Cup winners
The award ceremony of the women's tournament took place on Tuesday evening. Left-right: winner Alexandra Kosteniuk, runner-up Aleksandra Goryachkina, and in third place Tan Zhongyi. Photo: Eric Rosen/FIDE.
Kosteniuk Tregubov FIDE World Cup 2021
Kosteniuk with her partner GM Pavel Tregubov. Photo: Eric Rosen/FIDE.

Finals | Results

Fed Player Rating Fed Player Rating G1 G2 TB
GM Goryachkina, Aleksandra 2596 - GM Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2472 0-1 ½-½ .
GM Muzychuk, Anna 2527 - GM Tan, Zhongyi 2511 ½-½ ½-½ ½-1½

2021 FIDE Women's World Cup results

The 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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