Duda Wins FIDE World Cup, Carlsen Third
Jan-Krzysztof Duda interviewed after his victory. Photo: Eteri Kublashvili/FIDE.

Duda Wins FIDE World Cup, Carlsen Third

| 106 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda won the 2021 FIDE World Cup on Thursday, beating GM Sergey Karjakin convincingly in his white game, thereby avoiding a tiebreak. The 23-year-old Polish grandmaster finished the tournament undefeated and takes home $88,000.

Karjakin won $64,000 for coming second and, like Duda, he qualified for the 2022 FIDE Candidates Tournament.

GM Magnus Carlsen also won his second game against GM Vladimir Fedoseev to score 2-0 and come in third in the tournament, earning $48,000. Fedoseev won $40,000 for fourth place. (Mentioned prizes are after a 20% cut from FIDE.)

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

"I never really experienced anything like this before, at least in classical chess," was the first thing Duda said in his interview with FIDE after winning the World Cup. It seems like his country never experienced it either.

By reaching the final, Duda had already made history for Polish chess two days ago. The last time a Polish player qualified for the Candidates tournament was Miguel Najdorf in 1953.

Actually winning the tournament is a whole different matter, and can be considered the best-ever achievement by a Polish player in the history of the game. His win was widely reported in Polish media and he immediately undertook a number of interviews.

"I’m very happy that chess has become popular in Poland recently," said Duda. "I am just happy to play chess, promote [it] in my country and worldwide. I’m extremely happy."

The opening was another Queen's Gambit with 4...c5 and 5...cxd4, a topical line that we also saw Karjakin playing against Fedoseev in the semifinals.

"He played this against Fedoseev but I expected him to play even more solid, like the Queen's Gambit," said Duda. "I checked this line a little bit but OK, I thought, in general, I would press against this isolani pawn."

Duda had already faced it against GM Alexander Grischuk earlier in the tournament, where he played 9.Bd3. This time, he chose 9.Rd1.

Duda: "The important thing is not to play 9.Bd3, a move I have played a dozen times and which is the most stupid move order!"

Taking on f6 and d5 felt like "very simple play" to Duda, who could play for two results after that. "I was totally in control and a bit more active," he said.

It was also a very welcome type of position for him, in a situation where both players were exhausted after three weeks of top-level chess.

"To be honest, in this game I was missing a lot of stuff so it's pretty lucky I had such a position that I didn't need to calculate that much," said Duda.

Jan-Krzysztof Duda Sergey Karjakin FIDE World Cup 2021
Jan-Krzysztof Duda found himself in a comfortable position out of the opening. Photo: David Llada/FIDE.

His idea to keep the king in the center was nice as well and made a lot of sense when the queens got traded quickly. Visually, it seemed Black was close to equality but in fact, he was in trouble, as Duda showed with energetic play on the kingside combined with the great find 25.Rd7!.

For a brief moment, it looked like he was perhaps letting his opponent slip away when Karjakin's 26...Na5 allowed the simple tactic 27.Rxd8, immediately spotted by our commentator GM Vishy Anand. However, by then virtually everything was winning and just a minute later Karjakin resigned anyway.

Asked if he can see himself fighting in 2022 for the world championship, Duda replied: "Yeah, why not. If I will have such a good form like here, I'm probably unstoppable in such case!"

Duda's win has the whole chess world impressed, including the world champion himself, who, after Karjakin, was the first to congratulate the winner.

Carlsen started his post-game interview by congratulating Duda once again, saying: "First of all, huge congratulations to Duda for winning the World Cup. Considering the line of opponents that he beat in the last four rounds, never losing a game, and obviously never being in a must-win or desperate situation is a massive achievement. So he's a richly deserved winner."

Although he couldn't win the only trophy that is missing on his mantle, Carlsen did leave the World Cup quite satisfied. It always works wonders to your mood if you can finish an event with a win, let alone two.

Carlsen Fedoseev FIDE World Cup 2021
Carlsen-Fedoseev. Photo: David Llada/FIDE.

Apart from the result, the way Carlsen won was quite similar to yesterday's game, with another exchange sacrifice followed by domination on the board.

"It's kind of funny that the exchange sac happened on the same square, so f5, then f4, and sort of the same bishop," said Carlsen. "But the theme here was that once I give up this exchange I just gain control over all the key squares so even though it probably doesn't have to collapse immediately it should be winning."

The intrigue started much earlier, with Carlsen spending five minutes and 31 seconds on his second move (after 1.e4 c6).

As it turned out, that think, and what came out of it, was about fighting spirit.

Carlsen: "What was happening is that he plays everything so it's hard to prepare for. I was just deciding whether I should play a quiet game or where we go for a position where we play for three results and finally I decided that I played enough quiet games in this tournament when I was up 1-0 so I thought let's just play and we'll see."

Magnus Carlsen FIDE World Cup 2021
Magnus Carlsen was in a fighting mood. Photo: David Llada/FIDE.

The opening went well for the world champion, but he felt he played inaccurately and let his opponent back in the game a little bit while keeping the advantage. However, when he got a passed pawn on d6 it already looked bad for Black and the sac on f5 was a nice killer, although Carlsen did miss a quicker win soon after it—but then we wouldn't have seen that second, complete domination on the board.

"At the end, I was just very happy to find this idea with 47.Bg4, caging in the rook, so I didn't even have to calculate any lines," said Carlsen.

Where Candidates winner GM Ian Nepomniachtchi had joked about Fedoseev's lack of space the other day, Carlsen's second GM Peter Heine Nielsen noted it got even worse the next day.

Carlsen noted himself that this was the first tournament since August 2019 that he won rating points—8.4, to be precise. As reported earlier, he is the only 2800+ player right now. The last time that that was the case was in October 2013. 

Live ratings August 5, 2021
The live ratings after the FIDE World Cup. Image: 2700chess.

The Norwegian GM was happy with 11/14 score, his third place, and the over-the-board practice he wanted, in light of the upcoming world championship match.

Carlsen: "I've gotten to a point where I don't think it's like win or bust every time. Especially in such a format, I don't think you have that sort of mentality."

Finals | Results

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

FIDE World Cup 2021 finals result

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.

Previous reports:

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