Win With White; Draw With Black; Aronian, So, Ding Advance
Three victories with White secured semi-final slots for Levon Aronian, Wesley So, and Ding Liren in the World Cup. Aronian was the only player to win yesterday; a draw today (though not quickly achieved) was sufficient for him.
Rapport leaves the World Cup after an impressive and exciting run. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova
Both Wesley So and Ding Liren had drawn comfortably with Black yesterday, so today they made the most of their white pieces, convincingly outplaying Vladimir Fedoseev and Richard Rapport to claim their berth in the semifinals.
Only Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Peter Svidler will have to play a tiebreak tomorrow to decide their match. An exciting pawn grab that promised rich play actually lead to early peace as the neither player seemed comfortable staking it all on the resulting sharp complications.
2017 World Cup | Quarterfinals, Day 2
|Vachier-Lagrave (2804)||Svidler (2756)||½-½,½-½|
|Ivanchuk (2727)||Aronian (2802)||0-1,½-½|
|So (2792)||Fedoseev (2731)||½-½,1-0|
|Ding Liren (2771)||Rapport (2675)||½-½,1-0|
The most promising game of the day was Ivanchuk vs Aronian. Having lost quickly yesterday, a win was essential for Ivanchuk. Fortunately for him, he had the White pieces, but unfortunately he was not able to generate much with them.
Out of the opening, Radjabov declared Ivanchuk's chances to fend off elimination to be virtually nil.
With 33.d4! Ivanchuk did open the position for his bishops, securing real prospects to fight for a win, but 36...f4! from Aronian secured the necessary counterplay. Facing a perpetual soon after, Ivanchuk chose to sac a pawn to keep playing. He had enough for it, and the engines even preferred his position at points. However, with 57...Re5! Aronian returned the pawn to reach a thoroughly drawn endgame. Despite his best efforts, Ivanchuk had to concede on move 71, acknowledging his World Cup elimination.
No one evinces the emotions of a chess game more vividly than Ivanchuk; perhaps that is why so many chess fans relate to him. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Chess.com's interview with Aronian.
The next game to finish was Vachier-Lagrave vs Svidler. There was nothing "Piano" about this "Giuoco" as Vachier-Lagrave found an innovative and aggressive approach. However, the analysis showed it to be the wrong one. He missed the very subtle 20.Qd2!! which was nearly winning and instead played 21.b4?!, a dubious pawn sacrifice. After natural defense from Svidler, Vachier-Lagrave seemed to lack a plan, but it was then that the draw was agreed on Svidler's proposal.
Vachier-Lagrave should be a bit relieved to go to tiebreaks as Svidler was better in the final positions of both their drawn games. While wins were by no means assured, he could certainly have pressed each position.
Vachier-Lagrave drew the white pieces to open the tiebreak match against Svidler. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova
Asked who he'd rather play in the semis, Aronian was humorously ambivalent:
@samuelmaxton) September 16, 2017
Ding Liren's opening promised a similar sort of aggression to Vachier-Lagrave's. In both games, White was threatening various N(x)h6+ sacrifices. Rapport (the only sub-2700 player to make the quarter-finals) avoided various beautiful winning variations but reached a lost endgame that Ding converted flawlessly.
Rapport reacts to Ding's opening play. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova
Chess.com's interview with Ding Liren.
Wesley So has been said to have a Karpovian style. Today it was on full display. In a symmetrical Petroff that many would have drawn quickly, he collected small advantages that soon compounded.
The same-colored bishop endgame he then won was masterful; in particular, the Bd6-a3-c1-d2-e1 maneuver was highly instructive, a perfect addition to a Shereshevsky endgame book.
Commentary by GM Bojkov.
So surveys the board like a deity contemplating grand maneuvers. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
Chess.com's interview with So.
(Click for bigger version.)
Games from TWIC.
The World Cup takes place September 3-27 in Tbilisi, Georgia. Each round consists of two classical games (four in the final), and possibly a rapid and blitz tiebreak on the third day. The total prize fund is $1.6 million, including
Chess.com relays the games at Chess.com/Live. You can watch also live commentary on Chess.com/TV provided by the Chessbrahs, which includes some of the best commentators on the planet: GM Eric Hansen, GM Robin van Kampen, GM Yasser Seirawan and IM Aman Hambleton.
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