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World Cup Final Still Even; Ding White In Game 4
Aronian & Ding drew their first three games. | Photo: Anastasiya Karlovich, official website.

World Cup Final Still Even; Ding White In Game 4

Game two and three of the FIDE World Cup final also ended in draws. If Levon Aronian holds the draw as Black vs Ding Liren tomorrow, we'll see a tiebreak on Wednesday.

Ding might have two small advantages in what will be the last classical game of this year's World Cup. Not only does he have the white pieces, but there's also the psychological advantage that he escaped from a losing position in game two. However, Aronian had no problems with Black in that game, which might give confidence for game four. 

Fed Player Fed Player Classical Rapid Blitz Arm. Score
Aronian (2802) Ding Liren (2771) ½-½, ½-½, ½-½ 1½-1½

"A bitter taste for Levon Aronian supporters," said commentator Evgeny Miroshnichenko as the Armenian star player was leaving the playing hall. He had Ding Liren on the ropes, deep, deep in the endgame, but failed to win.

He was well prepared for Ding's Catalan, and reached a slightly better ending after the Chinese GM played some inaccurate moves. Initially Ding defended well, but after a "careless" move (as he called it) Aronian got a distant passed pawn. 


You might recognize Reykjavik Open organizer Gunnar Bjornsson in the audience, second from the left. | Photo: Anastasiya Karlovich, official website.

On move 55 Ding felt he was lost. He took a deep think and played his 56th with just three seconds left on his clock. Also with not much time on his clock, Aronian missed difficult but also less difficult wins. A draw was agreed on move 75.

"Of course we know it must be winning but I didn't find a clear win for him," said Ding.

Annotations by GM Dejan Bojkov.


A narrow escape for Ding Liren. | Photo: Anastasiya Karlovich, official website.

As if inspired by the Catalan independence movement, Aronian chose to play the same opening the next day. In this particular variation White wins the bishop pair, but it's Black's passive queen's bishop that gets traded and he gets strong central influence in return.

Aronian had to give up a bishop soon as well, and very quickly a position with only queens and opposite-colored bishops appeared. The game lasted a bit more than two hours—so quickly that the official broadcast was still playing a commercial and missed the end of the game.

Annotations by GM Dejan Bojkov.


Will we see another quick draw tomorrow and then a tiebreak? | Photo: Anastasiya Karlovich, official website.

Download all games in PGN

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 a first prize of $120,000. The top two finishers will qualify for the 2018 Candidates' Tournament. 

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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