Magnus Carlsen has by no means received the $1.9m World Cup, and his early exit at his final try in 2017 nonetheless rankles. Regardless of just a few early hiccups, it was quickly clear that the 2021 model of the 206-player knockout was made for the No 1 as he sailed by the vast majority of his matches comfortably whereas most of his seeded rivals fell by the wayside.
In Saturday’s semi-finals Carlsen, who beat Étienne Bacrot (France) 2-0, meets Jan-Krysztof Duda (Poland), who received 1.5-0.5 in opposition to Vidit Gujrathi (India). Vladimir Fedoseev (Russia) defeated Amin Tabatabaei (Iran) 1.5-0.5 and can meet the winner of Sam Shankland (US) v Sergey Karjakin (Russia) who have been tied at 1-1 and can go to Friday tie-breaks beginning 1pm. They are often watched dwell and free on the official website.
Each spherical one semi-final video games within the Girls’s World Cup have been drawn. Anna Muzychuk (Ukraine) v Aleksandra Goryachkina (Russia) and Tan Zhongyi (China) v Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia) will play their second classical video games on Friday afternoon, alongside the Shankland v Karjakin tie-breaks.
Carlsen’s spherical of 16 match in opposition to Andrey Esipenko was an epic. The 19-year-old from Novocherkassk within the Rostov area already made his mark at Wijk aan Zee in January when he took third prize in an elite area, completed forward of the world champion, and defeated him of their particular person sport. At Sochi their assembly turned a extra looking out check as Esipenko drew each classical gradual video games and each rapids, fought again to win on demand in spectacular model within the second blitz game, and was eradicated solely within the second pair of quicker blitz video games.
Afterwards Carlsen tweeted: “World Cup is as unforgiving because it is thrilling! Nice match in opposition to a most worthy opponent.” Esipenko is nonetheless rated solely twenty seventh on the earth, 14 locations beneath France’s Alireza Firouzja, who is a yr youthful but has had extra alternatives at high stage. In model Esipenko is a classical participant whereas Firouzja depends on his tactical abilities, just like the distinction between Boris Spassky and Mikhail Tal half a century in the past or between Vlad Kramnik and Vasyl Ivanchuk within the early 2000s.
Though Esipenko is behind Firouzja within the rankings, he is clearly Russia’s chess future and can certainly be given most alternatives to compete on the highest stage. If he had overwhelmed Carlsen this week, he would have certified for one of many 2022 Candidates or Fide Grand Prix locations obtainable to the Sochi quarter-finalists. Arguably the rule could possibly be interpreted to provide Esipenko a Grand Prix place anyway, since Carlsen is ineligible for that occasion. Because it is, he might have one of many two wildcards.
The opposite standout World Cup performer has been Shankland. The 29-year-old from Berkeley, California, was US champion in 2018 but is ranked solely No 5 nationally. Then Wesley So and Hikaru Nakamura didn’t enter Sochi, the world No 2, Fabiano Caruana, was eradicated in spherical three, whereas Leinier Domínguez and the highest US junior, Jeffrey Xiong, additionally exited, leaving Shankland because the lone American.
The Californian rose to the event in model, knocking out Peter Svidler with the hyper-aggressive 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 h4!? to upset the eight-time Russian champion’s favorite Grünfeld Defence.
Then within the quarter-final Shankland struck once more, outwitting Karjakin, the 2016 world title challenger and No 10 seed, in a strategic battle which went right down to a well-calculated pawn endgame.
Karjakin fought again in Thursday’s return game with a storming assault, chasing the American king throughout the board for checkmate. Shankland was higher out of the opening, but 21…a4-a3! would have been stronger than his 21…Nc6-a5?
The web Meltwater Champions Tour resumes at 4pm on Saturday, with the $100,000 Chessable Masters. So and Nakamura are the favourites, and the occasion additionally contains the world lady champion, Ju Wenjun, and the youngest ever grandmaster, Abhimanyu Mishra, 12.
3774 Sure, but it was his personal resignation that occurred after 1 Bxf6 gxf6. Solely then did White realise that his deliberate 2 Qxf6 would run into 2…Qh2+! when 3 Kxh2 Ng4+ and 4…Nxf6 leaves Black a chunk forward, whereas 3 Kf1 Qh1+ 4 Ke2 Rxa2+ 5 Rxa2 Rxa2+ results in 6 Kd3? Qd1+ and Qxd7 or to six Rd2 Rxd2+ 7 Kxd2 Qd5+ each profitable simply for Black.