24 July 2021

Return games of Round Four Played at the FIDE World Cup

Twelve matches go into tie-breaks.

Photo credit: Eric Rosen / FIDE
Photo credit: Eric Rosen / FIDE


July 23, the FIDE World Open and Women’s Cups in Sochi saw the return games of round four (1/16 and 1/8 finals, respectively) took place. Also, some players may obtain the right to play in the next Grand Prix series, as long as they reach the quarter-finals. With regard to the Women’s Cup an added benefit for reaching semi-finals is the direct qualification to the future Women Grand Prix Series, the final dates of which will be decided very soon.

Playing the Sicilian as White against Radoslaw Wojtaszek of Poland in the open tournament, world champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway) acted extremely aggressively by exposing his king by pushing pawns and mounting a very potent attack. However, the Norwegian GM faltered one move away from getting a decisive advantage by overlooking his opponent’s witty rejoinder. The situation escalated sharply and, pressed for time, the champion made up his mind not to tempt the fate and sealed a draw with a perpetual check. The match score has turned 1:1 to send the battle into a tie-breaker of tomorrow.

Playing black, Russian Vladimir Fedoseev won the second game as well over Vladislav Kovalev (FIDE). In a post-game interview Vladimir thanked his friend, GM Maksim Chigaev, for an interesting opening novelty that allowed Black to quickly achieve comfortable play and substantial time edge over his opponent. The match victory over a 15-year-old Indian prodigy Praggnanandhaa in a double-edged battle went to Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France).

Indian GM Santosh Vidit also defeated Jeffery Xiong (USA) in both encounters. Kacper Piorun (Poland) sealed a match victory by drawing Javokhir Sindarov (Uzbekistan). His compatriot Jan-Krzysztof Duda has defeated the Iranian GM Pouya Idani with the same score (1.5:0.5) goes on competing for the honorary trophy. However, unlike Kacper, Jan-Krzysztof drew his first game and won the second, taking advantage of his opponent's inaccurate play around moves 28-30.  

Haik Martirosyan (Armenia) outplayed Ante Brkic (Croatia) with a score of 1.5: 0.5, and Samuel Shankland (USA) outplayed the last round hero Rinat Jumabayev (Kazakhstan). Let us recall that Rinat knocked out one of the principal Cup favorites Fabiano Caruana. Indian GM Pentala Harikrishna attempted to convert the minimum edge against M. Amin Tabatabaei (Iran) for over 100 moves, but failed to break his opponent’s stubborn resistance. Thanks to his success in game one, the Iranian GM won the match 1.5:0.5 and advanced to the next round.  

Both games ended in a draw between Velimir Ivic (Serbia) – Dmitry Andreikin, Daniil Dubov – Andrey Esipenko, Vladislav Artemiev – Sergey Karjakin, Nikita Vitiugov – Peter Svidler, Alexander Grischuk (all from Russia) – Anton Korobov (Ukraine). 

Russian Pavel Ponkratov outplayed Etienne Bacrot (France) and equalized the match score in what happened to be yet another mind-boggling battle. Also winning on demand as Black over Vasif Durarbayli (Azerbaijan) was a young Uzbek GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov. All these players have shifted their games into tie-breaks

Tie-break pairings:

Wojtaszek – Carlsen 

Abdusattorov – Durarbayli 

Grischuk – Korobov

Bacrot – Ponkratov 

Andreikin – Ivic

Svidler – Vitiugov


Artemiev – Karjakin


Former world champion Tan Zhongyi (China) was White against the Sarasadat Khademalsharieh of Iran. The Chinese achieved an edge via a petite tactical operation, which she managed to convert in the struggle to come and win the match 1.5:0.5. 

The duel of other ex-world champions ended in the same score: Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia) launched a spectacular attack as Black against the Ukrainian Mariya Muzychuk’s king to advance into the next World Cup edition. Anna Muzychuk (Ukraine), Maria's elder sister, won the game and the match against Elisabeth Paehtz of Germany. Valentina Gunina (Russia) also won her second game and the match over Nino Batsiashvili (Georgia). 

The Russian Alexandra Goryachkina defeated ex-world champion Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) as White and equalized the match score. The Georgian GM Nana Dzagnidze also managed to fight back after her young Russian opponent Polina Shuvalova misplayed the opening as Black and fell victim to a devastating attack. 

Bibisara Assaubayeva (Kazakhstan) – Kateryna Lagno (Russia), Alina Kashlinskaya (Russia) – Dinara Saduakassova (Kazakhstan) drew both their games. 

Tie-break pairings:

Goryachkina – Stefanova 

Assaubayeva – Lagno 

Dzagnidze – Shuvalova

Saduakassova – Kashlinskaya 

The tie-break is scheduled on Saturday, July 24. 


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