Unexpectedly, most of them decided their tie-break in the first two 25/10 games. Vladislav Artemiev, Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Praggnanandhaa R, Pavel Ponkratov were all able to defeat their opponents by a clear 2-0 score, while Etienne Bacrot, Sam Shankland, Peter Svidler and Pouya Idani advanced to the fourth round with a 1.5-0.5 result.
Nonetheless, two of the favourites to win the tournament were eliminated in the tiebreaks this afternoon. World’s number six Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan, 2782) was unable to straighten out the 1-1 tie in the classical games and was eventually knocked-out of the cup by Haik M. Martirosyan, former under-16 world champion, and currently Armenia’s number seven player with 2632.
In the first game, Mamedyarov, playing with White, sacrificed a pawn out of the opening for some compensation but Martirosyan defended well and outplayed his opponent in the endgame. Not wanting to play for a draw in the second game with White, Martirosyan went all-out for a win against Mamedyarov’s very dubious opening set-up.
In a highly complex position, his superb move 35.Kf2! blocking the f-pawn and preparing an assault on Black’s king was enough for Black to realise that he had to exchange pieces and simplify to an easily drawn rook ending. We caught up with Martirosyan for a brief interview in which he went over the match.
The other major upset of the afternoon was the elimination of Anish Giri (2776), playing for the Netherlands. Both of the classical games against his opponent, seventeen-year-old Nodirbek Abdusattorov, ended in a draw and things seemed to be safe for the world’s number eight player.
However, the Uzbekistan 2634 prodigy played really well in the two 25/10 tiebreak games, first defeating Giri in a tricky rook + knight ending and then holding an extremely difficult position in the second game, until Giri over-pressed an equal ending and eventually lost.
Another young player that qualified for the fourth round is 21-years-old USA grand master Jeffrey Xiong (2709), currently number 33 in the world, who took down Sweden’s number one player Nils Grandelius (2661) after a really tough match that went back and forth.
Jeffrey was kind enough to pop-in to the press centre and give us his thoughts on the games.
Two matches went full throttle to the end. Santosh Gujrathi Vidit (2726) defeated his team-mate Baskaran Adhiban in the second blitz game for an overall score of 4.5-3.5, giving you an idea of the resilient nature of “The Beast”. In his post-game interview, Vidit went over the key moments of the match.
The only game that went the full distance to the “Armageddon” was Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2749) against David Paravyan (2625), who gave the Frenchman the match of his life. After many missed opportunities, in addition to an incorrect 3-fold position draw claim in the second blitz game, Maxime played a great attacking “sudden-death” game, winning by a total score of 5-4 and will now face India’s prodigy Praggnanandhaa in the next round.
There were four tie-breaks in the women’s group and the only one that ended in the first two 25/10 games was the match between Nana Dzagnidze (rated 2523) and Carissa Yip (2430) which fell to the side of the experienced Georgian player.
Dzagnidze won her second classical game on-demand and forced the tie-break in which she clearly outplayed her young opponent, winning the two games. Dzagnidze offered her thoughts on the match-up with her young opponent in a brief interview.
The other three qualifiers were twenty-year-old Polina Shuvalova (2489) who defeated her even younger teammate Leya Garifullina (2390) by 3.5-2.5 in a very close match. Polina gave the thoughts on the match in her postgame interview.
Also advancing to the fourth round was 17-years-old Bibisara Assaubayeva (2389) who defeated the very experienced Georgian grand master Bela Khotenashvili (2471) by 4-2.
Finally, Mariya Muzychuk (2550) was able to join her sister in the fourth round after defeating her team-mate from the Ukraine Olympic team Anna Ushenina (2429) by 4.5-3.5 in the by far most exciting women’s tie-break this afternoon.
The players (and the staff!) will all enjoy a well-deserved rest day to replenish their strength, maybe with a cable-car mountain visit or a hike in the nearby woods, or just a short walk around the lovely town.
Round 4 will start on Thursday 22nd at 3 pm sharp, with a field which has been drastically whittled down to 48 players, 32 in the open group and 16 in the women’s cup.
Pairings of the fourth round, live games and PGN files can be found on the World Cup website alongside a great amount of other interesting information such as daily videos, a complete photo collection and other useful data.
About the tournament:
Scheduled to take place from July12th (Round 1) to August 6th (finals), the 2021 FIDE World Cup will gather together in Sochi (Russia) 309 of the world’s best chess players, with 206 of them playing in the Open World Cup (and 103 participants in the first ever Women’s World Cup.
The top two finishers in the tournament, aside from World Champion Magnus Carlsen who is also participating, will qualify for the 2022 Candidates Tournament, in addition to winning the 110.000 USD first prize (80.000 USD for the runner-up).
Organisers: International Chess Federation (FIDE), Chess Federation of Russia, Russian Ministry of Sports, and Government of Krasnodar Krai.
Gazprom– general partner
Nornickel– general partner
PhosAgro– general partner
Chessable– event’s partner
Rosatom– event’s partner
Aeroflot– CFR’s partner
Educational centre “Sirius”