Ding Liren Leads in World Cup Finals

Ding Liren has the lead in the Finals of the 2019 FIDE World Cup, defeating Teimour Radjabov today on the White side of a Mikenas Attack. Their match stands at 1.5-0.5 after two games.

The 3rd place match between Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Yu Yangyi is tied 1-1, also after two rounds.

In Monday’s first Finals game, Ding and Radjabov went deep into Marshall theory, with 27.a4 being Radjabov’s new idea. Suffice to say that Ding was aware of it, and as it did not fundamentally overturn the equal nature of the position, the game was soon drawn.

Yu decided to test Vachier-Lagrave’s pet line in the Russian System of the Grunfeld, obtaining a position where White has a rook and two pawns for Black’s two active pieces. Yu’s 15.e5 was not unknown to MVL, and while he had to be accurate, the draw was never really in doubt.

Ding took his chances in Tuesday’s second round, getting a sharp position after 1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e6 3.e4 c5!?. He gambited a pawn for development, and while he admitted afterwards that he had forgotten his preparation, he knew the ideas and navigated the complexities better than his opponent. Radjabov’s 23…e5?! gave Ding the d5 square for his pieces, and after he opened the g-file, White’s creeping pressure induced errors and gave him the win.

MVL and Yu postgame (photo Kirill Merkuryev)

Meanwhile Vachier-Lagrave and Yu drew in a fairly quiet Petroff.

While both Ding and Radjabov have already won the big prizes – the two spots in the 2020 Candidates – there is still much to play for. The winner of the World Cup receives $110,000, while the second place finisher takes home $80,000. Third place nets $60,000, while fourth place is worth $50,000.

Two games remain in both matches; if players are tied after four games, there will be a tiebreak day. Play resumes tomorrow (Wednesday) at 6am EDT. Live coverage will be available at the FIDE YouTube Channel.

FIDE World Cup Quick links

2019 World Cup Official Webpage

Pairings and Results

Live YouTube Coverage (daily, 6am EDT)


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