Ding and Radjabov Advance in World Cup; Xiong Eliminated

Jeffery Xiong’s Cinderella run has come to an end in Khanty-Mansiysk. Xiong lost Tuesday to Teimour Radjabov in the second leg of their quarterfinal matchup, eliminating him from the 128 person knockout competition. Alexander Grischuk was also eliminated with his loss to top seed Ding Liren. Radjabov and Ding thus advance to the semi-finals, which begin Thursday. They will be joined by the winners of the Aronian – Vachier-Lagrave and Yu Yangyi – Vitiugov playoffs held Wednesday.

After a somewhat rocky opening, Xiong appeared to have steadied the ship in the early middlegame. I checked the game on my phone before taking my daughter to preschool, and the position looked fairly equal. But Xiong took a few wrong turns, and by the time I had dropped her off, the game was over. In notes written exclusively for CLO, IM John Watson deeply analyzes this critical game.
[pgn]

[Event "FIDE World Cup 2019"]
[Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"]
[Date "2019.09.24"]
[Round "5.2"]
[White "Radjabov, Teimour"]
[Black "Xiong, Jeffery"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D85"]
[WhiteElo "2758"]
[BlackElo "2707"]
[Annotator "John Watson"]
[PlyCount "71"]
[EventDate "2019.09.10"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Bb5+ c6 8.
Ba4 O-O 9. Ne2 e5 {Safe and sound.} (9... b5 {is the main line, and still
seems to be doing well; but it requires a lot of theoretical knowledge and
favors the better-prepared player.}) 10. O-O Nd7 (10... Qe7 {is the most
popular alternative.}) 11. Be3 Qe7 12. Bc2 {Unusual. White wants to play f4,
when the queen may drift to the kingside.} (12. Qc2 {is the most common
alternative.}) 12... Nb6 (12... Rd8 13. Qc1 Nb6 {was Ignatov,B (2364)-Gonzalez,
B (2149) ICCF email 2007}) 13. f4 $1 {Enterprising.} (13. Qc1 Re8 14. Bg5 Qf8
$11 {Sorokin,V (2337)-Jansa,V (2482) Arvier 2006}) 13... exd4 (13... Nc4 $5)
14. Bxd4 (14. cxd4 {has various replies. Perhaps White feared} c5 {, since} (
14... Nd5 $5) (14... Be6) 15. dxc5 (15. e5 $1 Nd5 16. Qd2 $11) (15. d5 $2 Rd8
$1 {threatens ....Nxd5 and ...Bxa1}) 15... Nc4 16. Bd4 Rd8 {is awkward for
White.}) 14... Rd8 $2 {Threatening ...c5, but probably underestimating White's
reply. There are several interesting alternatives, including these:} ({(a)
Radjabov mentioned the line} 14... Bg4 $5 15. Qe1 (15. h3 $5) 15... Bxe2 16.
Qxe2 Bxd4+ 17. cxd4 c5 18. dxc5 Qxc5+ 19. Kh1 $14) ({(b) Apparently best was}
14... Bxd4+ $1 15. cxd4 (15. Qxd4 Rd8) (15. Nxd4 c5 16. Nb3 f6) 15... f5 $1 {
is a useful transformation of pawn structure that should equalize, e.g.,} 16.
Ng3 (16. e5 Be6) 16... fxe4 17. Bxe4 (17. Nxe4 Bf5) 17... Be6 {with the idea}
18. f5 Bc4 19. Re1 Qg7 20. fxg6 hxg6 21. Qg4 Bf7 {with a solid game.}) 15. f5
$1 {Direct attack! Both f6 and Bb3 are now serious threats.} Bxd4+ (15... c5
16. f6 $1 {is the point. There might follow} Qc7 17. fxg7 cxd4 18. Bb3 $1 (18.
cxd4 Bg4 19. Bb3 Nc4) 18... Nc4 19. Qd3 b5 20. cxd4 $16) 16. cxd4 c5 $5 (16...
Nc4 {is more solid, although} 17. Qd3 b5 18. Nf4 $1 {keeps the attack going.})
17. Qd2 $5 {Radjabov was very critical of this but his Qh6 idea was perhaps
better than he realized. Objectively, the alternative} (17. Qd3 $1 {was better.
It prevents ....Nc4, and after} cxd4 (17... Bd7 18. e5 $1) {, White can
increase the pressure on f7 with} 18. Bb3 $1 {, for example,} gxf5 (18... Rf8
19. Nf4 gxf5 20. Rae1) 19. Nf4 $1 fxe4 $2 (19... Kh8 20. Rae1 $1 $16) 20. Qg3+
Kh8 21. Ng6+ $1 fxg6 22. Rf7 {, winning.}) 17... Nc4 $1 {Black seizes his
chance.} 18. Qd3 $5 ({A critical juncture.} 18. Qh6 {is the obvious move, and
might well have worked. It allows} Bxf5 $1 {(Radjabov presumably undestimated
this in his calculations)} (18... Qf8 19. Qg5 $16) {. Then} 19. Rf4 $1 {
is a complete mess but still very dangerous} (19. exf5 $6 Qxe2 20. fxg6 Qe3+ $1
21. Qxe3 Nxe3 22. gxf7+ Kf8) {, for example, Black should probably resist the
tempting} 19... Rd6 $6 (19... Be6 20. Rh4 f6 21. Nf4 $1 Ne3 $5 22. e5 $1 (22.
Nxg6 $5 Qg7 $1) 22... Bf5 23. Nxg6 $1 Qf7 24. Qxe3 Bxc2 25. Nf4 cxd4 26. Qg3+
Kh8 27. e6 $14) (19... Bd7 $1 {is counterintuitive (would Xiong have found it?)
. There might follow} 20. Raf1 (20. Rh4 f5 $1 21. Rc1 b5 $13) 20... f5 $1 21.
Bb3 b5 22. exf5 Bxf5 23. Ng3 cxd4 24. Nxf5 gxf5 25. Rxf5 a6 $13) 20. Ng3 $1 (
20. Rh4 $4 g5 $1) 20... Bd7 (20... Be6 21. Rh4 f6 22. e5 $1) 21. e5 Rxd4 22.
Nh5 $1 f5 23. exf6 Qf7 24. Rxd4 cxd4 25. Bb3 b5 26. a4 $1 {and Black is in
trouble, especially in view of} gxh5 $2 27. axb5 Bxb5 28. Qg5+) 18... Ne5 $6 (
18... b5 $1 {is sound and equal.}) 19. Qa3 $6 (19. Qg3 $1 cxd4 20. Bb3 $1 {
piles up on f7 and g6:} Kh8 (20... d3 21. Nf4 $16) 21. fxg6 {with a clear
advantage, e.g.,} fxg6 (21... Nxg6 22. Rxf7 Qxe4 23. Rc1 $3) 22. Nf4 Re8 23.
Nd5 $16) 19... Nc4 20. Qc3 $6 {Decisions like these are almost impossible to
make under such pressure situations, but the pawn sacrifice} (20. Qg3 $1 {
was better, with the idea} cxd4 21. Nf4 $1 $14) 20... b5 {Now Black is fine.}
21. f6 $5 {A fair practical move, although objectively it's probably inferior
to} (21. fxg6 hxg6 22. d5 $11) 21... Qd6 22. d5 Re8 $2 {Black has a nice
positional advantage after} (22... Bd7 $1) ({or} 22... Ne5) 23. Bd3 {Now the
ideal move ...Ne5 drops the b-pawn.} Ne3 $5 {Dynamic moves tend to work best
with time pressure approaching, but in this case the concrete variations favor
White.} (23... Nb6 24. Bxb5 Rxe4 $5 (24... Bd7 $1 25. Bxd7 Nxd7 {with good
positional compensation might be best}) 25. Qg3 $1 Qxg3 26. Nxg3 Rd4 27. Bc6
Rb8 $14 {was playable.}) 24. Bxb5 Rxe4 25. Ng3 Ng4 $1 {Black's clever idea.
Objectively, however, White is still better.} 26. Rac1 $1 c4 $5 {Brave, but
Black should probably bail out into the worse ending after} (26... Bb7 27. Qxc5
Qxc5+ 28. Rxc5 Re5) 27. h3 $1 Bb7 ({Maybe it was time to try} 27... Re3 28.
Qxc4 Nxf6 (28... Qxg3 $4 29. Qxc8+) 29. Qc6 (29. Qd4 $5) 29... Qxc6 30. Bxc6
Rb8 31. Rxf6 Rxg3 32. Re1 {, but White is much better in this ending with
ideas of Re7 and Re8.} Kg7 33. Rf2 h5 34. Kh2 Rc3 35. Re8) 28. hxg4 Rxg4 29.
Bc6 $1 Rxg3 $6 ({But} 29... Bxc6 30. dxc6 Rxg3 31. Qxc4 {is depressing.}) 30.
Qxc4 Ba6 $5 {An ingenious last stab. Xiong's fighting spirit is impressive.}
31. Qf4 $1 (31. Qxa6 Rh3 $3 {is the point, although the computer finds} 32. Qc4
(32. gxh3 Qg3+ $11) 32... Qh2+ 33. Kf2 Rb8 34. Bb5 $1 {and eventually White
unwinds.}) 31... Rd8 32. Rce1 Qc5+ (32... Bxf1 $2 33. Qxd6 Rxd6 34. Re8#) 33.
Rf2 Rc3 34. Re7 $5 (34. Be8 $1 $18 {with the idea Bxf7+ is both better and
prettier.}) 34... Rc1+ $4 {Time pressure, or at least he would have tried} (
34... Rc2 35. Qe3 $1 (35. Re3 Rc1+) 35... Qxe3 36. Rxe3 Rc5 {, when White
still has to convert, and the obvious} 37. Re7 (37. a4 $1) 37... Bb5 $1 {
hangs on.}) 35. Kh2 {Now there's no stopping Qh6.} Rc3 36. Qh6 1-0

[/pgn]
After the game Radjabov explained some of the nuances of his victory, despite his fears of being proven wrong by the computer! Ding Liren was the second winner of the day, defeating Alexander Grischuk after the Russian erred in his customary time pressure.

[pgn]

[Event "FIDE World Cup 2019"]
[Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"]
[Date "2019.09.24"]
[Round "5.2"]
[White "Ding, Liren"]
[Black "Grischuk, Alexander"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A20"]
[WhiteElo "2811"]
[BlackElo "2759"]
[Annotator "Hartmann,John"]
[PlyCount "83"]
[EventDate "2019.09.10"]
[EventType "k.o."]

1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 Bc5 4. d3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Nc3 Nb6 7. Nf3 Nc6 8.
O-O O-O 9. a3 a5 10. Na4 Nxa4 11. Qxa4 Nd4 12. Nxd4 Bxd4 13. Bd2 c6 14. e3 Bb6
15. Bc3 Re8 16. Rfd1 Bd7 17. Rac1 h6 18. h3 Rb8 19. Rd2 Bc7 20. d4 c5 21. Qc2
exd4 22. exd4 c4 23. a4 Bd6 24. Rdd1 b6 25. Re1 Rxe1+ 26. Rxe1 Qc7 27. h4 Re8
28. Bd5 Rxe1+ 29. Bxe1 Be6 $2 (29... Qc8 30. Bxc4 (30. Qxc4 $2 Qxc4 31. Bxc4
Bxa4) 30... Qe8 31. Bd2 Bxa4 $14 {but probably holdable}) 30. Bxe6 fxe6 31. Qe4
Kf7 32. Bc3 Bf8 33. d5 Qd6 34. dxe6+ Qxe6 35. Qb7+ Kg8 36. Bd4 Qf5 37. Kh2 Qc2
38. Qd5+ Kh7 39. Qf7 Qd3 40. Bc3 Qd6 41. Qxc4 Qg6 42. Bd4 1-0

[/pgn]
The remaining two games were drawn. Aronian and Vachier-Lagrave drew a completely symmetrical position in 31 moves, while Yu Yangyi and Nikita Vitiugov may both have missed chances for decent advantages.

[pgn]

[Event "FIDE World Cup 2019"]
[Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"]
[Date "2019.09.24"]
[Round "5.2"]
[White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"]
[Black "Aronian, Levon"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C50"]
[WhiteElo "2774"]
[BlackElo "2758"]
[PlyCount "61"]
[EventDate "2019.09.10"]
[EventType "k.o."]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. O-O d5 7. exd5 Nxd5 8.
Re1 Bg4 9. Nbd2 Nb6 10. h3 Bh5 11. Bb3 Qxd3 12. Nxe5 Qf5 13. Nef3 Rad8 14. Qe2
Nd5 15. Ne4 Bxf3 16. Qxf3 Qxf3 17. gxf3 Bb6 18. Kf1 Nde7 19. Bg5 h6 20. Bxe7
Nxe7 21. Nf6+ gxf6 22. Rxe7 Rd2 23. Re2 Rfd8 24. Rae1 Kf8 25. Rxd2 Rxd2 26. Re2
Rxe2 27. Kxe2 Ke7 28. f4 f5 29. Kf3 Kf6 30. Bd5 c6 31. Bb3 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]

[pgn]

[Event "FIDE World Cup 2019"]
[Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"]
[Date "2019.09.24"]
[Round "5.2"]
[White "Yu, Yangyi"]
[Black "Vitiugov, Nikita"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "E32"]
[WhiteElo "2763"]
[BlackElo "2732"]
[PlyCount "79"]
[EventDate "2019.09.10"]
[EventType "k.o."]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. Nf3 d5 6. a3 Bxc3+ 7. Qxc3 dxc4 8.
Qxc4 b6 9. Bg5 Bb7 10. Rd1 Nbd7 11. Ne5 h6 12. Bh4 c5 13. Nxd7 Qxd7 14. Bxf6
gxf6 15. dxc5 Qc7 16. h4 Rfd8 17. Rxd8+ Rxd8 18. Rh3 Bd5 19. Qc1 Kh7 20. Rc3
bxc5 21. Rxc5 Qh2 22. Qe3 Qxh4 23. Rc7 Kg6 24. Rxa7 Rc8 25. g3 Qc4 26. f3 Qc2
27. Qd3+ Qxd3 28. exd3 Rc1+ 29. Kf2 Rc2+ 30. Be2 Rxb2 31. a4 f5 32. f4 Ra2 33.
a5 Ra1 34. a6 Ra2 35. Ke3 Bc6 36. d4 Ra3+ 37. Kf2 Ra2 38. Ke3 Ra3+ 39. Kf2 Ra2
40. Ke3 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]
Ding will face the winner of the Yu – Vitiugov tiebreak in the semifinals, while Radjabov will be paired with the Aronian – MVL winner. Wednesday’s playoffs start at 6am EDT, and live coverage is 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)

Comments

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I believe Ding Liren's win was the first of the day. Not the second, as stated in the article.

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