Four Americans Advance in FIDE World Cup

Four Americans are through to the second round of the 2019 FIDE World Cup, while two have work to do in Thursday’s rapid playoffs.

After their wins Tuesday, Leinier Dominguez, Sam Sevian, Wesley So, and Jeffery Xiong have all advanced in the 128 person knockout event. Jeffery Xiong was first out of the gates, defeating Igor Lysyj in just 17 moves.

Jeffery Xiong (photo Kiriill Merkuryev)

Leonxto Garcia and Leinier Dominguez (photo Kiriill Merkuryev)

Leinier Dominguez and Wesley So also won the second leg of their first round mini-matches, and in a curious coincidence, both had neat tactical shots with Black’s 39th move. Dominguez found the key move in his position, while So went with a different, but still winning, idea.

Sam Sevian followed up yesterday’s win over Aryan Tari with a draw today. Tari tried to mix things up in the opening, but Sevian kept control of the position and the result was never in doubt.

Having drawn both legs of their mini-matches, Hikaru Nakamura and Sam Shankland will play in tomorrow’s tiebreak round. Nakamura preferred to save his energy, drawing in just 16 moves against Bilel Bellahcene.

Eltaj Safarli tried the Exchange Ruy Lopez against Sam Shankland, and the game fizzled out to a draw in 33 moves.

The tiebreak round consists of two G/25+10 games, followed by two G/10+10 games and then two G/5+3 games. If the score remains level after these six games, an Armageddon game is on tap, where White receives 5 minutes to start the game, and Black receives 4. Both sides get an increment of 2 seconds after move 60. White has to win in the Armageddon round to advance, while a draw is sufficient for Black to move on.

Around the Brackets

Ding Liren (photo Kiriill Merkuryev)

Yesterday we wondered whether Ding Liren would coast to the second round with a quick draw against the 1954-rated Shaun Press. Today we have our answer. Ding won out, and with the 1.6 rating points gained in these two games, he moves into the World #2 position on the live rating list.

Press, for his part, was clear eyed about the loss.

Perhaps the biggest upset of the first round was Johan-Sebastian Christiansen’s 2-0 victory over World #22 Radoslaw Wojtaszek. The 21-year-old Norwegian won in the first leg, and today he bravely spurned opportunities for a clinching draw, preferring to try and eventually win with his superior position.

Peter Svidler, who is no stranger to the commentary booth, spelled American GM Alex Yermolinsky for a bit and analyzed (among other games) his quick win over Carlos Albornoz Cabrera with Evegny Miroshnichenko.

Tomorrow’s playoff round starts at 6am EDT. Live commentary is available on the FIDE YouTube channel in English, Russian, and Spanish.


FIDE World Cup Quick links

2019 World Cup Official Webpage

Pairings and Results

Live YouTube Coverage (daily, 6am EDT)

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