Shankland, Xiong Win in Tiebreaks to Reach FIDE World Cup Halfway Point

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GM Sam Shankland at the 2021 FIDE World Cup
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GM Sam Shankland at the 2021 FIDE World Cup. // photo Anastasiia Korolkova, FIDE

 

Two American Grandmasters remain in the 2021 FIDE World Cup, the International Chess Federation’s global knockout bracket that enters its halfway Fourth Round in Sochi, Russia. 

GMs Sam Shankland and Jeffery Xiong, the World’s Nos. 31 and 33 ranked Grandmasters according to FIDE, advanced as part of the bracket’s remaining 32 players after both Americans were forced to perform in rapid tiebreakers at the end of the third round on Tuesday. 

Xiong had been tasked to win-on-demand even earlier than that, since losing the first of his two-game classical match against Swedish World No. 78 GM Nils Grandelius last Sunday. But the Dallas GM leveled the match in the second game, scoring as White against a Grunfeld after catching Grandelius in a greedy pawn grab. 

Black had found equality even with Xiong’s c-passer left on the board, but it was the physical act of capture with 28. … Bxc3? that proved to be the predatory mistake. Here in the second classical game, Xiong forced both a mating attack, and a pair of rapid tiebreakers on Tuesday. 

 

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Xiong, Jeffery - Grandelius, Nils (28...Bxc3 )
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Xiong, Jeffery - Grandelius, Nils after 28...Bxc3.

 

[pgn][Event "FIDE World Cup 2021"] [Site "Krasnaya Polyana RUS"] [Date "2021.07.19"] [Round "3.2"] [White "Xiong, Jeffery"] [Black "Grandelius, Nils"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D85"] [WhiteElo "2709"] [BlackElo "2661"] [Annotator "Tactical Analysis 4.1 (5s)"] [PlyCount "63"] [EventDate "2021.07.12"] {[%evp 16,63,46,4,71,42,41,5,5,-1,3,5,26,25,29,29,37,37,36,37,37,8,41,43,43,4, 48,40,44,48,48,25,23,23,25,22,24,24,22,0,6,-25,180,192,1529,1637,1571,1593, 29987,29985]} 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. c4 Bg7 4. Nc3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. e4 Nxc3 7. bxc3 c5 8. Rb1 O-O 9. Be2 (9. Be3 $14) 9... Bg4 {D85: Exchange Grünfeld: Unusual White 7th moves and lines with 7 Nf3.} (9... Nc6 $11) 10. Rxb7 cxd4 11. Nxd4 $146 ({Predecessor:} 11. cxd4 Bxf3 12. Bxf3 Bxd4 13. O-O Nc6 14. Qa4 Qc8 15. Rb3 Qe6 16. e5 Rac8 17. Bxc6 Qxc6 18. Qxd4 Qxc1 19. Qxa7 Rfd8 20. Qb7 Rc2 21. Rb1 Qa3 22. e6 Rxa2 23. exf7+ Kxf7 {1/2-1/2 (78) Foord,D (2045)-Humphreys, J (2066) England 2011}) 11... Qc8 {And now ...Bxe2 would win.The position is equal.} 12. Rb3 ({Much worse is} 12. Rxe7 Qxc3+ 13. Kf1 Qb4 $17) 12... Bxe2 13. Nxe2 ({But not} 13. Kxe2 Rd8 $17) 13... Nc6 14. O-O Rd8 15. Qc2 Ne5 16. h3 Qc6 17. Bg5 Rd7 18. Rd1 h6 19. Rxd7 Qxd7 20. Bh4 Rd8 (20... Nc4 $11) 21. Nd4 $14 Nc6 22. Nxc6 Qxc6 23. Bxe7 Re8 24. Bh4 Rxe4 25. Bg3 Re1+ 26. Kh2 Qc4 $1 { [%cal Rc4f1] Threatens to win with ...Qf1.} 27. f3 Ra1 {...Qf1 is the strong threat.} 28. Qf2 Bxc3 $2 {This costs Black the game.} (28... h5 $11 {and Black has nothing to worry.}) 29. Qe3 $18 Bd4 (29... Qf1 30. Bf2 Bg7) 30. Rb8+ Kh7 { [#]} 31. Be5 $1 {[%mdl 512]} Bxe5+ (31... Rh1+ 32. Kxh1) 32. Qxe5 {[%csl Gb8] [%cal Re5h8] Weighted Error Value: White=0.13/Black=0.57} 1-0 [/pgn]

"I got absolutely nothing out of the opening, it was equal for about 30 moves or so, just at the last second I think [Grandelius] kind of relaxed," Xiong said about the second classical game in a FIDE interview. "Because basically just one more precise move and we probably make a draw, so I felt very, very lucky to still be in the match."

Xiong scored again in the clutch in the first of two rapid 25+10 tiebreakers, winning as Black in a Caro-Kann. The early middlegame nearly saw threefold repetition, before Xiong refreshened the game with 24. … Na5. In a Queen-and-minor piece endgame, Xiong trapped Grandelius’ bishop for two pawns with 47. … g5, and later found the timely 54. … a4! to slip by White’s structure. Grandelius’ decision to trade queens was a mistake in time pressure, allowing Xiong’s multi-functional bishop to flex the final position. In the second rapid tiebreaker, the Dallas GM offered a draw from a winning position to ice the match. 

 

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GM Jeffery Xiong
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GM Jeffery Xiong in the third round of the 2021 FIDE World Cup in Sochi, Russia. // photo Eric Rosen, FIDE

 

[pgn][Event "FIDE World Cup 2021"] [Site "Krasnaya Polyana RUS"] [Date "2021.07.20"] [Round "3.3"] [White "Grandelius, Nils"] [Black "Xiong, Jeffery"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B10"] [WhiteElo "2661"] [BlackElo "2709"] [Annotator "Tactical Analysis 4.1 (5s)"] [PlyCount "122"] [EventDate "2021.07.12"] {[%evp 9,122,17,31,21,30,38,24,20,36,0,0,-14,-17,-17,-17,-31,-17,-18,-16,-24, -11,-51,-8,-8,-16,-32,-22,-41,-23,-26,3,3,3,-14,-20,-22,12,-1,-8,-25,-22,-26, 12,-21,-31,-20,-13,-34,-7,-58,-60,-60,28,26,38,21,33,33,33,7,18,7,39,39,34,16, 37,0,0,0,0,-12,-8,-19,-18,-29,-21,-49,-46,-46,-49,-49,-49,-49,-40,-81,-81,-80, -81,-81,-81,-80,-80,-80,-82,-101,-99,-101,-99,-104,-96,-168,-168,-632,-618, -635,-597,-1325,-1316,-1788,-29940,-1317,-29966,-1809,-29970]} 1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. d4 Nf6 5. Ne5 g6 6. Bb5+ {B13: Caro-Kann: Exchange Variation and Panov-Botvinnik Attack.} Nbd7 {[%cal Bb8d7,Bd7f6,Bf6e4][%mdl 32]} 7. O-O Bg7 8. Re1 {White has an edge.} O-O 9. Nf3 Ne4 10. c3 Ndf6 11. Nbd2 $146 ({Predecessor:} 11. Bf4 Qb6 12. Qb3 Ng4 13. Re2 e5 14. Nxe5 Nxe5 15. dxe5 Bg4 16. Be3 Nc5 17. Bxc5 Qxc5 {0-1 (50) Lorparizangeneh,S (2747)-Barp,A (2586) Chess.com INT 2020}) 11... Nd6 12. Bf1 b6 13. Ne5 Bb7 14. Ndf3 Nfe4 15. Nd3 Rc8 (15... a5 $15) 16. Nfe5 $11 Nf5 17. g3 e6 18. Bg2 Re8 19. Ng4 f6 20. Ne3 Nfd6 21. Nf1 Nc4 22. Ne3 Ncd6 23. Nf1 Nc4 24. Ne3 Na5 25. Ng4 Qd7 26. f3 Nd6 27. Bh6 Bh8 28. Bf4 (28. Rc1 {is interesting.} Nf7 29. b3 Nc6 30. Bf4 h5 31. Nh6+) 28... Nf7 29. Nh6+ ({White should try} 29. Qe2 $11) 29... Nxh6 $15 30. Bxh6 Nc4 (30... e5 $1 $15) 31. Bh3 $1 $11 Nd6 32. Qd2 Qf7 33. Bf4 Nf5 34. Bxf5 exf5 35. h4 a5 36. Rxe8+ Rxe8 37. Re1 Ba6 38. Kf2 Bg7 39. Rxe8+ Qxe8 40. Qe3 (40. Bd6 { keeps more tension.} Qd7 41. Ba3 h6 42. Nf4 g5 43. Ng6) 40... Qd7 41. b3 Bf8 42. a4 Kf7 43. Ke1 h6 {...g5 is the strong threat.} 44. Qe2 Qc6 45. Kd2 b5 46. axb5 Bxb5 47. Qe3 (47. Qd1 $15) 47... g5 $1 $17 48. hxg5 hxg5 49. Bxg5 Bxd3 50. Qxd3 fxg5 51. Qxf5+ {[%mdl 64] [#] Double Attack} Ke8 52. Kc2 Be7 53. f4 gxf4 54. gxf4 Kd8 55. c4 {[#]} (55. Kb2 $17) 55... a4 $1 $19 {[%cal Ra4b3,Ba5a4, Ba4a3][%mdl 32] Hoping for ...axb3+.} ({Resist} 55... dxc4 56. Qxa5+ Kd7 57. Qf5+ Kd8 58. Qa5+ Kc8 59. bxc4 $15) 56. Qxd5+ $2 (56. c5) 56... Qxd5 57. cxd5 { KB-KP} a3 58. Kb1 Bd6 59. Ka2 Ke7 60. f5 Kf6 61. b4 Bxb4 {Weighted Error Value: White=0.34/Black=0.09} 0-1 [/pgn]

After a built-in tournament rest day on Wednesday, Xiong moves on for a match with Indian World No. 22 GM Santosh Gujrathi Vidit, who squeaked in to the fourth round after a marathon tiebreaker session with compatriot GM Baskaran Adhiban that went deep through two 5+3 blitz tiebreakers on Tuesday. 

Shankland nearly had one foot out the door on Tuesday, after drawing both classical games with third-round opponent Ukraine GM Alexander Areshchenko. As Black in the first rapid tiebreaker, a time control that the California GM is the first to admit plays to his disadvantage, Shankland had lost control of a Najdorf Sicilian and was running out of space and time when his Russian opponent left open a tactical shot that brought two of Shankland’s passers home. 

The White queen’s capture at 54. Qxf8 pulls her out of bounds, allowing 54. … Qd5+ and the d-pawn queens. The nice intermezzo 56. … Qd2+ allowed Black continued protection of the passed f-pawn, and Shankland’s monarch team works in perfect tandem to see the new queen to the board. 

[pgn][Event "FIDE World Cup 2021"] [Site "Krasnaya Polyana RUS"] [Date "2021.07.20"] [Round "3.4"] [White "Areshchenko, Alexander"] [Black "Shankland, Sam"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B90"] [WhiteElo "2687"] [BlackElo "2709"] [Annotator "Tactical Analysis 4.1 (5s)"] [PlyCount "144"] [EventDate "2021.07.12"] {[%evp 23,144,10,31,12,12,12,12,7,10,7,13,15,6,0,1,1,0,-14,-12,-47,-23,-23,-18, -18,-21,-25,-8,-19,-19,-21,-1,-9,0,0,0,0,0,-4,-1,-24,-21,-23,-20,-29,-17,-17, -22,-31,0,0,42,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,15,13,30,23,29,29,22,29,34,25,40,30,30,43,42,9,21, 21,21,21,71,0,160,17,17,-12,-12,-90,-61,-88,-104,-197,-201,-203,-204,-196,-195, -192,-199,-194,-194,-295,-292,-292,-247,-266,-274,-243,-242,-268,-86,-383,-314, -1010,-1082,-1003,-1024,-989,-782,-1304,-1305,-1282,-1319,-1319,-1320]} 1. e4 { Ftacnik,L} c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. f3 Be7 9. Qd2 O-O 10. O-O-O Nbd7 11. g4 b5 12. g5 Nh5 {outshines the older 12...b4.} 13. Kb1 {B90: Sicilian Najdorf: Unusual White 6th moves, 6 Be3 Ng4 and 6 Be3 e5.} Nb6 14. Na5 {Hoping for Nc6.} Rc8 15. Nd5 {The position is equal.} Nxd5 16. exd5 Bxd5 17. Qxd5 Qxa5 18. c4 Nf4 19. Bxf4 exf4 20. cxb5 axb5 21. Qxb5 $146 ({Predecessor:} 21. h4 Rc5 22. Qb3 d5 23. Be2 Rd8 24. Rd4 Qb6 25. Rhd1 h6 26. Rxf4 hxg5 27. hxg5 Bxg5 28. Rb4 Rdc8 29. a3 Rc1+ 30. Ka2 Qf2 31. Bxb5 Rxd1 {1/2-1/2 (31) Leko,P (2679)-Giri,A (2762) Heraklion 2017 CBM 182 [Ftacnik,L]}) 21... Qa7 22. h4 Rc5 23. Qa6 Qc7 24. Bd3 Rb8 25. Rc1 d5 26. Rxc5 Bxc5 27. Rc1 {[#]} Qe5 $1 {[%csl Gb8][%cal Re5b2]} 28. Bb5 d4 29. Bd3 g6 30. Ka1 Bf8 31. Qc4 Qe3 32. h5 {White wants to play hxg6.} Rb4 33. Qc2 {[%cal Rh5g6]} gxh5 34. Bxh7+ Kg7 $1 {Threatens to win with ...Rb5.} 35. Bd3 h4 36. g6 h3 (36... fxg6 $11 37. Qc7+ Be7) 37. gxf7 (37. Rh1 $1 $14 Rb6 38. gxf7 (38. Rxh3 Qg1+ 39. Qb1 Qxb1+ 40. Kxb1 fxg6 $16)) 37... Rb6 $1 $11 38. Rh1 Rh6 39. a3 {Black must now prevent Ka2.} h2 40. Qg2+ ({Not} 40. Rxh2 $2 Qg1+ 41. Ka2 Rxh2 $19) 40... Kf6 41. Be4 Kxf7 42. Ka2 d3 $1 43. Rxh2 Rxh2 44. Qxh2 {Qh5+ is the strong threat.} d2 45. Qh5+ Ke7 46. Qe5+ Kd8 47. Qd5+ Ke7 $1 48. Qe5+ Kd8 49. Qb8+ ({Much less strong is} 49. Qd5+ $6 Ke7 $16) 49... Ke7 50. Qc7+ Kf6 (50... Ke6 $11 51. Qc8+ Ke7 52. Qc7+ Ke6 53. Qc8+ Ke7 54. Qc7+) 51. Bc2 (51. Qd8+ $1 $16 Ke6 52. Qe8+ Be7 53. Qg8+ Kd7 54. Qd5+ Bd6 55. Qf7+ Kd8 56. Bc6) 51... Kg5 $2 (51... Qe6+ $11 52. b3 Qd6 53. Qxd6+ Bxd6) 52. Qf7 (52. Qc6 $1 $16 {[%cal Rc6g6] Qg6+ would kill now.} Kh4 53. Qf6+ {[%mdl 64] Double Attack} Kg3 54. Qxf8) 52... Qxf3 53. Qf5+ Kh4 54. Qxf8 (54. Bd1 $11 Qxd1 55. Qxf4+ Qg4 56. Qxd2 ) 54... Qd5+ $17 55. b3 $1 d1=Q 56. Bxd1 (56. Qf6+ $17 Kh3 57. Bxd1 Qd2+ 58. Qb2 Qxd1 59. Qc3+ f3 60. a4) 56... Qd2+ $19 57. Kb1 Qxd1+ {[%mdl 4160] Endgame Double Attack. KQ-KQ} 58. Kb2 Qd2+ {[%mdl 1024] Black has strong compensation.} 59. Kb1 Qd3+ 60. Kb2 f3 61. Qh6+ (61. Qf4+ $142 Kh3 62. a4) 61... Kg3 62. Qg5+ Kf2 63. a4 Ke1 64. Qg3+ Ke2 65. Qg4 {[#]} Kd2 $2 (65... Qe3 $1 $19 {is more deadly. Strongly threatening ...Ke1.} 66. a5 Qd2+ 67. Kb1 Qd5) 66. Qf4+ $2 { [%mdl 8192] This costs White the game.} (66. Qg5+ $17 {was the only defense.} Ke2 67. Qg4) 66... Kd1 67. a5 $2 {[#]} (67. Ka3 Qc3 68. Qg4) 67... Qe2+ $1 { Black is clearly winning.} 68. Ka3 f2 69. Qd4+ Kc2 {( -> ...Qe7+)} 70. Qc5+ Kb1 71. Qf5+ Qc2 72. Qf6 Qc1+ {[%mdl 32768] Weighted Error Value: White=0.15/ Black=0.13. Loss on time!?} 1-0 [/pgn]

On paper, Shankland was set for an all-US Chess meeting with compatriot GM Fabiano Caruana in the fourth round, though the World No. 2 fell as the biggest name among several top-seed upsets in the third round. Caruana lost his match by dropping the second classical game with the White pieces against World No. 124 and Uzbekhistan No. 1 GM Rinat Jumabayev

 

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GM Fabiano Caruana at the 2021 FIDE World Cup
Image Caption
GM Fabiano Caruana was eliminated in the third round of the 2021 FIDE World Cup in Sochi, Russia. // photo Eric Rosen, FIDE

 

Caruana lost more than control of a Queens Gambit Declined with the World Cup exit; when FIDE updates its rankings in August, Caruana will be under a 2800 rating he had maintained since March 2018, and out of the World No. 2 spot held since that June.  

[pgn][Event "FIDE World Cup 2021"] [Site "Krasnaya Polyana RUS"] [Date "2021.07.19"] [Round "3.2"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Jumabayev, Rinat"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D36"] [WhiteElo "2806"] [BlackElo "2637"] [Annotator "Tactical Analysis 4.1 (5s)"] [PlyCount "116"] [EventDate "2021.07.12"] {[%evp 23,116,33,33,33,44,44,49,21,42,14,55,55,49,47,62,45,57,35,56,49,66,56, 66,55,60,55,69,27,70,-20,-3,-37,-58,-58,-54,-50,-58,-66,-63,-67,-51,-54,138, 122,138,122,135,132,128,128,138,86,86,64,64,0,0,0,0,-199,-197,-181,-162,-241, -243,-163,-213,-258,-266,-254,-254,-239,-246,-282,-286,-283,-281,-293,-300, -300,-287,-279,-279,-283,-282,-317,-290,-372,-375,-1238,-29907,-1240,-1240, -29971,-29974]} 1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. d4 Nf6 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 c6 6. Qc2 Be7 7. e3 Nbd7 8. Bd3 Nh5 9. Bxe7 Qxe7 10. Nge2 g6 11. O-O O-O 12. Rae1 Ndf6 13. Nc1 {D36: Queen's Gambit Declined: Exchange Variation: Main line (5 Bg5 c6 6 Qc2).} Be6 $5 {[%mdl 4] A promising side line.} 14. f3 b6 15. Qf2 {White is slightly better.} c5 16. Qh4 $146 ({Predecessor:} 16. g4 Ng7 17. N1e2 Rad8 18. Nf4 cxd4 19. exd4 Qd6 20. Qd2 Qb4 21. Nfe2 h5 22. h3 {1-0 (44) Real de Azua,E (2441)-Valerga,D (2482) Buenos Aires 2015}) 16... Qd8 (16... c4 $11) 17. g4 Ng7 18. N1e2 Rb8 19. a4 c4 20. Bc2 a6 21. Nf4 b5 22. axb5 axb5 23. b4 cxb3 24. Bxb3 b4 25. Nce2 (25. Na4 $14) 25... Bc8 (25... Bd7 $11 {should be considered.}) 26. Ng3 (26. Ra1 $14) 26... Ba6 $11 27. g5 Bxf1 28. Rxf1 Nfe8 29. Nxd5 Rb5 $1 { [%cal Rb5d5]} 30. Qe4 Qxg5 31. f4 Qd8 32. f5 Nf6 $2 (32... Nd6 $15 {stays ahead.} 33. Qg2 Ndxf5 34. Rxf5 (34. Nxf5 $2 gxf5 35. Rxf5 Kh8 $17) 34... Nxf5 35. Nxf5 Kh8) 33. Nxf6+ $16 Qxf6 34. fxg6 Qxg6 {[#]} 35. Bxf7+ $1 {[%mdl 512]} Qxf7 36. Rxf7 Rxf7 {[#]} 37. Qd3 (37. Qc2 $142 $1 {[%cal Rc2c8]} Rb6 38. Qb3) 37... Rg5 38. Kg2 Nf5 $1 39. e4 (39. d5 $14 h6 40. d6) 39... Nh4+ $11 40. Kh3 Ng6 {[%cal Rg6f4] aiming for ...Nf4+.} 41. Qc4 $2 {[#] White is now going downhill.} (41. Qd2 $1 $11 h6 42. Nf5 (42. Qxb4 h5 $17)) 41... h5 $1 $19 { ( -> ...Nf4+)} 42. Kg2 (42. Qxb4 $2 {gets mated.} Nf4+ 43. Kh4 Rg4#) 42... h4 { [%mdl 64] Strongly threatening ...Kg7. Pin} 43. Kh3 (43. Qc8+ {keeps fighting.} Kh7 44. Qe8) 43... hxg3 44. hxg3 Kg7 {Threatens to win with ...Rf3.} 45. Qxb4 Rf3 46. Qb7+ Kh6 47. Qb8 Re3 48. d5 Rxe4 49. d6 {Black must now prevent d7.} Rd4 50. Qb2 Rxd6 51. Qc3 Rdd5 52. Qe3 Ra5 53. Kg2 Rae5 54. Qd4 Rd5 55. Qe3 {[#] } Rd3 $3 {[%mdl 512]} 56. Qe1 (56. Qc1) 56... Nf4+ 57. Kf2 Rgxg3 {[%csl Gg3] [%cal Rd3f3]} 58. Qe4 Rg2+ {Weighted Error Value: White=0.30/Black=0.12} 0-1 [/pgn]

 
Round 3 Results

GM Sam Shankland, 2709 vs. Ukraine GM Alexander Areshchenko, 2.5-1.5
GM Jeffery Xiong, 2709 vs. Sweden GM Nils Grandelius, 2.5-1.5
Kazakhstan GM Rinat Jumabayev def. GM Fabiano Caruana, 1.5-0.5
Poland GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda def. GM Sam Sevian, 1.5-0.5
Russia GM Vladimir Fedoseev def. GM Timur Gareyev, 1.5-0.5

Women's World Cup

Georgia GM Nana Dzagnidze def. IM Carissa Yip, 3-1

 

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IM Carissa Yip
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IM Carissa Yip won a classical game against Georgia GM Nana Dzagnidze, but eventually lost both rapid tiebreakers in round 3 of the 2021 FIDE Women's World Cup. // photo Eric Rosen, FIDE
 
American Round 4 Matches in the 2021 FIDE World Cup

GM Sam Shankland, 2709 vs. Kazakhstan GM Rinat Jumabayev, 2637
GM Jeffery Xiong, 2709 vs. Indian GM Santosh Gujrathi Vidit, 2726

 

Each round in the FIDE World Cup is scheduled across three days, played as a two-game match that alternates white and black pieces over the first two days. Each match game is played with a classical time control, using 90 minutes on the clock plus an additional 30 minutes after 40 moves, with a 30-second per-move increment. If needed, the third day is used for tiebreaker games that decrease in time control until one player breaks through, beginning with two rapid 25-minute, 10-second increment games; then followed by two rapid 10-minute, 10-second increment games; two blitz 5-minute, 3-second increment games, and then finally forcing a winner with sudden death Armageddon.  

Games begin every day at 8:00 a.m. eastern, with full rest days scheduled before round 4 on Wednesday, July 21, and before round 7 on Saturday, July 31. For complete information on the FIDE World Cup 2021 and the Women's World Cup, visit the official website.


FIDE World Cup 2021 Quick Links

Official Website with Live Broadcast

World Cup Bracket and Results

Women's World Cup Bracket and Results

Schedule

Live games on Chess.com

Live games on Chess24.com

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