And Then There Was One: Xiong Advances

Jeffery Xiong is through to the quarterfinals at the 2019 FIDE World Cup, defeating Jan-Krzysztof Duda Sunday in the third round of tiebreaks by a final score of 4.5-3.5. Xiong is now the last American standing in the knockout event, and he will play Teimour Radjabov beginning on Monday. Leiner Dominguez was eliminated by Alexander Grischuk by a score of 2.5-1.5.

The match between the 21 year old Duda and 18 year old Xiong was the only pairing in the playoff to advance to the blitz round. The two pugilists traded wins back and forth, delighting commentators, fans, and punsters alike.

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After Xiong drew in the first blitz game with Black, he played ambitiously against Duda’s Alekhine’s Defense and took the point and match in 32 moves. IM John Watson annotates Xiong's win exclusively for CLO.

[pgn] [Event "FIDE World Cup 2019"] [Site "Khanty-Mansiysk"] [Date "2019.09.22"] [Round "4.8"] [White "Xiong, Jeffery"] [Black "Duda, Jan-Krzysztof"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B03"] [WhiteElo "2707"] [BlackElo "2730"] [Annotator "John Watson"] [PlyCount "63"] [EventDate "2019.09.07"] [EventType "k.o."] [EventCountry "RUS"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceQuality "1"] 1. e4 Nf6 {Remarkable. In my database I don't see single previous game by Duda with the 1...Nf6 (Alekhine Defense).} 2. e5 Nd5 3. c4 Nb6 4. d4 d6 5. f4 { What great fun! Kudos to both players for going into this sharp variation when everything is on the line. In Megabase you can see a couple of games in which Xiong played the Exchange Variation with} (5. exd6) 5... Bf5 (5... dxe5 6. fxe5 Bf5 {will often transpose.}) 6. Nc3 e6 7. Nf3 Be7 8. Be3 O-O 9. Be2 dxe5 10. fxe5 Nc6 11. O-O ({The ultra-aggressive move} 11. d5 {has a long and storied history. Some of the analysis goes well into the endgame.}) 11... f6 12. exf6 Bxf6 13. b3 {Quite unusual. There are hundreds of master games with the main line} (13. Qd2 Qe7 14. Rad1 Rad8) 13... Qe7 14. Qe1 (14. Bd3 {has been played here as well.}) 14... Rad8 (14... Nb4 {tries to exploit the position of the queen on e1, e.g.,} 15. Rd1 Nc2 16. Qf2 Rad8 17. Bd3 $5 Nxd4 $1 18. Bxf5 Nxf5 19. Rxd8 Qxd8 20. Ne4 {and White has compensation for the pawn, but no more.}) ({The most recent predecessor game I see went} 14... e5 15. Nxe5 Nxd4 16. Bxd4 Bxe5 17. Bxe5 Qxe5 18. Bf3 Qd4+ 19. Kh1 {Jones,G (2675)-Tahbaz,A (2434) Dubai 2018; here} Rae8 20. Nb5 $1 Rxe1 21. Nxd4 Rxa1 22. Rxa1 c6 {would leave White with a small advantage.}) 15. Rd1 Bg4 $2 {In a Blitz game it's not immediately obvious that after White's next, the threat to d4 is gone and this bishop is badly misplaced. There are two reasonable options:} (15... Nb4 {transposes to the previous note, and}) (15... Rd7 16. h3 Qd8 $5 (16... Bg6 $14) 17. d5 $1 Bxc3 $2 18. Qxc3 exd5 19. Bxb6 axb6 20. cxd5 $16 {was very good for White in Windhager, H (2159)-Lautner,J (2230) Austria 2016.}) 16. Ne4 $1 h6 (16... Bxf3 17. Nxf6+ Qxf6 18. Rxf3 {and there's no time to take the d-pawn.}) 17. Qg3 Bf5 18. Nxf6+ Rxf6 19. Nh4 {White has the bishop pair and superior pawn structure.} (19. Ne5 {was also strong.}) 19... Bc2 20. Rxf6 $6 {Logical, but it gives away much of White's advantage. Simply} (20. Rd2 {keeps White's well on top with every chance of winning.}) 20... Bxd1 $4 {A total miscalculation. Playing such a position with a few seconds per move isn't realistic. Correct was} (20... Qxf6 21. Rf1 (21. Rd2 Nxd4) 21... Nxd4 $1 {with forking ideas and near-equality. Then} 22. Bh5 $1 Nf5 23. Nxf5 exf5 24. Qxc7 Be4 25. Qf4 { retains some advantage.}) 21. Rg6 $2 {Again the effects of time and pressure.} (21. Rxh6 $1 {wins after} Bxe2 22. Rh8+ $1 Kxh8 (22... Kf7 23. Qg6#) 23. Ng6+ Kg8 24. Nxe7+ Nxe7 25. Qe5 $1 ({or} 25. Qxc7) 25... Bd3 26. Qxe6+ Kf8 27. d5 { with a dominating position. White was understandably reluctant to risk this type of material imbalance.}) 21... Nxd4 $1 22. Bd3 $1 (22. Bxd1 Nf5 $1 23. Qe1 Nxh4) 22... Ne2+ $1 {Else 23 Bxh6 will win.} 23. Bxe2 Bxe2 24. Bxh6 Rd1+ $4 { Tragic! This move is natural but losing. With a few more seconds to think about it, Black probably would have found} (24... Qc5+ $1 25. Be3 (25. Qe3 Qxe3+ 26. Bxe3 Kf7 $14) 25... Rd1+ 26. Kf2 Qf8+ $1 27. Nf3 Bd3 $1 { (threatening mate)} 28. Bxb6 axb6 ({or} 28... Bxg6 29. Qxg6 axb6 30. Qxe6+ Qf7 31. Qc8+ Qf8 32. Qe6+ {, which draws}) 29. Rg5 Qf7 $11) 25. Kf2 Qf8+ {It's simply lost now.} 26. Nf3 Rd7 (26... Bxf3 {loses to} 27. Rxg7+ Kh8 28. Rh7+ Kxh7 29. Bxf8) 27. Kxe2 {White is a piece up with an ongoing attack.} Kh7 28. Ng5+ Kh8 29. Nxe6 Qf5 30. Bxg7+ Kg8 31. Bd4+ Kf7 32. Rf6+ 1-0 [/pgn]
Leinier Dominguez's tournament run came to an end with a 2.5-1.5 loss to Alexander Grischuk. After drawing the first rapid playoff game, Dominguez lost with Black in the second game and was eliminated, as Watson explains in his annotations.

[pgn] [Event "FIDE World Cup 2019"] [Site "Khanty-Mansiysk"] [Date "2019.09.22"] [Round "4.4"] [White "Grischuk, Alexander"] [Black "Dominguez Perez, Leinier"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A06"] [WhiteElo "2759"] [BlackElo "2763"] [Annotator "John Watson"] [PlyCount "94"] [EventDate "2019.09.07"] [EventType "k.o."] [EventCountry "RUS"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceQuality "1"] {This was a Rapids game: 25 minutes with a 10-second increment.} 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. O-O Be7 5. c4 O-O 6. d4 dxc4 7. Qc2 a6 8. a4 Bd7 9. Qxc4 Bc6 10. Bg5 (10. Bf4 {is the most popular move. White isn't getting much out of this opening, but it served Grischuk well.}) 10... Nbd7 11. Nc3 h6 12. Bxf6 Nxf6 13. Rfd1 Bd5 14. Qd3 Bxf3 15. Bxf3 c6 16. e3 ({The first-round game between these two went} 16. Kg2 Qa5 17. e3 Rfd8 18. Qc4 Rac8 {with equality.}) 16... a5 17. h4 {Trying to gain space. Two earlier games went} (17. Ne4 Nxe4 18. Bxe4 Qc7 19. Qc2 Rfd8 $11 {Ni,H (2713)-Wei,Y (2725) Zaozhuang 2015; and}) ( 17. Rac1 Nd5 18. Ne4 Qb6 19. Qc2 Nb4 20. Qe2 Qa6 $11 {Zhao,J (2601)-Wang,Y (2690) China 2018}) 17... h5 {Perhaps fearing g4-g5 at some point.} 18. e4 g6 19. Qe3 Re8 20. Kg2 Kg7 21. Rd3 Qb6 22. Rad1 Rad8 23. e5 Nd7 $5 {The obvious move is} (23... Nd5 {, when} 24. Bxd5 $5 (24. Nxd5 exd5) 24... cxd5 (24... exd5 25. Ne2 $14 {with the idea Nf4}) 25. Nb5 {might follow. That doesn't look very dangerous, however.}) 24. Ne2 $5 (24. Ne4 {is more natural and prevents any freeing moves, but perhaps White felt that it would be difficult to make progress.}) 24... c5 $6 {This opens the long diagonal for White's bishop and exposes b7. Dominguez knew this, of course, and based the move on a creative piece sacrifice, but misassessed a key position.} 25. Rb3 cxd4 26. Rxb6 dxe3 27. Rxb7 Nxe5 $1 28. Rxe7 $1 Rxd1 (28... Rxe7 $2 29. Rxd8) 29. Rxe8 Nd3 { This was Black's point. He threatens ...exf2 followed by ....f1(Q), and will achieve a draw if White plays the most natural move.} 30. Nc3 $1 {Rrefuting Black's igenious idea.} (30. fxe3 Ne1+ 31. Kf2 Nd3+ 32. Kg2 Ne1+ {draws.}) 30... Rd2 (30... Rc1 31. fxe3 Ne1+ 32. Kf2 Nd3+ 33. Ke2 Nxb2 34. Kd2 Rg1 35. Be2 Rxg3 36. Rb8 {wins White's knight, and}) (30... Ne1+ 31. Kf1 Rc1 32. Ke2 { doesn't help.}) 31. Be2 {The point.} (31. Kg1 Rxf2 32. Be2 Nc1 {is by no means clear.}) 31... Nxb2 (31... Nc1 32. Kf3 $1 Rxb2 33. Ba6 $1 exf2 34. Ne4 { and the f-pawn falls. Then} Ra2 35. Re7 $1 Rxa4 36. Ng5 {is too good.}) 32. Kf1 exf2 $6 (32... Rc2 $1 {puts up more resistance, e.g.,} 33. Ne4 (33. Nb5 exf2 34. Kxf2 Nxa4) 33... Rc1+ 34. Kg2 Rc2 35. Kf3 exf2 36. Kxf2 Nxa4 37. Ra8 $16 { ; at least this is still a fight, especially considering the time pressure.}) 33. Rb8 $5 (33. Rc8 $1 {is cleaner:} Rc2 34. Rc5) 33... Rc2 34. Rb3 Kf6 (34... f5 $5) 35. Kxf2 Nd3+ 36. Ke3 Nc5 $6 37. Ra3 (37. Bd1 $1 $18 {with the idea} Rg2 38. Rb5 Rxg3+ 39. Bf3) 37... Ke5 38. Bb5 Rg2 $2 (38... Rb2) 39. Kf3 (39. Ne2 $1 ) 39... Rd2 40. Ra2 Rd4 41. Re2+ Kf5 42. Ke3 Ke5 43. Rf2 f5 44. Rf4 Rd8 45. Rc4 Nb3 46. Ne2 Kf6 47. Rc6 Ke5 (47... Ke5 48. Bc4 {finishes matters.}) 1-0 [/pgn]
Dominguez takes home $25,000 as a consolation prize. Xiong is guaranteed $35,000 for making it to Round 5, and can win up to $110,000 depending on his final results. Three other “round of sixteen” matches went to tiebreaks. Ding Liren defeated Kirill Alekseenko 3.0-1.0, Levon Aronian downed Le Quang Liem by a score of 3.5-2.5, while Teimour Radjabov also won against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 3.5-2.5. Monday’s quarterfinal pairings are: Grischuk - Ding Liren Xiong - Radjabov Aronian - Vachier-Lagrave Vitiugov - Yu Yangyi Play starts on Monday at 6am EDT. 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)


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I'll note that Duda became the heavy favorite going into the Blitz rounds, since his Blitz rating of 2812 placed him at World #7 in blitz. According to the FIDE live ratings site, in FIDE classic ratings Jeffery Xiong (2716.1) has leapfrogged Sam Shankland (2702.0) as USA #5 rated behind the "Big Four".

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Why do you guys always spoil the freaking results in your headline? I was so happy to sit down after work and watch the stream but now it's ruined. And I get the article in my feed on my phone so I couldn't avoid it.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Interview with Wayne Xiong, Jeffery's dad:

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Xiong was unrated at blitz before this.

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