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Fedoseev, MVL, Rapport, So, Svidler To Quarterfinals

Vladimir Fedoseev, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Richard, Rapport, Wesley So and Peter Svidler have joined yesterday's qualifiers to reach round five of the FIDE World Cup in Tbilisi.

And then there were only eight.

Wesley So stops the clock to claim a draw. | Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.
After Aronian, Ivanchuk and Ding Liren had already qualified yesterday, Thursday's tiebreaks decided the other five matches. On what was a relatively short day, four of the matches were decided after the two games in the normal rapid time control, and one match went to the 10+10 games, but not further.

Tomorrow the quarterfinals start, and we'll see these matches: Svidler-MVL, Ivanchuk-Aronian, So-Fedoseev and Rapport-Ding.

He had kicked the world champion, but today was not Bu Xianghi's day. He lost both his rapid games to Peter Svidler.

In the first game the Chinese player got slowly outplayed as White, lost an exchange and then allowed a mate in one.

"The first was played reasonably well by both of us," said Svidler, who thought that he could have won easier. When Bu had little time on the clock, Svidler could bring him out of balance by playing moves that his opponent probably didn't look at.

Bu had to win the second game, but his opening play completely backfired, which sometimes happens in these situations. The opening went 1.Nf3 f5 2.d3 d6 3.e4 which isn't that strange, and in fact a good way to avoid the Dutch Defense.

But after 3...e5 4.Nc3 Be7 Svidler went 5.d4!? which led to a Philidor with ...f5 (which Morphy has played, and is mentioned in this recent blog by Arne Moll) where Black has the extra move ...Be7! But that was all there is to mention because in no time Svidler was completely winning.

Here's how the winner explained this game: "He's an extremely strong classical player. His forte is playing correctly, you know, putting the pieces on good squares and doing this, the basics, very, very well. But he had to play for a win as Black, he mixed up and missed a tactical short very early. He missed Ne4-g5."

The local fans obviously put their hopes on Baadur Jobava has evaporated. In this round the Georgian number one found his Waterloo in Wesley So, who struggled somewhat in the classical games but today found his mojo. There was a draw in the second, but here's how So impressively won the first:

"Well, it proved to be a very tough match," said So. "Baadur proved to be really inspired, he wants to bounce back and got the home court advantage, he's got a lot of fans rooting for him.

"Yesterday I had a very suspicious position but I'm very glad to be able to save that game. Today it went better and I would like to thank the Lord to let me win the match."

To Chess.com, So pointed out that it was the first time ever for him to reach the quarterfinals of a World Cup. He also revealed that he arrived in Tbilisi six days before the tournament to get rid of the jet lag.

Evgeniy Najer, another Dragon slayer (he kicked out Fabiano Caruana), had his chances in the first rapid game, but Richard Rapport got away with the draw. In the second (crazy!) game, the Hungarian grandmaster was in his element. He managed to outplay his opponent in a jungle of tactical possibilities, although right at the end there was still a moment where Najer could draw.

Maxim Rodshtein yesterday came back from a loss, and this tends to give you a psychological advantage in the tiebreak. But Vladimir Fedoseev seems to be a tough guy who is not disturbed by such considerations. He won both rapid games. In the first he got some help from his opponent right at the end.

This game, by the way, saw the third illegal move incident. Fedoseev got two minutes extra on the clock, which is the measure then it happens the first time. A second illegal move loses.

In the second game, Rodshtein seemed to get some chances. Well, at least he managed to create an unbalanced position, but Fedoseev was strong here as well. Well, his opening he described as "How to play as bad as possible when you must make a draw."

The Russian grandmaster explained that he had learned from the day before, as he blamed his on for playing a draw. "I should always play for a win. If I change my style I have a problem."

The high-profile match between Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Alexander Grischuk was also the longest of the day. The two rapid games ended in draws, and then MVL was the first to score in the first 10+10. (Look at those pawns!)

"My preparation went well, I finally managed to put huge pressure on Sasha," said MVL. "After I managed to exchange queens and I could push my pawns in the center I felt that it should win."

Remarkably, after Aronian-Dubov yesterday, the second 10+10 between Grischuk and MVL saw an endgame with the exact same material distribution. This time it was rook vs dark-squared bishop, with an h-pawn for White and a g-pawn for Black.

It was a theoretical win for a long time, but unlike Aronian, Grischuk couldn't find the winning plan while playing on increment:

Vachier-Lagrave: "I was confident I would hold in this endgame but then I blundered something, I got in real trouble and made this draw by miracle; I got a fortress I probably shouldn't have got."

The Frenchman was modestly optimistic about the remainder: "The intensity of the match was like we were playing the final match," said MVL. "There are three very difficult steps ahead of me but if I keep this level of intensity I think I could go well."

Author: PeterDoggers, Chess.com
Source: https://www.chess.com/news/view/fedoseev-mvl-rapport-so-svidler-to-quarterfinals

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