The return games of the FIDE World Cup Quarterfinals were played in the Ugra Chess Academy on September 24.
Ding Liren and Alexander Grischuk opted for a complex manoeuvring game in the English Opening. It seemed Black successfully solved his opening problems, but in the middle game, the Russian accepted the exchange of the rooks, which proved wrong. White bishops and a queen developed dangerous activity, and Black started experiencing difficulties protecting his weaknesses on opposite wings, aggravated by time trouble. Eventually white won a pawn, and Black resigned on the 42nd move in a hopeless position. Ding Liren became the first participant to advance to the World Cup semifinals.
Teimour Radjabov and Jeffrey Xiong played a mind-blowing game. White surprised his opponent in the Gruenfeld Defense and got an advantage with prospects of a crushing kingside attack. However, later in the game, Radjabov missed a strong reply from his opponent, and soon the entire board was on fire. In a complicated tactical battle spiced up by mutual time pressure, Xiong made the last mistake, and the white queen finished the black king off. Teimour Radjabov progressed to the World Cup Semifinals as well.
Two other semifinalists will be determined on the tiebreaks.
The game between Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Levon Aronian took less than an hour. The players discussed a popular line of the Giuoco Piano in the Italian with a pawn sacrifice on d3 and demonstrated deep opening knowledge. The opponents proceeded in a quiet manner and shook hands on the 31st move.
Yu Yangyi and Nikita Vitiugov also made a draw. In the Nimzo-Indian Defense the Russian, who was playing Black, sacrificed a pawn and obtained certain compensation, keeping the white king in the centre. After the Chinese GM traded the queens at the cost of his extra pawn a peaceful outcome became imminent.
Tie-break pairings for Wednesday, September 25:
Aronian – Vachier-Lagrave
Yu Yangyi – Vitiugov