The return games of the FIDE World Cup Semifinals were played in Khanty-Mansiysk on September 27.
Teimour Radjabov and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave had a discussion in the English Opening. After Black rejected to exchange the queens early in the game, White launched a powerful attack on the kingside. The French grandmaster was defending resourcefully and saved his king, but lost a pawn in process, while White still had a dominating position with a strong pressure on the kingside.
Black kept avoiding exchanging the queens but by the 40th move, White’s attack became decisive. Vachier-Lagrave blundered a rook in a hopeless situation and resigned on the 45th move. Teimour Radjabov has become the first finalist of the FIDE World Cup and secured a slot in the Candidates Tournament that will be held in Yekaterinburg in 2020.
Yu Yangyi and Ding Liren played the Nimzo-Indian Defense and up to a certain point followed the earlier game between Yu Yangyi and Nikita Vitiugov. Ding Liren improved Black’s play with 18…Rd5 and solved all the problems. It’s also the computer’s first choice, as Ding Liren mentioned in the post-game interview. The game simplified, and the players agreed to a draw in an equal queen ending on the 30th move, having spent less than an hour at the board.
The tie-break between Ding Liren and Yu Yangyi will be played today, September 28, with the latter having White in the first game.