Russia’s Peter Svidler may have beaten Wei Yi of China in the quarterfinal but the 16-year old Yi fought a tooth-and-nail battle with multiple-time champion Svidler. The Beijing teenager drew with the seasoned Russian in the first two classical games and two rapid rounds of 25 minutes each. Then Svidler couldn’t beat Yi in the first round of 10-minute rapid. Until then, Yi had shown great resilience and quick-silver reactions. In the second round of 10-minute rapid, however, a combination of Yi’s time trouble and Svidler’s king raid up the e- and d-files denied the Chinese the semifinal berth. The Chinese teenager has performed creditably all these days and it was unfortunate to see him miss the world title Candidates at age of 16; a feat achieved only by Bobby Fischer and Magnus Carlsen. Netherlands’ Anish Giri is the highest seed standing in the tournament’s semifinal stage. He defeated French grandmaster Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the second game of the quarterfinal. Based on his show until now, Giri is clear favorite to win the title. But one never knows. There were heartbreaks for the fans of local hero Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who lost to Russian Sergey Karjakin. Mamedyarov matched the Russian in two classical games of round-5 and also in the first set of 25-minute rapids. However, the Azeri’s tenacity fell through in the shorter rapids as he lost both games and exited the Baku challenge. The Biggest quarterfinal star was nobody’s favorite until he caused an upset in round 5. The little-known Ukrainian Pavel Eljanov produced a performance of his life by brushing aside US champion and tournament favorite Hikaru Nakamura. He beat the American in the first classical game and drew in the second to sail through to the Final Four. The round-6 pairing leading to the emergence of two finalists are; Svidler vs Giri and Karjakin vs Eljanov.
There are now two Russians in the final of the 2015 World Chess Cup at Baku. The first is Peter Svidler, who was given a hard time by the 16-year old Wei Yi of China. The Beijing teenager drew 5 games of round-5 with Svidler before losing in the last 10-minute rapid. After the draws in the two classical games, Svidler held advantage against Yi In the first set of the rapid games but the Chinese managed to wriggle out and forced two additional rapids of 10 minutes each. Peter Svidler held serious advantage in both games against Wei Yi, but the Chinese staged two escapes and remained in the match. However, in the last rapid Svidler broke the resistance of his young opponent and reached the semifinal. Ukraine’s Pavel Eljanov shocked USA’s Hikaru Nakamura in the first classical with an Open Catalan. Then all he needed was a draw in the next game and he duly obtained it to cruise into the semifinal.
Like Eljanov, Holland’s Anish Giri also settled the issue in the first two classical games against Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. After the first game ended in a draw, Giri had the one pawn advantage until the 50th move. Although, f & h-pawns in rook endings are not enough to force a win, MVL erred in taking his king too far to grab Giri’s extra b-pawn. That was where, Giri created a rook and pawn endgame and by beating MVL, entered the semifinal to set up a clash with Russia’s Peter Svidler.
In the last quarterfinal, Russian Sergey Karjakin played against local hero Shakhariyar Mamedyarov. The Azeri had a great tournament, in which he beat Fabiano Caruna earlier with an attacking game. But against the Russian, Mamedyarov couldn’t produce the same game in the classicals, which ended as draws. In the first set of rapids, Mamedyarov ran into trouble early in the first game and lost a lot of time and that cost him the game. In the return game Mamedyarov tried to find a break in a blocked position. However at one point he committed a blunder in scarifying a piece to Karjakin and immediately resigned. The loss of the Azerbaijani sent Katjakin into the semifinal. For the two final spots and place in Candidates, Svidler will take on Giri, while Karjakin will play against Pavel Eljanov.
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