One of the most surprising results of the Baku Chess World Cup was the early exit of Armenia’s Levon Aronian. The Armenian suffered a shock second round 0-2 rapid tiebreak defeat against Ukrainian Grandmaster Alexander Areshchenko. As per Aronian, a one-move blackout ended his tournament. Since then, other fancied players like; Alexander Grischuk, Vassily Ivanchuk and Peter Leko have all exited the 2015 World Cup. Leko lost to Netherlands’ Anish Giri. After two games in round-3 on September 18, 2015, seven matches were destined to go the tiebreaks consisting of rapids, blitz games or an Armageddon. The notable ones involved Nepomniachtchi against Nakamura, Radjabov against Svidler and Andreikin against Kramnik. Now the round-4 line is decided for the 8 matches between the remaining 16 players after a dramatic play-off in 7 matches, which were drawn on Friday. The most exciting result came after the Armageddon between Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi and USA’s Hikaru Nakamura before the American went through.
In the first rapid play between Bulgaria’s Topalov and China’s Shanglei Lu, Topalov won the first rapid and all he needed to do next was extract a draw in the next game. He duly did that and went through to the round-of-sixteen. For the place in the quarterfinal, the Bulgarian will play against Russia’s Peter Svidler, who defeated Azerbaijan’s Teimour Radjabov after a draw in the first rapid game and a win in the second. Wesley So of the USA also had to play two rapid games against Le Quang Liem of Vietnam after their regular round-3 games ended in a draw. So drew in the first rapid but won the next to progress to the fourth round. The American will face Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the fourth round. On his part, MVL needed four rapid games before prevailing over Russia’s Evgeny Tomashevsky. Michael Adams of England needed two rapids and two blitz games before coming through against Cuba’s Leiner Dominguez Perez. In the fourth round, Adams will play against USA’s Hikaru Nakamura, who had to go all the way to the Armageddon before winning against the tenacious Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia. There were two other Russians, who engaged with each other in the rapid games before Dmitry Andreikin outlasted his more celebrated compatriot Vladimir Kramnik .
With the completion of the third round matches, the fourth round pre-quarterfinal line-up is decided. The forthcoming round-of-sixteen matches will feature Ding Liren of China playing against compatriot Yi Wei; Anish Giri of the Netherlands taking on Radoslaw Wojtaszek of Poland; USA’s Hikaru Nakamura meeting England’s Michael Adams; Wesley So playing against Frenchman MVL; Pavel Elijanov of Ukraine taking on Russian Dmitry Jakovenko; Italy’s Fabiano Caruna squaring up with local hope Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Russian Dmitry Andreikin taking on compatriot Sergey Karjakin. After 10 days exciting chess in the 2015 World Cup, Bulgaria’s Veselin Topalev gives an impression of going to the final and clinching the World Cup but predictions can be hazardous because tactical errors at crunch time can go against any player in a specific match.
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