Three of the top-10 players in the World were shown the exit door on Monday September 21, 2015, when they lost their matches in Baku. Russia’s Peter Svidler caused a sensation by defeating Bulgaria’s top seed Vesely Topalov after two games spread over Sunday and Monday. Svidler won the long first game after a hugely complicated middle game. In the second game, Svidler played for a draw and secured his place in the next round. Then USA’s Wesley So was also eliminated, when he made a huge error leading to a difficult endgame, which French grandmaster Maxime Vachier-Lagrave won. Azerbaijan’ Shakhriyar Mamedyarov brought cheers for local fans by a brilliant win against Italy’s Fabiano Caruna in the first game on Sunday and followed that up with a draw in the next game on Monday to sail into the round-of-eight. In the last clear win, USA’s Hikaru Nakamura defeated England’s Michael Adams. After the drawn games on Sunday and Monday, Anish Giri, Pavel Eljanov, Sergey Karjakin and Wei Yi also made it to the round-of-eight, when they beat their opponents after two rapid games, except for China’s Wei Yi, who required two more rapids against compatriot Ding Liren.
The round-4 matches of the 2015 world chess cup have now been completed. After four winners were confirmed on September 21, 2015, four more reached the quarterfinals next day after Rapid games. Russia’s Peter Svidler kept alive his dream of winning the World Cup twice. The first game between Svidler and Topalov was a typical Hedgehog, where Black was doing fine until Topalov sacrificed a pawn to win the bishop pair. However, Svidler avoided a move repetition and went into a strong attack and obtained a winning advantage. Topalov had a chance to draw but he made a tactical error and lost. In the second game on Monday, Svidler only needed a draw in a closed Ruy Lopez. It was a complicated game, where Topalov gained some advantage. But when the time control was reached, the Bulgarian suddenly made two bad moves in a row and settled for a draw and Svidler went through to round-5.
Mamedyarov’s first game against Caruna was interesting as he began with 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Bg5 and Caruna responded with 3…Ne4 4.Bf4 c5. But when Mamedyarov came up with a new idea: 5.Qc2, the game turned into some kind of Benoni without the f-pawns. In a critical moment, Caruana sacrificed his h5 knight to White’s bishop. But the move backfired as Mamedyarov easily built up an attacking position on the kingside to win the game. In the second game on Monday, Mamedyarov played for a draw with black pieces and he chose Open Ruy Lopez. It was a risky move but Caruna failed to attack and settled for a draw, which allowed Mamedyarov sailed through.
China’s Ding Liren beat his compatriot Wei Yi on Sunday with an open and sharp Anti-Gruenfeld game. Both players produced some tactical moves until Yi rushed to grab the b4-pawn and lost a crucial tempo. Liren broke through and won the game. In second game on Monday, the roles were reversed, when the 16-year old Yi played a Ruy Lopez and kept a small edge and eventually won a pawn. Though it didn’t look like a winning situation, Yi still managed to make progress and reached a winning rook endgame. After missing two clear chances, Yi won the game squared up. Yi and Liren played two rounds of 25-minute rapids but the stalemate still persisted. In the next 10-minute rapid, the first round was drawn but Yi won the next and went through.
USA’s Hikaru Nakamura defeated England’s Michael Adams, who made crucial errors in endgame. Adams could have drawn but Nakamura managed to win with a double rook ending. On Monday, Nakamura forked out a draw and entered the round-of-eight. French grandmaster Maxime Vachier-Lagrave played against another American Wesley So. Playing with white, So opened with the Najdorf in first game but all he got was two bishops against a bishop and knight with seven pawn each. MVL managed a draw quite easily. In the second game on Monday, MVL was uncomfortable to start with as the American dictated. After 17th move, the queens were traded and MVL was left with two isolated pawns against a doubled pawn and an IQP for Black. As the Frenchman faced the heat, So missed a tactic that got him into trouble and ended up a piece down for two pawns. MVL forced him and won the game to enter the quarterfinals.
On Tuesday, the four pairs, who tied their round four matches played rapids to settle the scores. In the first set of rapid games, Russian Sergey Karjakin defeated compatriot Dmitry Andrekin; Netherlands’ Anish Giri crushed Poland’s Radoslaw woitaszek and Ukraine’s Pavel Elianov defeated Russia’s Dmitry Jakovenko. In the quarterfinal, Mamedyarov will play against Russia’s Sergey Karjakin, who had drawn after two games against compatriot Dmitry Andreikin on Monday but came through after 2.5-1.5 after two rapid games. In other matches, Anish Giri will lock horns with MVL; Nakamura takes on Pavel Elianov and Svidler plays Chinese teenager Wei Yi.