The pools are over, and we know two of the four players who will play in the semifinals.
In Pool A, the unthinkable happened.
We all were ready to witness tiebreaks between Aronian and Nakamura. The standings indicated that a couple of short and uneventful draws would have led to a rematch of the 1st leg finals.
But Oparin, who even with ups and downs played a great event, wasn't to allow the happy ending. Aronian went for an aggressive variant of the Catalan, extending his pawn formation on both sides of the board. Oparin maneuvered calmly and patently, and Aronian started compromising his position as early as move 17. At move 19, Aronian didn't see his opponent's winning move and blundered the game away. Oparin saw the right move, which opened Aronian's defense to an irresistible attack.
Meanwhile, Nakamura was not having an easy time against Esipenko, with the Russian playing well and having a sizeable advantage. But then, Hikaru went into a god-like mode, and played a fantastic second part of the game, to take home the whole point, the access to the semifinals, and, last but not least, one of the two coveted seats at the Candidates tournament!
In Pool B, Mamedyarov and Dubov drew relatively early, and at that point, Dominguez needed a draw to go to the tiebreaks with the Azerbaijani. But, unfortunately for the Cuban-born American GM, the young German start Vincent Keymer played a very good game, forcing Leinier to resign. The German will contend for a place in the semifinals against Mamedyarov.
In Pool C, two draws didn't change the standings: Wesley So and Sam Shankland will play the tiebreaks.
In Pool D, we had what's probably the biggest surprise in this 3rd leg of the FIDE Grand Prix. Anish Giri started the pool as the great favorite. but something went wrong for the Dutch GM and after today's defeat, he left the young Iranian GM Tabatabaei alone in the lead, gaining access to the semifinals, with Yu and Vitiugov drawing their game.
The tiebreaks consist of a rapid two-game mini-match (Time control 15+10). If the players are still tied, there will be a two-game Blitz mini-match (3+2). In case of a tie after the two mini-matches, there will be an Armageddon game - White starts with 5 minutes (no increment), Black with 4 minutes (no increment) and Black has draw odds.
Mamedyarov and Keymer, and So and Shankland will play the tiebreaks to decide the other two semifinalists tomorrow, March 29, at 9 AM EDT, 15:00 Berlin (CEST), 13:00 UTC.