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GM Joel’s Chess Week Recap - Episode 135

Opening: D37, B08, D38, E05, C43, B12, B03 :

Player(s): Ding, Firouzja, Giri, Xiong, Xu Xiangyu, Grischuk, Dominguez, Duda

Is the 2019 World Cup the best tournament ever? Four rounds are in the books, and one American hero still remains. But let's review the third round first, where superior endgame technique made the difference in several matches. Wesley So squeezed out a tough rook endgame against Vidit to take the match in two games. Lenier Dominguez survived two elimination games against Wang Hao in a match dominated by the White pieces, then finally won an extremely drawish rook endgame to advance to the fourth round. Meanwhile, Ding Liren took advantage of his experience to eliminate the Firouzja. The young Iranian star had been very impressive in the World Cup, but he didn't know the principles of an important theoretical endgame and lost the match for it. Meanwhile Jeffery Xiong continued his run by taking down Anish Giri in the sixth match game when a tired Giri, who had survived the longest match of round two, could not find a proper defense. Round four started disastrously for the three remaining Americans. Wesley So, who had not trailed to this point, lost the first game to Vitiugov. When Wesley could not generate chances in the second game, Vitiugov had his second straight upset after vanquishing Karjakin in round 3. Jeffery Xiong lost to JK Duda, and Dominguez found himself on the precipice after he failed to find the right endgame defense against Grischuk. All credit to Dominguez, he created chances in the second game, and when Grischuk burned a lot of time and went wrong, he sent the match into overtime. Grischuk has been death to Americans in the Catalan, and Dominguez's return to the opening of game one proved unsuccessful again when his bid for freedom failed tactically. Xiong was able to strike back in the second game, and the match followed the pattern of many others in the last two rounds, with White winning almost every game. Jeffery took the lead in game three, another rook ending where the defense didn't get it done under pressure. But Duda stormed back with the psychological gambit 1.a3!? taking the game into non-theoretical channels. Jeffery missed his chances in game five and again faced elimination. But Jeffery squared things again and finally took the match in game eight - in blitz chess.

Check out ICC's article on the World Cup!
Download Joel's annotated games HERE!

Teacher's library (453) D37 B08 D38 E05 C43 B12 B03 Ding Firouzja Giri Xiong Xu Xiangyu Grischuk Dominguez Duda recap

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