The 15 pairs of players who tied their round two matches with the classical time control returned to the playing hall at the Fairmont Flame Towers in Baku to settle the scores in the rapid and blitz games.
In the first set of the rapid games Alexander Areshchenko convincingly defeated the world-class player Levon Aronian by 2-0. With the same result Teimour Radjabov and Anish Giri eliminated Ilia Smirin and Alexander Motylev, respectively.
Motylev, who was extremely solid throughout the first five days, blundered a piece in each of the two games. Speaking at the press conference, Giri explained that the current playing form counts for nothing in the knockout system: “A player can win 7 or 8 games in a row and then suddenly lose and get knocked out. On the contrary, we had the examples of players who were struggling day after day, but then somehow ended up in the final.”
Among other matches, former World Cup winner Peter Svidler defeated Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, Hikaru Nakamura eliminated his compatriot Samuel Shankland, and former World Blitz Champion Le Quang Liem outplayed Nikita Vitiugov.
In the next batch of rapid with faster time control Alexander Grischuk finally broke the resistance of his young compatriot Vladimir Fedoseev. Yu Yangyi is through, as well as Russian champion Evgeny Tomashevsky.
Three matches continued to be decided in the blitz games.
In one of the most exciting encounters in the tournament so far, according to the commentator Emil Sutovsky, Wei Yi and Yuri Vovk were trading punches until the Chinese prodigy eventually won both blitz games to go through.
Ian Nepomniachtchi and Laurent Fressinet were involved in a tough battle where the first seven games were drawn, and only a terrible blunder by the Frenchman in the 8th game allowed Nepo to qualify for the next round.
The match was decided in the Armageddon game. Adams had white and 5 minutes, while Laznicka had black, 4 minutes and draw odds. The increment was coming in only from the 61st move.
To the surprise of the spectators, the Czech player displayed a terrible time management and simply run his clock out during the middlegame. Adams is set to play Dominguez in the 3rd round.
Round 3 pairings:
Veselin Topalov – Lu Shanglei
Peter Svidler – Teimour Radjabov
Ding Liren – Gadir Guseinov
Alexander Areshchenko – Yi Wei
Anish Giri – Peter Leko
Julio Granda Zuniga – Radoslaw Wojtaszek
Wesley So – Le Quang Liem
Evgeny Tomashevsky – Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
Hikaru Nakamura – Ian Nepomniachtchi
Michael Adams – Lenier Dominguez Perez
Alexander Grischuk – Pavel Eljanov
Dmitry Jakovenko – Vassily Ivanchuk
Fabiano Caruana – Anton Kovalyov
S. P. Sethuraman – Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
Vladimir Kramnik – Dmitry Andreikin
Sergey Karjakin – Yangyi Yu