The Semifinals of the 2015 FIDE World Chess Cup started today at the Fairmont Hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan, with four players that remained in the competition.
Previous reports: Round 1 pairings/ Round 2 tie-break/ Round 3 picturesque report/ Eljanov with six straight wins/ Andreikin defeats Kramnik in Russian derby/ Round 4 started with 4 wins/ Mamedyarov, Nakamura, Svidler, Vachier-Lagrave advance/ Giri, Karjakin, Eljanov, Wei Yi qualify for 5th round/ Eljanov defeats Nakamura/ Eljanov, Giri qualify for World Cup Semifinal/ Svidler and Karjakin qualify for FIDE World Cup Semifinal
Peter Svidler was slightly surprised with Anish Giri’s 1.e4, when he expected the closed opening like in their previous encounters. Black decided to defend with the rare line of Zaitsev Ruy Lopez.
After the initial build-up, where white was moving his pieces towards the enemy king, while black sought queenside counterplay, Giri suddenly conceded two pawns for no apparent reason. Black king was very solid and never came under attack.
Shortly after reaching the time control Giri resigned and Svidler registered a very important win with black pieces.
Sergey Karjakin remained loyal to his opening repertoire and defended with the Queen’s Indian. He got an isolated pawn that was quickly advanced and exchanged. At this point though Pavel Eljanov missed an opportunity to claim an extra pawn (a7).
The play continued with a roughly equal position but white was pressing. Finally, few moves before the time control, Eljanov was poised to win a pawn.
Karjakin had a choice of which ending to play, and he opted to keep the rooks and knights on the board, when white had an extra a-pawn. Black managed to maintain sufficient counterplay to eventually hold a draw.
Full set of results and pgn files can be found on http://www.bakuworldcup2015.
Photo gallery is available at http://www.bakuworldcup2015.
The total prize fund of the 2015 FIDE World Chess Cup is 1,6 million USD. In addition, the tournament also awards two places in the 2016 Candidates Tournament, part of the FIDE World Championship cycle.