FIDE World Cup 2021 – Round 4

FIDE World Cup 2021

The fourth round of the World Cup was held on 22nd July 2021 where we had only 48 players remaining from the original 301 players that played the first round of this tournament. Among these players, 32 players, remaining in the Open Category and 16 players are in the Women’s Category.

Everyone’s favourite and the World Champion Magnus Carlsen is still in the game, with his fourth round being against Radoslaw Wojtaszek. The highlight of this game was the 25th move where Magnus Carlsen played an excellent move – Nxe5! Which was the beginning of multiple sacrifices that Black made to gain a direct attack upon the White King.

Although Carlsen couldn’t find a win with this attack and these sacrifices, Wojtaszek did make a Queen sacrifice to defend this attack which kept the game even. A couple of moves later, the two opponents agreed to a draw even though the final position did not seem like a definite draw.

The Last 2 Players

To finish their games on the first day of round 4 were Sam Shankland (the USA Grandmaster) and Rinat Jumabayev. Although the game included some tricky moves, and Shankland was almost close to losing the game when he eventually equalised, and the game seemed to be heading for a draw.

Unfortunately, Jumabayev got himself into a difficult position as the game progressed. Shankland took advantage of this situation and put his end game skills to appropriate use, and managed to win the game. 

Another exciting game that took place in the fourth round was between the French Grandmaster Etienne Bacrot and the Russian player Pavel Ponkratov. The main aspect of this game was in the opening, where White played Nxe5 on the second move, which released chaos on the board and led to Bacrot winning the game.

Iran’s number three, M.Amin Tabatabei, defeated India’s number two player Pentala Harikrishna and the game ended in a tactical Knight ending.

The biggest surprise of the fourth round was the loss of the Champion of the Women’s category – Aleksandra Goryachkina, who lost to Antoaneta Stefanova, the former World Champion. Goryachkina made a tactical error on the 26th move by playing Qxc5 and eventually lost a Knight.

 The only other game that had a definite result was Polina Shuvalova’s victory against Nana Dzagnidze, and all the other eight games resulted in draws. 

The 2nd Game of Round 4

The clear winners of this round would graduate to the quarter-finals of the World Cup. The first game to finish was the game between Maxime Vachier – Lagrave and Praggnanandhaa, where Black played a fashionable and well-prepared variation of the Sicilian Defense.

Vachier thought about a remarkable queen sacrifice for ten whole minutes, which he did on the 24th move, which allowed him to win the game and progress to the next round. 

An interesting game that was taking place simultaneously was Magnus Carlsen’s aggressive tactics against Radoslaw Wojtaszek, where Carlsen was attacking Wojtaszek’s Kingside.

Eventually, Carlsen’s own Kingside was also in trouble, but the key point of this game was the 25th move where Carlsen played Bc2 instead of Rxh7, and the game eventually led to a draw causing both the players to head for a tiebreaker.

We also saw Kacper Piorun progress to the fifth round by defeating Javokhir Sindarov, which is considered Piorun’s best performance to date. Nodirbek Abdusattorov took advantage of his opponent, Vasif Durarbayli’s passive opening since he had to win on-demand after his loss on the previous day.

This strategy allowed Nodirbek to play a good middle game and an even better end game, and after five rigorous hours, Nodirbek managed to win the game.

The number one seed in the Women’s World Cup made a much-required return after losing her first game of the fourth round by defeating her opponent Antoaneta Stefanova, forcing the two to go in for a tiebreaker.

Another engaging game in the Women’s category was between Nana Dzagnidze and Polina Shuvalova, where Nana played an excellent Bxh6 on the 17th move, threatening an unstoppable attack. These two women also progressed to play the tiebreaker on the following day. 

Draws

4 Draws that took place in the previous game finally had definite results today, causing Valentina Gunina, Anna Muzychuk, Alexandra Kosteniuk and former World Champion Zhongyi Tan to progress to the fifth round.

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