FIDE World Cup 2023 QF: Praggnanandhaa wins exhilarating tie-breaks, sets up a clash against Caruana in the Semifinals
R Praggnanandhaa won an absolute thriller tie-break match against his good friend Arjun Erigaisi. It started with two draws before they traded two wins each. They all came with the black pieces. It was time for 3'+2" sudden death Blitz as four Rapid and two 5'+3" could not decide a winner. In an exciting final act of the tie-breaks, Pragg was nowhere to be found and the game had started. He arrived more than 30 seconds after the game and won it. Praggnanandhaa attributes her mother being an attendance and being a pillar of support definitely helped him to etch his name in history. He becomes the first Indian ever to reach the Semifinals of a FIDE World Cup since the current format got introduced in 2005. He will face Fabiano Caruana in the Semis. IM Nurgyul Salimova (BUL) also won a thriller against GM Anna Muzychuk (UKR) to secure her place in the finals.Tomorrow is a rest day. Round 7.1 games start on Saturday, 19th August at 3 p.m. local time, 4:30 p.m. IST. Photos: Maria Emelianova/chess.com
Nurgyul creates history by becoming the first IM to advance to a Women's World Cup Finals and Candidates
The tenth edition of the FIDE World Cup has been a record-breaking event, all thanks to the Indian players' outstanding performances. However, the second edition of FIDE Women's World Cup is not without its own history either. Bulgaria no.2 IM Nurgyul Salimova defeated GM Anna Muzychuk to secure her place in the Finals. Nurgyul will face GM Aleksandra Goryachkina, the former Women's World Championship Challenger. Anna did not go down without a fight. Once again, she made a comeback in a must-win situation with the black pieces. However, for the second time when the same situation occurred, it was one time too many. She had already made comebacks against GM Anna Ushenina (UKR) and GM Elisabeth Paehtz (GER) earlier at this event. Anna will face GM Zhongyi Tan (CHN) for the 3rd-4th place match and a spot for the Women's Candidates 2024.
Praggnanandhaa has virtually secured a spot in the Candidates. However, it is not official yet, because Magnus Carlsen might change his mind if the World Championship Match format is revamped.
Arjun - Praggnanandhaa, Tie-breaks 6.3
The first two 25'+10" Rapid tie-break games ended in a draw. Once the feeling out process between - GM Arjun Erigaisi (2681) and GM R Praggnanandhaa (2645) was over, the gloves came off. The first win was scored by Praggnanandhaa in the first 10'+10" Rapid tie-break game. He was completely lost in the queen and rook endgame. However, he just found some practical resources in the final moments.
43...d5 was a nice practical decision in time trouble as it served as the prelude to Black getting back in the game. 44.Qxd5 Qe2 45.Qc4?? this blunder removed White's winning chances and created an opportunity for Black to fight back. Praggnanandhaa eventually went on to win the game.
After trading wins back and forth, the score was tied at 4-4. It was time for sudden death 3'+2" Blitz games. Praggnanandhaa arrived over 30 seconds late for the game, still he managed to keep his composure and win the game. Thus, he won the match and advanced to the Semifinals where he will face GM Fabiano Caruana (USA).
Results after Round 6 tie-breaks
GM Arjun Erigaisi - GM R Praggnanandhaa: 4-5
IM Nurgyul Salimova - GM Anna Muzychuk: 3.5-2.5
A total of seven games in the Open and four in the Women's event took place in Round 6 tie-breaks.
The total prize fund is US$ 1834000 in the Open and $676250 in the Women, with the first being $110000 and $50000 respectively.