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India’s 3 players reaching the semifinal of the FIDE World Cup

The top three players in the FIDE World Cup will advance to the Candidates Tournament, whose victor will face China’s Ding Liren, the reigning champion. Magnus Carlsen ousted Gukesh D and home favorite Nijat Abasov shocked Vidit Gujrathi on Wednesday, crushing India’s hopes of having three players make it to the FIDE World Cup quarterfinal in Baku.

Though R Praggnanandhaa battled valiantly to defeat fellow Indian Arjun Erigaisi in the second game to force tie-breakers, which will be played on Thursday, India will still have at least one player in the semifinal.

The good news for India is that the winner of the match between Praggnanadhaa and Erigaise would earn a spot in the 2024 Candidates Tournament now that five-time world champion Carlsen has declared he won’t compete for a place at the World Championship final for a second time.

“There is virtually no chance under the World Championships’ current format. After making it to the semifinals, where he will play Abasov, Carlsen remarked, “I think everyone should operate under the assumption that I will not play at the Candidates and that everyone else who’s in the semifinals is qualified for the Candidates.

The top three players in the FIDE World Cup will advance to the Candidates Tournament, whose victor will face China’s Ding Liren, the reigning champion.

Gukesh exhorts

Gukesh knew he would have to come up with something extraordinary to do the impossible—beat Carlsen in an over-the-board Classical chess match—after losing with the white pieces on Tuesday.

He did apply pressure to the Norwegian, briefly getting him into a time crunch, but Carlsen had all the solutions and won the match by drawing the game.

Gukesh, 17, should find comfort in the fact that he challenged Carlsen with black pieces, placing him seventh in the world according to live FIDE ratings. Gukesh appeared to have a chance to win at one point when Carlsen had to make 11 moves in as many minutes, but Carlsen fought back despite being a pawn behind in the endgame. After 59 moves, the players ultimately opted to declare a draw.

Vidit pays dearly for his mistake.

A single inaccuracy from Vidit, 28, was all it took to end any hope he had of making it to the semifinals. He made a mistake on the 17th move when playing against the lower-rated Abasov by deciding to castle on the queen’s side. The Indian was checkmated by Abasov in the next round, ending the game in 44 moves. Abasov capitalized on the situation and launched a methodical attack on the castled king. He then added a second queen to the board.

Viswanathan Anand, the lone world champion from India, claimed that playing at home helped the 97th-ranked Abasov. It is always tragic for a player when a great tournament ends in this manner, but Abasov keeps on his incredible run! He was encouraged to play at home, tweeted Anand.

Abasov also said that he had not anticipated progressing this far in the competition and that his advantage came from the luxury of time. “Obviously, I didn’t anticipate traveling this far before the competition. My performance today was good. A nice queen-side attack was made. Vidit didn’t anticipate how rapid my pawns would be. And I had a wonderful time advantage, which provided me extra opportunities,” he remarked.

However, Abasov won’t have any of these opportunities when facing Carlsen as his next opponent, so he must make the most of his two rest days. On the other hand, Carlsen appeared to be very confident about his chances of making the final four.

“I’m glad I won’t be facing the very best players in the semifinals. Of course, it won’t be simple. I don’t think I need to do anything out of the ordinary; just play my game, and maybe everything will work out. I’ll definitely play two more matches now that I’ve made that decision, so I might as well attempt to win the tournament, he added.

Push from Pragg

Praggnanandhaa, who was using black pieces and needed to win to stay in the game, took the lead on the 38th move, but Erigaisi forced him to work hard for the victory. While he continued to play, he was powerless to stop Praggnanandhaa from turning one of his two additional pawns into a queen on the 75th turn, and he was forced to give up.

The two are in a really difficult situation, and Praggnanandhaa acknowledged that it’s challenging to compete against your best buddy in such a significant tournament. Even yesterday, when we went for a walk, we talked chess, but not specifically about our game. So, yes, playing your friend is harder, according to Praggnanandhaa.

In the semifinal, the victor of the match between Erigaise and Praggnanandhaa will take on Fabiano Caruana. Caruana defeated Leinier Dominguez Perez, a fellow American, in 94 moves.