World Champion Magnus Carlsen is taking things very seriously and has sounded his clear intentions to win the FIDE World Cup in Sochi. The World Cup is one of the few events that Carlsen doesn’t yet have in his trophy case and he made the first step to qualify for the fourth round by defeating his teammate Aryan Tari with the white pieces.
Tari seemed to be have a measure of Carlsen but low on time he blundered 38…Bd4? 39.Rb5 a4? 40.Ne7+ and had to resign. Tari will have his chance to redeem himself in the second game later tonight.
Fabiano Caruana was back on the stage after his win by forfeit in the second round. Although he was only able to get a draw (with Black against Rinat Jumabayev) he was relatively content with the result, having the White pieces tomorrow.
Another top top-ten player in the field, Alexander Grischuk also made a huge step to qualify for the next round by defeating Argentina’s number one Alan Pichot with White. The intermediate move 17.Bf4! may have escaped Pichot’s attention but it left him in a very delicate position.
Although Grischuk’s king had to make the walk to f3 he had everything under control and soon created a mating net which proved definitive.
The all-Indian encounter between Santosh Vidit and Baskaran Adhiban also proved to be a tense game. Adhiban was doing well in a King’s Indian until he blundered a pawn with 19…e4, maybe due to an oversight. Vidit played it safe and actively relocated his pieces, netting a second pawn and went on to win.
Adhiban will have to go all-out today for a win but, as Vidit was quick to say in the postgame interview, “Adhiban goes all-out no matter the score”.
In the women’s group, the main favourite Aleksandra Goryachkina is still on 100% having defeated Olga Badelka with White. She played a solid Catalan opening, achieving a small positional plus after the opening. Later in the game she opened the a-file and penetrated into her opponent’s position with her heavy pieces, winning a pawn and converting in the endgame.
Joining her on 100% is the older of the two very strong Muzychuk sisters, Anna. Her s win over Pauline Guichard – with Black – gives her very good chances to qualify for the fourth round.