FIDE Grand Prix 2022: Leading by half a point from the flock Hikaru Nakamura held firm from Esipenko’s threatful challenge to qualify for the semifinals from the A Group. Levon Aronian had already qualified from Group C and now two places remain.
Meanwhile, the other two groups will be playing a tiebreaker to decide the top of the group contender. Radoslaw Wojtaszek will be facing Richard Rapport in Group B while Wesley So will face Leinier Dominguez in Group D.
Group A: Hikaru Nakamura had the perfect setup to go ahead as he only needed a draw to qualify against Andrey Esipenko and that too playing with the white pieces. The opening phase was not to separate but as the middlegame came closer Nakamura took the game for granted.
However, Esipenko could not find the winning combination, and Hikaru eased off for a draw and confirmed his qualification for the FIDE Grand Prix 2022 semifinals.
Being eliminated from the qualification race, Alexander Grischuk had the best game of the tournament, but of course, it was a bit too late. Nevertheless, it was a game showing his potential and why the qualified should ease now.
It was an eventful attacking game against Etienne Bacrot though the game was not without tactical inaccuracies, it was entertaining nevertheless.
Group B: This was the only group where three players had a theoretical chance to qualify to the knockout stage. With a win in their games, both Wojtaszek and Fedoseev could hope for a passage to the semifinals or a tiebreak.
Wojtaszek could not find a way to penetrate Oparin and had to settle for a draw.
GM Richard Rapport could also hope for a tiebreak or even a direct place in the semifinal if things moved his way. In such a scenario, it is no wonder that both the games proved to be tense affairs.
After a draw for Wojtaszek, Fedoseev needed a draw and Rapport was in a must-win situation. The Hungarian punched on the opportunity to take full point and set up a tie-break against Radoslaw Wojtaszek.
Group C: Aronian-Dubov ended in a draw quickly—but not before a curious Grischuk contribution. After the players agreed to a draw after a threefold repetition, they went ahead and made a… fourfold repetition.
While the other game between Vidit Gujrathi and Keymer Vincent also drew their game but it was way longer than Aronian-Dubov’s game.
Group D: As soon as Harikrishna Pentala held Wesley So for a draw, Dominguez’s eyes lit to push the qualification to the tie-breaker.
He did rise splendidly to the occasion of a must-win situation with a win over Shirov Alexei.