FIDE Grand Prix 2022, Berlin: Richard Rapport bouncy from the third position extends his amazing run to beat Radoslaw Wojtaszek and Leinier Dominguez upsets Wesley So to reach semifinals.
Rapport and Dominguez will now face GM Hikaru Nakamura and GM Levon Aronian respectively in the two-game classical time control semifinals scheduled for February 12-13.
The tiebreakers were ready to excite everyone with the time control of 15 minutes and 10 seconds increment. Hikaru and Levon were also eagerly waiting for their matchups.
Rapport-Wojtaszek: It was the battle of styles as both of them differ in strength and also ratings. Rapport opted to go for the King’s Indian Defense playing with the Black pieces. An equal game for the majority of the time but Rapport deployed some great tactical complications and gained advantage on the clock. Wojtaszek couldn’t handle the time pressure eventually handing the match to the Hungarian.
Rapport seemed to control the game easily in the second tiebreak game and held the draw without much ado, regularly exchanging pieces and steering the game toward an equal endgame. The following fortress, in spite of being a pawn down for White, could not be broken.
Thus ending the tiebreak in a short time with 1.5-0.5 scores. Rapport: “I was unexplainably lucky just to get to play today. Radek should have probably won the [group stage] with a round to spare or something. In the last [round] too he was winning… I was also losing to Oparin at some point. So, I got here somehow… At the end [of the first game], when he was low on time, he blundered into mate, which was extremely unlucky.”
“I haven’t played him[Hikaru] too many times, but [the encounters] were quite painful—I have a minus-two score or something. …my play here was at best shaky. I am really tired from this tiebreak, and yesterday had a must-win game to win, so it takes its toll. But I guess there is no rest for the wicked!”
So-Dominguez: Leiner Dominguez just like Richard Rapport came from behind to force the tiebreak and now effectively closed the door on Wesley So with a 1.5-0.5 scoreline.
Dominguez drew the first game playing with the Black pieces and then convincingly won the second game with the white pieces. His win in the second game was especially a “true revenge” because he had lost in the same Giuoco Pianissimo Opening against So on the group stage, even from a similar position.
Wesley So: “I know coming today anything could happen; it is a 50-50 chance. Leinier is very dangerous in the opening, so I didn’t really didn’t prepare that much in the opening… Just decided to play whatever.”
on the second game: “I am not so sure where I made the mistake. But the position got quite difficult—my pawn structure was very vulnerable. I thought I had some tricks, but in the end, I missed this move 32.Kh1. Yeah, life happens!”
Dominguez: “After finding this 32.Kh1, I think I deserved to qualify because it was such a difficult move! I saw this at the last moment; I played it with a few seconds [left].”