Recap Article

2021 Sinquefield Cup – Day 4 Recap

It was another exciting round as Leinier Dominguez joined the leaders today thanks to a spectacular victory over Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, while Caruana and So drew their individual game to remain on a ‘plus two’ score. Meanwhile Swiercz won his first game of the event, defeating Xiong, as did both Shankland and Rapport, bouncing back from yesterday’s losses with nice wins over Mamedyarov and Svidler.

Dominguez – Vachier-Lagrave | 1-0, 33 moves

A theoretical battle in the Najdorf turned into a brilliant victory for Dominguez, who found several exceptionally precise maneuvers to generate a decisive attack on the kingside. Vachier-Lagrave tried to put up some resistance, but it simply wasn’t enough as White’s pieces soon crashed through to deliver a forced mate.

Rapport – Svidler | 1-0, 36 moves

After starting with 1.g3 Rapport was able to achieve a complex middlegame, gaining the pair of bishops early on and slowly building up pressure in the center. Although Svidler’s position was tenable, he didn’t react correctly to White’s advances on the kingside, and soon found himself under an irresistible attack. Rapport was accurate until the end, and forced resignation after his attack netted him a full piece.

Shankland – Mamedyarov | 1-0, 44 moves

Mamedyarov’s surprising treatment of the Berlin Defense caught Shankland off-guard in the opening, but it wasn’t the end of the world as Sam managed to reach a fairly equal endgame with two knights and a better structure against Black’s two bishops. Although the game remained balanced for some time, Mamedyarov misplayed the position and all of a sudden fell worse when he could no longer sufficiently defend his weaknesses. This allowed Shankland to win a pawn, and then another, before smoothly converting the material advantage to win his first game of the event.

Caruana – So | ½-½, 53 moves

In the critical match-up between the leaders, Caruana did not get much out of the opening, a Symmetrical English, but did obtain a structural advantage in the middlegame after saddling Black with an isolated queen pawn. Unfortunately for Caruana he wasn’t able to increase his advantage, and So held the draw with some patient defense.

Swiercz – Xiong | 1-0, 54 moves

Despite losing his first three games of the event Swiercz continued to play principled chess and was rewarded for it, winning after a sharp struggle in a 6.Bg5 Najdorf. The game quickly reached a boiling point in the middlegame after a risky decision by Xiong to castle queenside, giving White huge attacking chances against Black’s king. Swiercz seized the opportunity and opened up the queenside to start a furious attack, but was unable to land the knockout blow in view of Xiong’s stubborn defense. Once the players reached the time control, Swiercz found himself up an exchange, and won in style after Xiong missed the only saving defense.


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GM Gukesh D & GM Viswanathan Anand
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