And then there were six.
Hikaru Nakamura could manage no more than a draw today, when he needed a win to stay alive. Consequently the #2 seed heads home, and Pavel Eljanov heads into the semifinals. Meanwhile Anish Giri overcame his drawish reputation and scored his own victory, the only decisive game of the day, sending Maxime Vachier-Lagrave packing. Giri is now the only top-ten seed left in the competition, and has taken over as the favorite to win it all.
Two other matches were drawn, as they were yesterday, and will be settled tomorrow with tie breaks. That means Peter Svidler and Wei Yi will battle for the right to face Giri, while Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Sergay Karjakin will face off to see who must contend with Eljanov. The two players who got the results they needed today to avoid tie breaks are of course the biggest winners of the day, while the two eliminated players saw the biggest drops in their odds of reaching the finals:
|Seed||Player||Rating||New Odds of Reaching Finals||Change|
|4||Anish Giri (NED)||2795.7||69.9%||27.1%|
|26||Pavel Eljanov (UKR)||2751.4||48.1%||13.6%|
|19||Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE)||2745.0||21.0%||4.5%|
|16||Peter Svidler (RUS)||2733.6||14.6%||0.1%|
|11||Sergey Karjakin (RUS)||2764.6||30.9%||0.0%|
|24||Wei Yi (CHN)||2737.0||15.5%||-3.9%|
|2||Hikaru Nakamura (USA)||2806.0||0.0%||-18.1%|
|21||Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA)||2764.4||0.0%||-23.3%|
Note that Giri is one of two players who entered today playing somewhat by proxy for others who had already been eliminate. He is nearly guaranteed a spot in the Candidates Tournament regardless of his remaining results, thanks to his strong rating over the course of the year, but this win brings us up to nearly a 70% chance now that he will earn his berth via the World Cup, opening a ratings vacancy for either Kramnik or Grischuk. If Giri does end up in the finals, then every classical game played by those two later this year (particularly at the European Club Cup) will be of the utmost importance as they are separated by the slimmest of margins in the rating calculations. The other proxy player was Nakamura, who could have carried Jakovenko into the Candidates Tournament by reaching the finals here. Unfortunately for Dmitry and his fans, the Russian’s chances fell to zero with Hikaru’s elimination.
The grueling schedule continues tomorrow with the 15th straight day of action, as two crucial tie break matches are played. Afterward an actual scheduled rest day finally shows up in the tournament calendar, so those players who advanced today actually get to enjoy two days off to recuperate, and to prepare for the next round.