Svidler risks! Svidler loses!
Game 2 of the Wojtaszek — Svidler knock-out match in Moscow saw Svidler play all or nothing. Possibly inspired by Dubov’s successful but extraordinarily risky play against Giri in the previous round, Svidler (with Black) played a type of Benoni Defence and almost immediately tried to steer the game into unfathomable complications.
Unfortunately for Svidler, Wojtaszek did not lose his head, made no mistakes. Svidler cleverly sacrificed an exchange along the way in an effort to further complicate the game, but the Polish grandmaster was unfazed and managed to navigate a super wild middlegame before finally winning in 42 moves. A real treat for the spectators!
It is difficult to criticize Svidler’s opening choice, as playing solidly would have also held risks: just 2 of the tournament’s 16 original participants can qualify. Risk taking or no risk taking. After the game Svidler claimed that he went wrong with his 27th move, Bd4 check. Deeper analysis proved him correct.
The Polish superstar now advances to the 3rd round of this knockout tournament, the only player amongst the 8 participants to do so in regular time. The other 6 players had to play nerve racking tiebreak matches earlier today (in the end, Nakamura, Grischuk and Nepo also advance to the 3rd round). Svidler, Wei Yi, So and Dubov pack their bags and head home.
gm Wojtaszek — gm Svidler
Moscow Grand Prix 21.5.2019