Another strange defeat

We have already seen how Vitiugov managed to lose in 18 moves to Svidler by simply forgetting well known theory and backing it up with third-rate moves over the board. This time it was Svidler’s turn to lose without a fight to Karjakin’s second Mamedyarov. How did this happen? Svidler, who is usually a safe bet to draw with white against opponents with a similar rating in less than 25 moves, came up with a bad novelty on move 6 in a known position that instantly forced him to fight for equality. Mamedyarov found the computer-line up until move 17, and that was it. Easy game!

The good news is that this unexpected victory put Mamedyarov in the position to win the tournament. He will face Carlsen with white, while Giri has to hold Caruana with black. Svidler on the other hand can make the usual quick draw with his second Matlakov.