The four-game final of the $1.6m, 128-player World Chess Cup is in progress between two contrasting opponents. China’s Ding Liren, 26, is the top seed and the favourite to challenge for Magnus Carlsen’s world crown in 2020.

Ding, who showed his class at the Sinquefield Cup in St Louis where he beat Carlsen in a play-off, has again been confident and impressive in all his six matches.

His opponent Teimour Radjabov, 32, is an unlikely and reluctant finalist. The Azerbaijani was a prodigy who at age 15 defeated Garry Kasparov and was among the elite until a dismal result at the 2013 London candidates where he finished last.

He had married the daughter of the vice president of the state oil company, and after their own daughter’s birth he played much less. Radjabov has been surprised by his success at the World Cup, and, still remembering London 2013, says he may not take up his candidates place.

That could be positive news for France’s best ever player Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, at 28 the only one of the global elite never to have been a candidate, who lost his semi-final to Radjabov, and who views the current championship cycle as his last good chance.


It’s checkmate in three moves in this Fritz Giegold puzzle. There is just a single line of play and White has overwhelming force, but the answer still baffles many solvers. How do you compare?

Click here for solution

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