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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Nisipeanu Defeats Khalifman




LAS VEGAS -- Displaying nerves of steel, Liviu Nisipeanu of Romania defeated Alexander Khalifman on Wednesday at Caesars Palace to force a playoff in the semifinals of the World Chess Championship.


Nisipeanu, seeded 46 out of 100, would have been eliminated with a loss or draw but pulled another major upset by besting his more experienced Russian opponent.


After gaining a slight advantage in the opening, the 23-year-old Romanian forced a position where he had the advantage despite each player having the same number of pieces.


Several grandmasters commenting on the game believed Khalifman would be able to draw. He made a few small errors, however, and Nisipeanu was able to force a position that secured his win.


The players were to face each other again Thursday in two-game sets of tie-break matches. These games will last less than an hour in contrast to the normal seven-hour maximum.


The victor in the playoff will meet Vladimir Akopian of Armenia in the finals which begin Sunday. Akopian eliminated England's Michael Adams, the fifth seed, Tuesday.


Khalifman, seeded 36th, remains the favorite in this match. The 33-year-old Russian twice came through in must-win situations earlier in the tournament.