FIDE World Cup 2023: Players lists and pairings announced
A total of 17 Indians, five more than previous edition, are set to take part in the upcoming FIDE World Cup and FIDE Women's World Cup 2023. First game of the first round is on 30th July. Five Indians in the Open and three among Women got a Bye in the first round due to being in the top 50 and 25 seeds. The remaining five in the Open and four among Women have to play their first round matches. The players are - D Gukesh, Vidit Gujrathi, Arjun Erigaisi, R Praggnanandhaa, Nihal Sarin, S L Narayanan, Abhimanyu Puranik, Adhiban B, Karthik Venkataraman, Harsha Bharathakoti, GM Koneru Humpy, GM Harika Dronavalli, IM Vaishali R, IM Divya Deshmukh, WGM Nandhidhaa P V, WGM Mary Ann Gomesh and WGM Priyanka Nutakki. What are your predictions for each event? Photo: FIDE
17 Indians will take part in Open and Women
FIDE World Cup, held once in every two years, will celebrate its 10th edition in Baku, Azerbaijan, from 30th July to 24th August 2023.
With 206 players in the open section, plus 103 in the Women’s competition, this event has seen its combined prize pool boosted to a whopping USD 2.5 million, the single largest one at any chess event in the world.
For many players, the World Cup is the first and only opportunity to enter the race for the World Championship crown since the three top finishers in the event will advance to the next stage: the super exclusive Candidates Tournament. This means one more spot than in the previous edition, Sochi 2021, where only the finalists would qualify: in Baku, the winner of the match for 3rd/4th place will also get the coveted invitation for the Candidates, which adds some extra excitement to this already thrilling competition.
The rating favourites of the open event are the #1 in FIDE July 2023 rating list Magnus Carlsen (NOR, 2835), Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2787; received a wild card), Fabiano Caruana (USA, 2782), Ian Nepomniachtchi (2779), Anish Giri (NED, 2775), Wesley So (USA, 2769), Teimour Radjabov (AZE, 2747), D Gukesh (IND, 2744), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE, 2742), Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA, 2739) alongside many other well-known chess players from all over the world.
The FIDE Women’s World Cup will feature the reigning champion Wenjun Ju (CHN, 2564), the 2020 Challenger Aleksandra Goryachkina (2557), Koneru Humpy (2553), Kateryna Lagno (2552), Alexandra Kosteniuk (SUI, 2523), Zhongyi Tan (CHN, 2523), Nana Dzagnidze (GEO, 2511), the Ukrainians - Mariya and Anna Muzychuk (2511 and 2504, respectively), and many other chess stars.
Most top players in both competitions have a bye in the first round, but we still have some exciting matchups.
Looking further into the draw, we can spot some interesting potential clashes. In the open event, Magnus Carlsen has a relatively easy draw up to the Round of 32 in which he most likely (provided he beats his compatriot in Aryan Tari in the Round of 64) will face either Amin Tabatabaei (IRI) or Vincent Keymer (GER).
Moving down, we see a couple of possible high-profile battles Nodirbek Abdusattorov (UZB) - Anton Korobov (UKR) and Vasyl Ivanchuk (UKR) - Wei Yi (CHN) and two duels of youngsters Nihal Sarin - Bogdan-Daniel Deac (ROU) and Kirill Shevchenko (ROU) - Alexey Sarana (SRB) as early as in Round 3.
The second-seeded Hikaru Nakamura can meet Carlsen only in the final, but most likely, he will have his first serious test in Round 3, taking on up-and-coming Nodirbek Yakubboev.
In the Women’s event, there are several potential exciting confrontations in Round 3: IM Bibisara Assaubayeva (KAZ) - GM Elisabeth Paehtz (GER), the Ukrainian derby GM Anna Muzychuk - GM Anna Ushenina, GM Irina Krush (USA) - IM Polina Shuvalova, GM Zhao Xue (CHN) - GM Nino Batsiashvili (GEO) (although the former will have to see off very talented IM Carissa Yip (USA) first).
Since two top seeds, Wenjun Ju, Aleksandra Goryachkina, have easy early rounds, it is interesting to see whether they will make it all the way to the final to set a repeat of their 2020 title match.
Indian players in the fray
GM D Gukesh, GM Vidit Gujrathi, GM Arjun Erigaisi, GM R Praggnanandhaa and GM Nihal Sarin in the Open, GM Koneru Humpy, GM Harika Dronavalli and IM Vaishali R in the Women, will get a Bye in the first round. The remaining Indian players - GM S L Narayanan, GM Abhimanyu Puranik, GM Adhiban B, GM Karthik Venkataraman, GM Harsha Bharathakoti, IM Divya Deshmukh, WGM Nandhidhaa P V, WGM Mary Ann Gomes and WGM Priyanka Nutakki will have to play their first round matches.
Round 1 Open and Women pairings and path to the FIDE World Cup 2023
GM S L Narayanan (2656) - IM Providence Oatlhotse (BOT, 2199)
GM Abhimanyu Puranik (2605) - GM Luis Fernando Ibarra Chami (MEX, 2448)
GM Adhiban B (2587) - GM Lance Henderson de La Fuente (AND, 2517)
GM Karthik Venkataraman (2565) - GM Gregory Kaidanov (USA, 2563)
GM Levan Pantsulaia (GEO, 2564) - GM Harsha Bharathakoti (2563)
IM Divya Deshmukh (2400) - WIM Puteri Munajjah Az-Zahraa Azhar (MAS, 2004)
WGM Nandhidhaa P V (2329) - WIM Tianqi Yan (CHN, 2277)
WGM Mary Ann Gomes (2326) - WGM Yaniela Forgas Moreno (CUB, 2293)
IM Marina Brunello (ITA, 2324) - WGM Priyanka Nutakki (2293)
Round 2 probable pairings
GM Karthik Venkataraman, GM Harsha Bharathakoti and WGM Pryanka Nutakki have the toughest challenge on paper in the first round. Assuming they all win their first round matches, here are the probable pairings for Round 2 Open and Women:
GM Harsha Bharathakoti will face the world no.1 GM Magnus Carlsen (NOR) if Harsha beats GM Levan Pantsulaia (GEO) in Round 1.
GM S L Narayanan vs GM Yuriy Kuzubov (UKR), considering Kuzubov beats IM Tissir Mohamed (MAR) in Round 1
The winner of GM Bobby Cheng (AUS) vs GM Misratdin Iskandarov (AZE) will face GM D Gukesh. If Narayanan and Gukesh win their Round 2 matches, they will face each other in Round 3.
GM Abhimanyu Puranik vs GM Peter Svidler, if Abhimanyu wins this match then he will probably face GM Jorden van Foreest (NED) or GM Adly Ahmed (EGY) in Round 3.
GM Adhiban B vs GM Daniil Dubov is the highly anticipated encounter, considering both of them are sharp and aggressive players.
The winner of GM Dimitrios Mastrovasilis (GRE) and GM Felix Blohberger (AUT) vs GM Vidit Gujrathi. A win for Vidit will set a clash against GM Matthias Bluebaum (GER) or GM David Paravyan or CM Tranh Than Tu (JPN).
The winner of GM Axel Bachmann (PAR) and GM Sumiya Bilguun (MGL) will face GM Nihal Sarin.
GM Arjun Erigaisi will be up against either GM Susanto Megaranto (INA) or GM Sergei Azarov. A win in Round 2 is highly likely to set up a clash against GM Vladimir Fedoseev.
GM R Praggnanandhaa is highly likely to face GM Maxime Lagarde (FRA). A Round 2 win will probably set a duel against GM David Navara (CZE).
GM Karthik Venkataraman will face GM Hikaru Nakamura (USA) in Round 2 if he beats GM Gregory Kaidanov (USA) in Round 1.
IM Vaishali R is likely to face IM Pauline Guichard (FRA) in Round 2.
WGM Nandhidhaa P V will face the defending champion, GM Alexandra Kosteniuk (SUI) once she overcomes her Round 1 challenge.
WGM Mary Ann Gomes will be set to battle GM Kateryna Lagno if she wins her Round 1 match.
GM Koneru Humpy might face WGM Priyanka Nutakki if she emerges victorious against IM Marina Brunello (ITA) in Round 1.
GM Harika Dronavalli will face the winner of WGM Thi Kim Phung Vo (VIE) and WIM Michalina Rudzinska (POL).
IM Divya Deshmukh is likely to face GM Thanh Trang Hoang (HUN) in Round 2. A win against the Hungarian probably will earn her a clash against GM Aleksandra Goryachkina in Round 3.
The World Cup is one of FIDE’s flagship competitions, and in recent editions, it has clearly become one of the most followed events in the chess calendar. It reflects FIDE’s efforts to expand the competition, increasing the variety of qualification paths and the number of represented countries.
Lists of players confirmed as of June 12, 2023:
The 2023 FIDE World Cup wild cards revealed
FIDE has approved the final list of Wild Cards for the 2023 World Cup. In both the Open and the Women’s tournament, the final list features a mix of seasoned players and promising young talents
Apart from Hikaru Nakamura (No. 2 on the July 2023 Rating list, who recently scored a brilliant victory in Stavanger, Norway) and Arjun Erigaisi (No. 2 on the world junior list, the winner of the 2023 Sharjah Masters held in May), two more distinguished chess names received the Wild Card for the 2023 World Cup - Vasyl Ivanchuk (UKR) and Peter Svidler.
Renowned for their remarkable achievements, both players have left an indelible mark on the game as their results include playing the World Championship final and winning the World Cup and World Rapid Championship. Considered to be exceptionally strong world Grandmasters, both have had great results recently: Peter Svidler won the TePe Sigeman tournament in Malmo (Sweden) in May 2023, while Vasyl Ivanchuk picked up 17 rating points in June and tied for first place at the just concluded GM tournament in Bydgoszcz (Poland).
In the Women's World Cup, three Wild cards were given to the top three non-qualified players - GM Jiner Zhu (CHN, 2498), IM Polina Shuvalova (2496) and IM Sarasadat Khademalsharieh (IRI, 2488). Many in the chess world will be focused on Sarasadat who had not played classical chess for almost a year save a small tournament in May 2023.
The final Wild Card was granted to the very talented 17-year-old IM Eline Roebers (NED), who increased her rating by 62 points in the past three months and crossed a 2400 Elo mark (2419). The event in Baku will be her first test at such a high level.
With the Wild Cards announced and the full list of participants now known, the stage is set for a battle where the world’s finest chess players will gather in Baku (Azerbaijan) to decide the winner of the World Cup.
Source: Wild Card
Players list: Open and Women