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FIDE World Cup 2023: Players lists and pairings announced

by Shahid Ahmed - 05/07/2023

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.

FIDE World Cup 2023 Official logo

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 S L Narayanan qualified by finishing fourth at Asian Continental 2022 Open | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

GM Abhimanyu Puranik (2605) - GM Luis Fernando Ibarra Chami (MEX, 2448)

GM Abhimanyu Puranik secured his spot last month by finishing fourth at Asian Continental 2023 Open | Photo: Kazakhstan chess Federation

GM Adhiban B (2587) - GM Lance Henderson de La Fuente (AND, 2517)

GM B Adhiban earned his way by winning Bronze at Asian Continental 2022 Open | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

GM Karthik Venkataraman (2565) - GM Gregory Kaidanov (USA, 2563)

GM Karthik Venkataraman convincingly clinched 59th National Senior Open 2022 to earn his place | Photo: AICF

GM Levan Pantsulaia (GEO, 2564) - GM Harsha Bharathakoti (2563)

GM Harsha Bharathakoti qualified by securing Silver at Asian Continental 2022 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

IM Divya Deshmukh (2400) - WIM Puteri Munajjah Az-Zahraa Azhar (MAS, 2004)

IM Divya Deshmukh won 47th National Women 2022 to earn her place | Photo: IA Suresh Chandra Sahoo

WGM Nandhidhaa P V (2329) - WIM Tianqi Yan (CHN, 2277)

WGM Nandhidhaa P V earned her place by winning Gold at Asian Continental 2022 Women | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

WGM Mary Ann Gomes (2326) - WGM Yaniela Forgas Moreno (CUB, 2293)

WGM Mary Ann Gomes won Silver at Asian Continental 2023 Women | Photo: Nursultan Sabdenov

IM Marina Brunello (ITA, 2324) - WGM Priyanka Nutakki (2293)

WGM Priyanka Nutakki won Silver at Asian Continental 2022 Women | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

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 Harsha Bharathakoti's brackets

GM S L Narayanan vs GM Yuriy Kuzubov (UKR), considering Kuzubov beats IM Tissir Mohamed (MAR) in Round 1

GM S L Narayanan and GM D Gukesh might face each other in Round 3

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 Peter Svidler and GM Adly Ahmed (EGY)/GM Jorden van Foreest (NED) are probables for Abhimanyu in Round 2 and 3

GM Adhiban B vs GM Daniil Dubov is the highly anticipated encounter, considering both of them are sharp and aggressive players.

GM Daniil Dubov in Round 2, and GM Daniele Vocaturo (ITA)/GM Andrei Volokitin in Round 3 for Adhiban

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).

GM Vidit Gujrathi | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

GM Dimitrios Mastrovasilis (GRE)/GM Felix Blohberger (AUT) in Round 2 and then GM Matthias Bluebaum (GER)/GM David Paravyan in Round 3 for Vidit

The winner of GM Axel Bachmann (PAR) and GM Sumiya Bilguun (MGL) will face GM Nihal Sarin.

GM Nihal Sarin | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

GM Axel Bachmann (PAR)/GM Sumiya Bilguun (MGL) in Round 2 and GM Bogdan-Daniel Deac (ROU)/GM Kacper Piorun (POL) in Round 3 for Nihal

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 Arjun Erigaisi earned a Wild Card as he is currently World no.2 among Juniors in the rating list and also for winning 6th Sharjah Masters 2023 | Photo: Niklesh Jain

GM Susanto Megaranto (INA)/GM Sergei Azarov in Round 2 and GM Vladimir Fedoseev in Round 3 are the probables for GM Arjun Erigaisi

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 R Praggnanandhaa earned his place by winning Asian Continental 2022 Open | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

GM Maxime Lagarde (FRA) and GM Davi Navara (CZE) are the probables in Round 2 and 3 respectively for GM R Praggnanandhaa

GM Karthik Venkataraman will face GM Hikaru Nakamura (USA) in Round 2 if he beats GM Gregory Kaidanov (USA) in Round 1.

GM Karthik Venkataraman has American challenges in Round 1 and 2 in the form of GM Gregory Kaidanov and GM Hikaru Nakamura

IM Vaishali R is likely to face IM Pauline Guichard (FRA) in Round 2.

IM Vaishali R qualified through rating | Photo: Abhyudaya Ram

IM Pauline Guichard (FRA) and GM Mariya Muzychuk (UKR) are the likely Round 2 and 3 probables for Vaishali

WGM Nandhidhaa P V will face the defending champion, GM Alexandra Kosteniuk (SUI) once she overcomes her Round 1 challenge.

After Vaishali, Nandhidhaa has the toughest challenge waiting for her in the form of GM Alexandra Kosteniuk (SUI) in Round 2

WGM Mary Ann Gomes will be set to battle GM Kateryna Lagno if she wins her Round 1 match.

GM Kateryna Lagno is waiting for Mary Ann in Round 2

GM Koneru Humpy might face WGM Priyanka Nutakki if she emerges victorious against IM Marina Brunello (ITA) in Round 1.

GM Koneru Humpy qualified through rating

An All-Indian clash between GM Koneru Humpy and WGM Priyanka Nutakki is probable if the latter wins her Round 1 match

GM Harika Dronavalli will face the winner of WGM Thi Kim Phung Vo (VIE) and WIM Michalina Rudzinska (POL).

WGM Thi Kim Phung Vo (VIE)/WIM Michalina Rudzinska (POL) and IM Lela Javkhishvili (GEO)/IM Batkhuyaag Munguntuul 9MGL) are Round 2 and 3 probables for Harika

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.

GM Thanh Trang Hoang (HUN) and GM Aleksandra Goryachkina are the likely opponents for Divya in Round 2 and 3 respectively

Top 50 seeds in the Open section will get a Bye in Round 1

Round 1 Open pairings

Top 25 seeds in the Women will get a Bye in Round 1

Round 1 Women pairings

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:

FIDE World Cup 2023

FIDE Women's World Cup 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



Official site

Pairing brackets

Pairings: Round 1 - Open and Women

Players list: Open and Women

Tournament Regulations: Open and Women

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