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FIDE World Cup 2023 R2.1: Pragg sizzles, Karthik defies Nakamura, Gukesh now World no.10

by Shahid Ahmed - 02/08/2023

The tenth FIDE World Cup and second edition of FIDE Women's World Cup is a record-breaking event for India. A total of 15 players played in Round 2.1 which is the highest ever. D Gukesh defeated GM Misratdin Iskandarov (AZE) to become World no.10. He needs to win the second game to become India no.1. The reigning National champion, GM Karthik Venkataraman held the current World Fischer Random champion, GM Hikaru Nakamura (USA) to a draw. GM Koneru Humpy defeated compatriot WGM Priyanka Nutakki. Among Indians, the other victors were, GM Nihal Sarin, GM R Praggnanandhaa, GM Harika Dronavalli and IM R Vaishali. GM Abhimanyu Puranik and GM Adhiban B lost their respective games against GM Peter Svidler and GM Daniil Dubov. They must win the next game to force tie-breaks. Round 2.2 starts today at 3 p.m. local time, 4:30 p.m. IST. Photos: Shahid Ahmed unless specified otherwise.

Vaishali swindles Pauline

IM Vaishali made a huge save from a completely lost position against IM Pauline Guichard (FRA). WGM Mary Ann Gomes also survived an inferior position against GM Kateryna Lagno. Gukesh, Nihal, Praggnanandhaa, Humpy and Harika need a draw in Round 2.2, to advance to Round 3. The longest game of Round 2.1 was between IM Pablo Ismael Acosta (ARG) and GM Bogdan-Daniel Deac (ROU). It lasted 153 moves and for the duration of over six hours.

GM Karthik Venkataraman held the Speed King and reigning World Fischer Random Champion - GM Hikaru Nakamura (USA) to a draw | Photo: FIDE/Stev Bonhage

FIDE World Cup 2023 and FIDE Women's World Cup 2023 Official logo | Photo: Official site

Lagarde - Praggnanandhaa

Position after 13...Nh4

GM R Praggnanandhaa (2707) played some fiery chess against GM Maxime Lagarde (FRA, 2600). Perhaps one of the reasons could be, Pragg knowing that his opponent is a dangerous player which he mentioned in the post-game interview. 13...Nh4 14.Rxh4 Qg1+ 15.Bf1 e3 16.Nd1 Re8 and after a few moves, White blundered in an already lost position

Position after 21.Qf2??

21...Bxh4! now 22.Qxg1 runs into Bg4#. This was mentioned by Vishy Anand during the live commentary. Black converted his advantage into a full point comfortably.

Praggnanandhaa sets the board on fire against Maxime Lagarde | Video: ChessBase India
If this is not genius, then what is? Pragg's World Cup win from Sharjah lounge! | Video: ChessBase India
Pragg's greatest attacking game | Commentary by IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India

GM R Praggnanandhaa is absolutely laser-focused

Nakamura - Karthik

Position after 42.f4

The reigning National champion, GM Karthik Venkataraman (2562) played bravely against GM Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2787). First he sacrifice his a6-pawn, then his knight in the following move 42...Rc8 43.Nxa6 Nxc3! the reason is simple, after 44.bxc3 Rxc3+ 45.K-anywhere Rxa3 and Black should be able to draw it comfortably. White decided against accepting the sacrifice for obvious reasons and played 44.Rc7. Karthik would not trade the rooks. He went 44...Ra8 45.Rxc3 Rxa6 and the game ended in a draw after precise play by Black.

GM Hikaru Nakamura analyzes his game against GM Karthik Venkataraman | Video: GMHikaru

Few moments after Karthik played 42...Rc8

Nakamura-Karthik's battle piqued Magnus Carlsen's interest too | Photo: FIDE/Anna Shtourman

Gukesh - Misratdin

Position after 36...Kh7??

GM Misratdin Iskandarov (AZE, 2551) blundered in an already disadvantageous position against GM D Gukesh (2751). Find out the winning continuation for White.

Gukesh enters top 10 in the world rankings! (Based on live ratings) | Video: ChessBase India
2750 rated Gukesh vs 2550 rated GM - Commentary by IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India

This win moved Gukesh to World no.10 in the live ratings

D Gukesh's live rating is now 2753.4, making him World no.10 | Source:

Nihal - Axel

Position after 36...Rbe8??

GM Axel Bachmann (PAR, 2604) blundered 36...Rbe8. GM Nihal Sarin (2684) correctly seized his opportunity 37.Rh1 Rxe4+ 38.Kd1! Qe6 39.Bxe4 Qxe4 40.Qxe4 Rxe4 41.Rh5 and it's over.

Both GM Karthik Venkataraman and GM Nihal Sarin have reasons to smile after the game too

GM Koneru Humpy outplayed WGM Priyanka Nutakki positionally

GM Harika Dronavalli defeated the newly crowned Poland Women's champion, WIM Michalina Rudzinska
Harika Dronavalli: "It could have been anyone's result" | Video: FIDE

WGM Mary Ann Gomes endured a difficult position against GM Kateryna Lagno to split the point

IM Divya Deshmukh played solid to draw against GM Hoang Thanh Trang (HUN) | Photo: FIDE/Maria Emelianova,

Vaishali - Pauline

Position after 56.Qg4

IM Vaishali R (2452) was completely lost against IM Pauline Guichard (FRA, 2374). However, Vaishali did not give up. She waited for her opportunity till the very end and found it. 56...c1Q 57.Bxc1 Rxc1? 58.Nxh6+ White's last attempt to save a half point Kh7 59.Nxf7 Qb6?? another blunder and now White is winning 60.Qf5+ Kg8 61.Ng5 Be7 62.Qh7+ and Black resigned as Qh8# checkmate is in the next move.

IM Vaishali R made a huge turnaround in the first game | Photo: FIDE/Maria Emelianova,

Video Gallery

Magnus Carlsen is here! FIDE World Cup 2023 Round 2 first move | Video: ChessBase India
Carlsen, Nakamura, Nepo, Ju, Giri, Shakh, Gukesh, Arjun, Duda - World Cup 2023 Round 2.1 starting moments | Video: ChessBase India
Breaking down Magnus Carlsen's game move by move against Levan Pantsulaia - Commentary by IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India
Venue Tour of the FIDE World Cup 2023 | Video: ChessBase India
"It will be strange to wake up not as India no.1 one day" | Video: ChessBase India
FIDE World Cup 2023 Round 2 Live Commentary by IM Irine Sukandar (INA) and GM Vishy Anand | Video: FIDE
FIDE World Cup 2023 Round 2.1 Live Commentary by Amruta Mokal | Video: ChessBase India

Photo Gallery

Madat Guliyev, the Minister of Defence Industry of the republic of Azerbaijan, National Hero of Azerbaijan, Colonel General made the ceremonial first move on Levan Pantsulaia (GEO) and Magnus Carlsen's (NOR) board in the Open and...

Timur Turlov, President of Kazakhstan Chess Federation and CEO of Freedom Holding Corp., partner of the FIDE World Cup 2023 on GM Wenjun Ju (CHN) and IM FT Eva Repkova's (SLO) board in the Women

Round 2.1 results

GM Yuriy Kuzubov (UKR) - GM S L Narayanan: 0.5-0.5

GM Abhimanyu Puranik - GM Peter Svidler: 1-0

GM Adhiban B - GM Daniil Dubov: 0-1

GM Vidit Gujrathi - GM Dimitrios Mastrovasilis (GRE): 0.5-0.5

GM Nihal Sarin - GM Axel Bachmann (PAR): 1-0

GM Sergei Azarov - GM Arjun Erigaisi: 0.5-0.5

GM Maxime Lagarde (FRA) - GM R Praggnanandhaa: 0-1

GM Hikaru Nakamura (USA) - GM Karthik Venkataraman: 0.5-0.5

IM Vaishali R - IM Pauline Guichard (FRA): 1-0

WGM Mary Ann Gomes - GM Kateryna Lagno: 0.5-0.5

GM Koneru Humpy - WGM Priyanka Nutakki: 1-0

WIM Michalina Rudzinska (POL) - GM Harika Dronavalli: 0-1

GM Hoang Thanh Trang (HUN) - IM Divya Deshmukh: 0.5-0.5

A total of 64 games were played in the Open and 32 in Women in Round 2.

Replay Round 2.1 Open games

Replay Round 2.1 Women games





Official site

Open Regulations

Women Regulations

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